Why  Khasipe  resigned

Why Khasipe resigned

MASERU-RED tape, political meddling and blatant sabotage could have forced Thabo Khasipe, the Disaster Management Authority (DMA) boss, to resign this week.

Khasipe resigned on Tuesday despite some last ditch attempts by some ministers to persuade him to stay on.
His decision appeared to have triggered some panic in government with the cabinet’s subcommittee on Covid-19 yesterday hurriedly organising a meeting to map the way forward.

thepost understands that Khasipe also met the Minister of Finance Thabo Sophonea just before lunch yesterday for what sources said was another attempt to nudge him to reconsider.
The Minister of Health is also said to have tried to coax him to rethink his decision. Khasipe is also understood to have met Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu to discuss his resignation. Some officials are said to have told Khasipe that they too would be resigning.

Although Khasipe has endured a frustrating stint since his appointment in June, thepost has been told that the last straw came two weeks ago.
He is said to have been annoyed by the government’s failure to renew the contracts of about 700 health workers hired in April to help fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

The workers who included nurses, doctors and environmental officers were hired on a six-month contract to work at hospitals, clinics and isolation centres. Some were working at the border posts and villages where they were conducting surveillance and contact tracing.
Their contracts expired last week but some officials in the Ministry of Health are said to have flatly refused to renew them.

One health official is reported to have told Khasipe’s team, in a meeting, that the ministry doesn’t care about their pleas to renew the contracts.
Most of the health workers have since stopped reporting for duty, effectively paralysing the government’s response to Covid-19 which has so far infected 1 767 and killed 40 people.
The result is that there is minimal surveillance and contact tracing happening.

Those remaining on the job without contracts are said to be overwhelmed.
Khasipe could also have been exasperated by the fact that staff at the National Covid-19 secretariat have not been paid since June. Some of the workers have since stopped coming to work because they don’t have taxi fares.

Those that remain are working without stationery, computers and cars. Rent at Maseru Avani, the secretariat’s head office, has not been paid since July.
Khasipe has not been able to achieve much even after his appointment as the chief executive, a move that was meant to deal with the legal hurdles placed in Nacosec’s way.

His attempts to buy personal protective equipment (PPE) for hospitals have been frustrated.
While this merry-go-round is happening, hospitals have run out of PPEs.
Some doctors and nurses are reported to be refusing to go into wards for fear of being infected.

Sources say Khasipe was also worried that the Covid-19 issues have been politicised and could taint his reputation.
“He felt that by the time he leaves the DMA his reputation would be so tainted that he would not be able to go back to his role as commissioner general of the Lesotho Revenue Authority,” said a source privy to the issue.

Another source told thepost that Khasipe was worried that he could be sucked into the factional fights within the All Basotho Convention (ABC) “where one camp is said to be using the Nacosec issues to fight the Prime Minister”.

“Government officials have blocked him at every turn. The battle appears to be about the lucrative tenders that politicians think will come out of this crisis,” the sources said. Last night Khasipe said he was not willing to discuss his resignation.
“What matters is that I have resigned. The reasons for that will not change anything,” Khasipe said.

Majara Molupe

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