Connect with us


A pensioner’s agony



MASERU-HAD it not because of the intervention of former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, retired teacher Mosiuoa Nthakong would still be wallowing in poverty.

Life could have been far better for Nthakong had the government obeyed a court order to pay him all his benefits upon retirement.
Nthakong, a former District Administrator in Qacha’s Nek, was a teacher by profession and taught at a local school for years.

But now, from being the highest authority in the district, he ended up a street vendor selling fruits at Qacha’s Nek market to provide for his family and take his children to school.
The government, he says, was ignoring the court order to pay his benefits.
He says he has a wife and four children, of whom three are unemployed and one is still in school.

Nthakong says he had to go out on the street to sell fruits in order to provide for the family as they all depended on him.
He describes his life as “a living hell caused by the government of Lesotho through the Ministry of Education”.

It was after Mosisili saw him in the Qacha’s Nek market selling fruits and asked him what happened and he narrated his story to him.
Mosisili facilitated that the Ministry of Education pay him in accordance with the court order last month.

Nthakong, a former Qacha’s Nek Unity Primary School teacher, won awards for being the best teacher.
In 1995, he upgraded his education before being given a job at the District Resource Teacher, where he taught other teachers on the elements of the trade.

“After some time, I was asked to assist in Local Government under section 54 of the constitution,” he says.
Now working for the Local Government Ministry, he was no longer getting paid by the Ministry of Education, although he went to teaching when the programme ended.

“In 2014, I went back to local government in the office of the District Administrator until 2016.”
Nthakong says he wrote a letter to the Ministry of Education applying for early retirement seven months before the expiry of his contract.
“All my documents were released and I made copies of them while they kept the originals.”

Problems arose in early February 2017 when he enquired about the progress.
He says the human resources officer at the Teaching Service Department (TSD) told him that his file was missing.
“I told them I had all the copies of my file and after three days they phoned back informing me that they had found it.”

He says to his surprise, the whole year passed without any progress.
“In 2018, I called them again and they told me my file had gone to Pensions (a Finance Ministry department), when I asked for proof that indeed they had submitted my papers, they told me the person in charge was not around.”

He ended up calling the then Education Minister, Mokhele Moletsane.
“Minister Moletsane’s phone went unanswered till I called his deputy Ntoi Rapapa who informed me that my file was misplaced and it had a query.”
Nthakong says the query they were referring to related to the time he resigned as a teacher.

“To my surprise, I followed all the procedures.”
It was then that he took the ministry to court and on September 9, 2019 the court ruled in his favour, ordering the ministry to pay his money and 11 percent interest per year.
“I went back to TSD to remind them about the court order, but it was like news to them, they were so surprised like they did not know anything,” he says.

He says he showed them a copy of the judgment and the human resources officer took a picture, saying they were out of printing paper.
It was not until this year when he received a call from the Deputy Minister of Education informing him that they needed a month to process his benefits.

“This was just after the former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili asked me about my benefits. He went to Maseru to fight for me,” Nthakong says.
Nthakong says he is not only angry about his benefits but the way the government violated a court order.
He says he was about to file for contempt of court when the Education Ministry called him.

Nthakong’s ordeal with the government’s habit to ignore court orders is just a tip of an iceberg as the practice is rampant although so far there are no compiled statistics.
Another recent example is of the Principal Interpreters of the High Court who wrote a letter to the Registrar and the Attorney General threatening to file for contempt of court.

Another case is that of the Lesotho Medical Association and the Ministry of Health.
On June 24 this year, the High Court had ordered the government to pay health workers’ allowances and provide them with all necessary protective equipment during Covid-19 pandemic.

The Lesotho Medical Association had approached the court requesting the ministry to provide them with the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The court ruled in their favour but the ministry dragged its feet in implementing the court order.

The association’s lawyer, Advocate Fusi Sehapi, complained that “it is a tendency of the government to ignore the orders of the High Court because they think they are above the law”.
“Section 5 of the Government Proceedings and Contracts Act says (orders cannot be enforced against) the government ….thus putting it above the law,” Advocate Sehapi said.

He said he wanted to challenge that part of the law section because “the government is always in contempt the court, knowing that nothing will be done to them”.
Today the Lesotho Police Staff Association (Leposa) is expected to march to Prime Minister Moeketsi Majaro’s office demanding that Commissioner Holomo Molibeli be fired.

Leposa, among other things, complains the Commissioner Molibeli is in the habit of ignoring court orders.
A law professor at the University of Zimbabwe, Geoff Feltoe, in his research work titled The State is not above the law: Enforcing a judgment against the State when it fails to comply with a judgement, says “the State is legally obliged to comply with a judgment”.

“An order or decision of a court binds the State and all persons and governmental institutions and agencies to which it applies, and must be obeyed by them,” Professor Feltoe said.
Professor Feltoe asks worrying questions: “But what if the State drags its feet in complying with a court judgment or, worse still, simply refuses to comply?”

“What remedies are open to the judgment creditor to overcome such recalcitrance on the part of the State?”
He gives an equally worrying answer: “The judgment creditor can try to force compliance by obtaining an order for the State to comply, failing which the State will be held in contempt.

But if the State still fails to comply, the existing law does not allow the judgment creditor to execute the judgment by attaching State property.”

Itumeleng Khoete

Continue Reading


[BREAKING NEWS] Lebona sets curfew



MASERU– In an effort to curb the rampant increase of homicides in Lesotho, the Minister of Police Lebona Lephema has announced a 10:00pm-4:00am curfew, effective Tuesday May 16, 2023. Failure to comply with the curfew attracts a 2 years imprisonment or a fine.

Staff Reporter

Continue Reading


Two nurses deleted for misconduct



MASERU – A Kolonyama midwife, ’Mamalibeng Ralenkoane, who allegedly neglected a woman during labour has been deleted from the nurses’ register for the next six months.

The woman went on to deliver her baby by herself without professional assistance.

In another case the secretary-general of the Lesotho Nursing Council (LNC), ’Mamonica Makhoswonke Mokhesi, has also been deleted for violating a patient’s privacy.

The LNC’s disciplinary chairman, Advocate Rapapa Sepiriti, said Ralenkoane had committed an act of serious misconduct and deserved severe punishment.

Advocate Sepiriti ruled that Ralenkoane “should not be seen anywhere attending (to) patients”.

Ralenkoane was working as a midwife at the Little Flower Health Centre in Kolonyama, Leribe, when ’Mateboho Letlala was admitted there for labour in August 2020.

Letlala told the panel that Ralenkoane took her to the examination room and later left her despite that there were signs that she could give birth anytime.

“At 19:00 pm Ralenkoane examined the patient but left her unattended and the patient had to deliver on her own,” Advocate Sepiriti said in his verdict.

“Clearly the blame has to be put at the door of Ralenkoane,” he said.

Adv. Sepiriti ruled that she should be deleted with immediate effect for 12 months, half of which was suspended.

“During these six months period, Ralenkoane is prohibited in any way from attending patients and this judgment should be delivered at her place of work,” he said.

Letlala in her testimony said by the time Ralenkoane arrived, she was already having severe labour pains and was told to go to the labour ward for assessment.

She said when she stepped down the labour bed Ralenkoane said to her: “Ua seke ua tatela ho hema empa molomo oa popelo o buleile ka 3cm’ (meaning she seemed to be in a hurry yet the cervix had opened by 3cm only).

“I was so surprised because I could feel I was very close to delivering because this was my second child and I could say I have experience,” she said.

She said she told the nurse that she needed to use the toilet but was instructed to use a pan instead.

“As she left me on the bed pan I could not stand from the pan as the pains were severe. I called for help but to no avail,” she said.

She said the moment she got energy to stand from the bed pan she saw blood, she called her but there was no response.

“Ralenkoane promised to come after two hours but there were no instructions on what to do in case I needed help prior to two hours,” she said.

“I wheeled myself to the bed and sat on it, still calling to no avail.”

She said while still alone, her membranes raptured and the time of birth came and the baby was delivered.

“The child did not fall as I was able to hold him,” she said.

She phoned her aunt who told her to find s scissor to cut the umbilical cord.

She said she bled a lot and ran out of energy, then Ralenkoane arrived at around midnight.

“When she came in she asked where the baby was and I pointed to where I had put him where he clamped the cord,” she said.

She said it was then that she got assistance.

The investigator for Professional Conduct Committee (PCC), one Nteso, told Advocate Sepiriti that his findings were that “the mother’s life was in danger as she was found having bled heavily and tired and the baby’s life was also in danger from prolonged exposure which could lead to hypothermia and brain damage”.

“Ralenkoane was not there for the mother until she delivered in the absence of the midwife, this is a case of negligence,” he said.

However, in mitigation Ralenkoane said this was her first time to appear before the panel and has been a nurse for more than nine years.

She said she has two children to support and she has already been punished by the clinic as she was dismissed and that she has policies and loans.

She pleaded with the panel to have mercy on her.

In another case Mokhesi who was the Secretary General of LNC was also deleted from the register for two years after she was found guilty of sharing a patient’s picture on social media without their consent.

She was accused of defamation of character and violating the patient’s privacy by posting pictures of the injuries he had incurred.

’Malimpho Majoro

Continue Reading


Nurses back at work



MASERU -NURSES who have been on strike since Monday are set to resume work this morning after the government started paying their salaries.

The nurses went on a go-slow last week but escalated to a full-fledged strike on Monday after the government delayed their salaries. Some nurses claimed they had not been paid since March.

Morephe Santi, the secretary general of the Lesotho Nurses’ Association (LNA), said they have started telling members to go back to work after the government said the salaries will start reflecting in their accounts last night.

The strike has inflicted huge reputational damage on Prime Minister Sam Matekane’s government which came to power on promises of efficiency.

Minister of Public Service Richard Ramoeletsi blamed the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) and the Human Resource Management System (HRMS) for the delay in April salaries.

Ramoeletsi told parliament last week that the two financial management systems were unable to reconcile, leading to delays in salaries.

But that explanation was little consolation for patients who bore the brunt of the strike.

At least 20 expectant mothers at Machabeng Hospital in Qacha’s Nek were told to go home because nurses could not help them.

Some of the women were later admitted at Tebellong Hospital, a facility under the Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL).

“We were staying at the hospital’s roundavel awaiting our time to go to labour but on Thursday afternoon (last week we were called by the nurses and they told us to go to other hospitals or go back home,” said Maretlotliloe Mpeli, who is heavily pregnant.

She said the nurses told them that they could not work on empty stomachs.

’Matlotla Poling, 19, from Ha-Rankakala said she had to call her parents because she did not have any money to either go back home or to Tebellong Hospital.

The Machabeng Hospital management declined to comment, referring thepost to the ministry’s headquarters in Maseru.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, ’Mateboho Mosebekoa, said Machabeng Hospital “did not expel the expecting mothers but merely sent them back home”.

“Due to the ongoing strike by doctors countrywide …they decided to take those women to the places where they would get help,” Mosebekoa said.

There was similar anguish at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital.

“The strike has affected all the departments including the kitchen, maternity, and emergencies, but the managers are on duty,” said ’Makananelo Sepipi, the hospital’s spokesperson.

Sepipi said managers were forced to hold the forte “because some sections cannot be left unattended utterly due to their importance”.

“The operations are happening in the emergency section, even though they do not operate in a normal way.”

She said patients whose operations were scheduled for this week were sent back home.

Santi, the LNA’s secretary general, blamed the government for the chaos caused by the strike.

Santi said as much as the government likes to call them an essential service they do not prioritise their ministry.

“They do not appreciate us, it is like they do not see the importance of our job,” Santi said.

“The government turns a blind eye to the fact that our working environment alone can put us at risk of contracting diseases.”

“Now we are not able to buy food and other necessities.”

Nkheli Liphoto & Thooe Ramolibeli

Continue Reading