Ambassador fights back

Ambassador fights back

MASERU – LEBOHANG Ntšinyi, Lesotho’s ambassador to China, is fighting the decision to recall her before her contact expires.
Ntšinyi, one of the six diplomats recalled, this week filed an urgent High Court application seeking to block her recall which she says is illegal and un-procedural. In her affidavit Ntšinyi argues that the government has no right to recall her before her contract ends in May 2019.
Ntšinyi had been ordered to arrive back home on May 5.

The government has since informed the Chinese government of the decision to recall her.
In a March 5 letter the Ministry of Foreign Affairs requested China to cancel the diplomatic visas and residence permit for Ntšinyi, her family and domestic worker.

It said Minister Counsellor Moliehi Makatse will act in Ntšinyi’s position while Lesotho looks for a substantive ambassador.
The letter to the Chinese government was sent on the same day Ntšinyi was recalled.
In her application Ntšinyi says she stands to lose M5.2 million if recalled now.

She says she will suffer “serious prejudice when this vested right to earning is taken away by a stroke of a pen”.
She argues that the decision is “irrational and unreasonable” because she has never faced disciplinary action and the Public Service Commission does not seem to have been consulted.

Although she admits that the government tried to consult her before the decision, Ntšinyi says it remains clear that it is “still improper”.
She says because no reason was given for her recall she believes that the decision is “arbitrary, capricious (sudden), null and void”.
“I have not done anything which justifies my recall,” Ntšinyi says.

“I have not been disciplined. I have not had my performance assessed such that it can be said I am unable to perform my duties.”
She says the first time she knew of the intention to recall her was on February 28 when she had a meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Lesego Makgothi and his Principal Secretary Nkopane Monyane in Italy.

In that meeting, Ntšinyi explains, she was asked how the recall would affect her.
She says she told Makgothi and Monyane that she would suffer financial loss if recalled before her contract expires.
She told them that she would only accept the decision if she is paid her salary and benefits for the remainder of her contract.
She says she has a child who is supposed to attend school in China until 2019.

The recall is “therefore highly prejudicial from the family life, social, financial and children’s welfare perspective.”
The government has also recalled former Trade Minister Popane Lebesa (Kuwait), former Lesotho College of Education (LCE) rector Molefi Oliphant (London), former Justice Minister Mpeo Mahase in Brussels.

Ratokelo Nkoka, who is a consular general in Durban, has also been ordered to come back home.  Kelebone Maope, Lesotho’s ambassador to the United Nations in New York, who has also been recalled, said he will also fight the decision.
He is likely to file his application this week.

Staff Reporter

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