Code of Conduct for ministers

Code of Conduct for ministers

MASERU-PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro is preparing a Code of Conduct to regulate the behaviour of Cabinet ministers.
The move comes after some ministers released audio clips which were deemed inappropriate.

Majoro told a press conference on Monday that it was worrying that some ministers were releasing vulgar voice clips.
“We are hoping that they will change such behaviour,” Majoro said.
“We are preparing to launch a code of conduct very soon.”
Majoro said this after a week-long induction course for Cabinet ministers which was requested by the Public Service Minister Semano Sekatle.

He said the vulgar audio clips damage not only the government’s image but the reputation of such ministers.
Majoro’s comments come after serious concerns were raised that some of the ministers were beginning to expose sensitive and highly confidential information to the public.

He said ministers took an oath to maintain confidentiality and therefore have to be sure they do not release such information to the public.
Majoro said they also discussed the issue of classified documents leaking to the press.
“We were trained on classification of secrets,” he said.
He said some documents can be declared secret while others can be made public.

He said from now a document classified confidential will not go out.
“There is intelligence information that has to remain secret until their official declassification,” Majoro said.
“It is a small fraction of documents that are restricted as such and has to be kept before release,” he said.

“One reason can be stability of the nation.”
He said anybody who leaks classified information is committing a crime.
“This is not media censorship,” he said, adding: “The classification is not done to punish the media or target them.”
He said financial documents are usually declassified after five years.
Sekatle said the new move is not meant to fight the media but “classification of information is important for security in every country”.
“Every country has classified information that is top secret and needs to be opened only by those who are allowed to do so and not the media or the general public,” Sekatle said.

“There is no country that can live without classified information,” he said.
Majoro said they were trained on the usage of the internet so that they reduce audio clips and WhatsApp texts.
He said ministers have to communicate through emails so that the information becomes the government’s property even when such a minister leaves office.

As an example of the proper use of the social media, Majoro said he had deleted his own twitter account he had named Bitla le Ahlame (The Open Grave) and created the prime minister’s official account.
He said he told his spokesman to set up a permanent twitter account.
“Bitla le Ahlame was the name of a bar and I decided to use it as a twitter handle. I deleted it,” he said.

Another issue that was discussed at the induction course was the meddling of ministers in government tenders.
Majoro said the government is working on setting up a body that will investigate suspicious tenders and then engage the police and the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) to deal with such matters.

He said the induction course was important to help new ministers appreciate their responsibilities.

Nkheli Liphoto

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