Makgothi rejects nepotism charge

Makgothi rejects nepotism charge

MASERU – Foreign Affairs Minister Lesego Makgothi on Tuesday rejected charges that the government was dishing out jobs on the basis of nepotism. Makgothi was speaking in the wake of a withering attack by seven opposition parties which accused the government of dishing out jobs to politically connected individuals.

In a statement last Friday, the opposition accused Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s government of “cunningly dishing out funds belonging to the poor to friends of the rulers through fraudulent means”. The opposition also lashed out at the appointment of controversial broadcaster, Motsamai Talla, as Lesotho’s counsellor in Beijing, China.

It said Talla’s educational qualifications were too low for the position as he had only passed Form E.
The opposition was also infuriated with the appointment of Thabane’s sister, Moliehi Helen Makatse, for a post in Geneva, Switzerland.
Makatse is said to be in her 70s.

“She is too old. People needed there should be able-bodied and their vitality (should enable) them to search for opportunities for Lesotho,” the opposition’s statement reads. “It is not a retirement place for the elderly.”
Makgothi however said the opposition’s complaints were nonsensical.

“They should stop complaining about the age of Thabane’s sister because they sent Ntate (Moeketse) Malebo’s sister to Geneva and she is still there. She is older than Thabane’s sister and we never complained because we understand that they felt that those were the people they were comfortable with,” he said.

Makgothi said there is no nepotism in the appointment of Thabane’s sister because “the government is mandated to appoint anybody it feels will do the job irrespective of who their relatives are”. He insisted that “no law has been broken and we are doing nothing that is extra-ordinary”
“Mosisili had his relatives in various positions including in foreign missions. It is not a secret that we have his daughter and son-in-law in New Delhi, India, now,” he said.

“They should examine themselves closely before they raise a finger against anybody.” Makgothi said Talla qualifies for the position of counsellor in a diplomatic mission because “in selecting them we do not only focus on educational qualifications but other credentials including fidelity and other important virtues”.

He said the Mosisili-led government had done worse things and should stop complaining. “As I am speaking to you now the former Hololo MP is still working in New York where the former government of the Right Honorable Pakalitha Mosisili assigned him,” he said.

“That former Hololo MP has equal educational qualifications with Talla but we never raised an objection to his appointment because we understood that the government appointed people it felt comfortable with,” he said. “We have others (with similar) educational qualifications, sent there by the former Prime Minister Mosisili’s government, in Geneva and Italy,” he said. In its statement, the opposition also criticised the inclusion of Ralechate ’Mokose in a government delegation that was to meet exiled opposition leaders in South Africa last week. The opposition parties challenged the government to produce evidence from the Public Service Commission (PSC) to prove that ’Mokose had been hired to represent Lesotho in South Africa.

They also dared the government to produce the legal tools from King Letsie III with which he assigned ’Mokose to South Africa as well as evidence that he presented his letters of credence to President Jacob Zuma. They said the government should also prove that ’Mokose was welcomed in South Africa as Lesotho’s high commissioner. The government has appointed ’Mokose to be Lesotho’s high commissioner to South Africa through a gazette but legal procedures such as receiving letters of assignment from the King are still to be done.

But Makgothi said the opposition politicians must have read the gazette appointing ’Mokose to South Africa and “hastily and without thinking properly they concluded that we sent him there as a diplomat”. “No, they are mistaken. Ntate ’Mokose was part of the delegation and his role was to facilitate the meeting of the self-exiled people with the government, not as a Lesotho high commissioner to South Africa,” Makgothi said.

“Ralechate ’Mokose will go to Pretoria when the time for him to occupy that office comes and he will play his diplomatic role at that time,” he said.
“We issued a press statement and there is nowhere we said he was an ambassador.”
Democratic Congress (DC) deputy leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Mothetjoa Metsing, and his deputy Tšeliso Mokhosi skipped the country last month saying their lives were in danger.

The government last week dispatched a high-powered delegation for talks with the exiled opposition leaders in a bid to persuade them to come back home. The government delegation was comprised of the Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Thesele ’Maseribane, leader of the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) Keketso Rantšo, the All Basotho Convention (ABC) chairman, Motlohi Maliehe, and the deputy leader of the Alliance of Democrats (AD), Kabelo Mafura.

Staff Reporter

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