’Maesaiah says will not reprimand ministers

’Maesaiah says will not reprimand ministers

MASERU-FIRST Lady ’Maesaiah Thabane says she will no longer intervene in government issues after she received a barrage of criticism from the public.
Her comments come after she publicly rebuked senior government officials over poor service delivery.
’Maesaiah said although she acted in good faith, it seemed her actions had offended many people and was therefore withdrawing from the limelight.

“From now on I will fold my arms and watch,” she said.
“Even those who come to me seeking intervention when they encounter problems in government ministries I will simply tell them to go to the relevant bodies to seek help.”

The comments come after the First Lady rebuked Finance Ministry principal secretary, Motena Tšolo, in public for allegedly failing to provide funds to ministries for developmental projects during a surprise tour of ministries by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
The First Lady had accompanied her husband.
She told Tšolo that ministries were always complaining that they had not received funds from the Ministry of Finance when they made requisitions.

Public Works Principal Secretary Mothabathe Hlalele was also asked to concede that some roads had not been built because Tšolo said the government was broke.
Hlalele said he had requested money from the Finance Ministry but could not be assisted because he was told there was no money.

He said a contractor who was engaged to repair a road from Lancer’s Gap and Sefikeng abandoned the work because he could not be paid due to lack of money, an explanation that irked the First Lady.
Hlalele said there is expertise and willingness to construct roads but they are hindered by a lack of funds.

Tšolo responded that she had never received any request that there were some roads which needed to be repaired.
The visibly irritated First Lady demanded answers from Tšolo why the roads are not being repaired and maintained.
She said she was informed that Tšolo was not giving out money to the ministries because she kept saying Lesotho did not have money.

Tšolo looked unnerved on television as the First Lady harangued her, with Prime Minister Thabane standing by smiling.
This attracted a litany of complaints from both ruling and opposition political activists saying the First Lady had crossed the line.
For over a year, there have been howls of discontent over the behavior of the First Lady. She has been accused of meddling in the affairs of the government and her husband’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) party.
Former ABC chairman, Motlohi Maliehe, who was also a government minister and an MP, accused the First Lady of being the power behind the throne at a rally in Butha-Buthe.

Maliehe said the First Lady was interfering with the duties of government ministers.
He called on the First Lady to leave her husband to run the government.
Maliehe was quickly suspended from the party’s national executive party and was later fired from his ministerial position.

He was however reinstated to his party position and is now in the running for the deputy presidency at the party’s elective conference next month.

Staff Reporter

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