Opposition MPs want five ministers fired

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MASERU — Twenty four MPs from the All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Lesotho Workers Party (LWP) say they will soon petition Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili to sack five ministers they claim have failed to deliver.

The decision to push for the dismissal of the five ministers was made at a caucus meeting for the MPs on Monday.

Their letter to Mosisili will name home affairs minister and Deputy Prime minister Lesao Lehohla as a top candidate for dismissal because they say he has failed to deal with the passport crisis.

Education Minister ‘Mamphono Khaketla is on the list because she has failed to monitor the distribution of grants for secondary school children, the MPs say.

Finance Minister Timothy Thahane, the MPs argue, should go because he has failed to deal with the MKM saga which has left hundreds of thousands of Basotho stranded.

They say he has failed to bail out MKM even though his ministry has found money to help out the Chinese-owned CGM.

Health Minister Dr Mphu Ramatlapeng should be kicked out of cabinet because she has presided over the collapse of the country’s health system, the MPs claim.

The say the country’s hospitals have no nurses and doctors but valuable resources are being diverted to non-critical activities like workshops.

Agriculture Minister Lesole Mokoma, they argued, should be reshuffled because he has failed to deal with the collapse of the agriculture sector and stop corruption in the block farming scheme.

Lesotho’s food security has become precarious, they say.

“The nature of his (Mosisili) response will guide us on what to do next,” said Sello Maphala, the deputy leader of LWP.

Maphala said if the prime minister does not respond the MPs would take the matter to parliament and push a motion to have the ministers sacked.

“We are very serious about this and will not stop in our quest to better things in this country.”

The MPs said “although there is a general lack of direction in the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) government our gripe lies mainly with five major players of Mosisili’s cabinet”.

Maphala said the five were targeted because their ministries are the “backbone of the country yet they are sitting on their laurels”.

“They have not made a difference in people’s lives,” Maphala added.

The Lesotho Times was unable to get comments from Ramatlapeng, Khaketla, Lehohla, and Mokoma.

They were said to be in meetings or their phones were not available.

Thahane, who was available for a comment, said the criticism from the MPs was unfair.

“The CBL is doing its job of advising the government on the options to take in order to come up with a solution and what to avoid as well,” Thahane said.

He said he did not know how they expected government to get M300 million to bail out MKM when it was already struggling to raise M5 million to sponsor tertiary students.

“I was appointed by the PM. Any decision he makes where I am concerned, I will gladly accept,” Thahane said.

Government spokesperson Mothetjoa Metsing said the call for a cabinet reshuffle “is nothing new”.

“At first they were calling for the government to be dissolved. That was post the 2007 elections. They went as far as engaging in protest marches to prove their point,” Metsing said.

“But if they are complaining about service delivery, it would be understandable. After all, it is their right to express their views.”

Metsing also admitted that there were weaknesses in government and that “it would be foolish to turn a blind eye on them”.

“This is due to the fact that our country is poor. Because of the lack of resources we are unable to meet all people’s requirements.”

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