Moleleki demoted

Moleleki demoted

Staff Reporter

MASERU – DEMOCRATIC Congress (DC) deputy leader Monyane Moleleki has been demoted in a major cabinet reshuffle that saw three other ministers fired.

In a shock move Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili removed Moleleki from the police ministry and appointed him to a junior position as minister in his office.

Analysts and observers who spoke to thepost described it as a clear demotion, saying Mosisili could be using ministerial positions to flex his political muscle and consolidate his grip on power.

They cite Moleleki’s seniority in the DC and his vast experience in government as indication that his move to become Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office is a step backward.

A career politician, Moleleki has held powerful portfolios like Natural Resources and Foreign Affairs.

Dr Motlamelle Kapa of the National University of Lesotho (NUL) described Moleleki’s new position as a humiliation, noting that the new position is equivalent to that of a state minister or a minister without portfolio.

Both are considered junior cabinet positions under the Westminster system Lesotho has.

“He was not just a Minister of Police. He is a senior politician who has been in government since 1993, so the position of Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office is a relegation,” Kapa said.

“Either way you look at it the new position is way beneath him. It doesn’t come with any particular authority”.

Kapa said Moleleki has two choices: “To take the blows and hang in there or quit and start afresh”.

Another political lecturer at the NUL who asked for anonymity said the demotion has the tell-tale signs of political score settling.

“It’s a position that does not carry any substantial power. It’s too lowly for his stature and experience,” he said.

However a DC stalwart said although the perception is that Moleleki has been demoted it could be that the Prime Minister is bringing him closer to the centre of power.

“He is still the most senior politician after the coalition party leaders. He has not lost much,” he said.

“I don’t think Lesotho strictly follows the Westmister system that says state ministers are junior ministers.”

Moleleki was not answering his phone last night.

Two weeks ago he publicly confirmed that he was in talks with the All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane.

His admission came at a time when the infighting in the DC was intensifying.

Others who were sacked are Kabelo Mafura from Forestry and Land Reclamation, Mahali Phamotse from Education, Thabiso Litšiba from Small Businesses Development and ’Mamosa Molapo who was Deputy Agriculture Minister.

The new ones who were sworn in before King Letsie III yesterday are Serialong Qoo who is now Communications Minister, Tumahole Lerafa who is now the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Lethusang Kompi as the Deputy Home Affairs Minister and ’Manthabiseng Phohleli as the Deputy Transport Minister.

Mosisili also moved the Minister in Prime Minister’s Office Kimetso Mathaba, who is leader of the National Independent Party (NIP), to the Ministry of Water Affairs.

DC secretary general Ralechate ’Mokose has been removed from Water Affairs to Forestry and Land Reclamation.

DC treasurer ’Mamphono Khaketla has been moved from Finance Ministry to Foreign Affairs, swapping positions with Tlohang Sekhamane.

Khotso Letsatsi who was at the Communications Ministry is now the new Energy Minister. He replaces the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD)’s secretary general, Selibe Mochoboroane, who has been reshuffled to Small Businesses Development.

The vacancy left by Moleleki at the Police Ministry has been filled by Phallang Monare who was deputy Home Affairs Minister.

Moletsane Moletsane who was Deputy Minister for Transport has been elevated to Minister of Law, replacing Motlalentoa Letsosa, who is now the Minister of Education.

thepost understands that Moleleki’s and ‘Mokose’s redeployment has not gone down well with some members of the DC National Executive Committee (NEC).

But DC’s deputy secretary general Refiloe Litjobo was quick to downplay speculation of anger in the committee.

The NEC, Litjobo said, has no interest getting angry over who has been removed or appointed from the cabinet.

He however noted that “there was something abnormal about the way the reshuffle was done”.

“It will be unfortunate if the removal of some ministers had something to do with factionalism. That is not to say I have any problem with what the Prime Minister has done because that is his prerogative.”

“I frankly wish all those who have been appointed well in their positions. I hope they deliver in their respective roles”.

On Moleleki, Litjobo said he felt that his new position was junior and not commensurate with his experience.

“The truth is that there are a lot of people who are not happy with that move.  This could be part of a plan to flash him out of the political system of this country,” he said.

“But then we have to respect that the prime minister has the prerogative to make changes to the cabinet. That is his role”.

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