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Aids Commission disbanded



MASERU-IT was double trouble for the National Aids Commission (NAC) after Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro disbanded the board last Friday.
At the same time the NAC was also kicked out of its premises over rental arrears on Monday this week.

Lesotho Property Consultants claim the NAC owes it over M300 000 in rentals, according to NAC CEO Keratile Thabana.
“However, the government arranged that we pay by June 30 but unfortunately it was too late for the landlord to allow us to continue using his property,” Thabana said.

“At the present moment we don’t know where to go. We are packing but we don’t know where to go from here,” she said, adding that she was waiting for directions from the Prime Minister’s Office.
The NAC falls directly under the Prime Minister’s office.

Thabana said they had not been able to pay rent for the past five months.
Sources privy to the Friday meeting between the board and Dr Majoro told thepost that the Prime Minister told them bluntly that the board was being immediately disbanded.

“The Prime Minister wouldn’t hear any reasons. It seemed he went with his mind already made up,” the source said.
“After he left board members who were unsatisfied were complaining that they were being dismissed just like small boys and girls.”

One of the dissatisfied members is Malefetsane Liau, leader of the Lesotho la Mekhoa le Meetlo (LMM) party, who said Dr Majoro dismissed them verbally.
Liau insisted that he regarded Dr Majoro’s act unlawful, especially because their removal should have been written and reasons for their dismissal well spelt out in their letters of dismissal.

He described Dr Majoro’s act as “the victor proving his power to the powerless”.
He said they had a tough time as a board to the extent that sometimes they would be denied their sitting allowances.
He said the employees at their offices are also often not paid.
“We do not even know how they are coping,” Liau said.
He also said the meeting was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu.

“The problem with educated people is the fact that they lack humanity and treat people like they do not matter at all,” Liau said.
He said he tried to ask in the same meeting why they were being dismissed like herd boys yet they were respected members of the community.
“At this point we will not fight to go back to office but will use all our energy to tell the public what their officials are doing,” he said.

Another fired member is Dr ’Maseabata Ramathebane, a senior lecturer in the Health Sciences Faculty at the National University of Lesotho (NUL).
Dr Ramathebane said they were surprised when they were axed even though their term in office had still not lapsed.

She said they were appointed in 2015 and were given appointment letters and contracts outlining when their time would lapse.
She said in the meeting the Prime Minister did not even care to know their names and even get a report from them on what they have been doing in office.

“He just told us that he had reached a decision to dissolve the board,” Dr Ramathebane said.
She said the prime minister told them that his reason for dissolving the board includes that they were 10 commissioners yet the past commission that was dissolved in 2011 had only five commissioners.
She said in 2015 they were appointed by the same office of the Prime Minister and they were officially inaugurated.

“If the commission is illegal like the Prime Minister says he should make it legal as it is his office’s responsibility to do so not just to dissolve it,” she said.
“We were appointed with the reason that the past commission did not represent all sectors of the community.”
The Prime Minister’s spokesman, Mosito Moqhekoana, said Dr Majoro told him that around 2015 the commission appointed 10 commissioners unlawfully.

He said the commissioners had to be five only “and not more than that”.
“For that reason even today there is no gazette issued confirming their appointment as it has many people as opposed to the law,” Moqhekoana said.

“The money that has always been used on the 10 commissioners was spent unlawfully as they are there unlawfully,” he said.
He also said now that the commission has been dissolved there will be a new commission.
“The Prime Minister called them and told them about the matter.”
He said what is left is for the commissioners to be given letters of dismissal so that a new commission is formed with five members as the law requires.

Nkheli Liphoto

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[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

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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

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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

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