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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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[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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