Mahao breathes fire

Mahao breathes fire

MASERU-Justice Minister Professor Nqosa Mahao is locked in a nasty fight with National Reforms Authority (NRA) chairman, Chief Pelele Letsoela, over reforms.

Relations between the two have become so toxic that the government this week asked SADC envoy Justice Dikgang Moseneke to intervene.
Justice Moseneke is expected in Lesotho today.
He is set to have meetings with the two and other key stakeholders today and tomorrow.

This week, Mahao accused Chief Letsoela of stalling the reforms process, a charge the NRA boss flatly rejected.
Mahao said the NRA had written its own regulations, giving itself more powers than it had been given by Parliament.
Mahao said when he raised concerns about this, Chief Letsoela turned on him.

“We will have a meeting tomorrow with Justice Moseneke, where the Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister will be present,” Justice Mahao said.
“We have asked Moseneke to come and be present there for intervention.”
He said top on the agenda will be the issue of accountability and the NRA’s powers.

“They have to be regulated and not be on top of the law,” he said.
“The NRA wants to be bigger than Parliament itself, which is incorrect.”
Mahao also accused Chief Letsoela of interfering in the selection process of the NRA’s CEO and his deputy.

He said the Institute of Development Management had been engaged to oversee the selection process but Chief Letsoela went on to choose different ones instead of those that had been shortlisted.
“They even prepared the questions for interviews,” Professor Mahao said.
Professor Mahao said when he called a meeting with the NRA, Chief Letsoela and his team “heckled us and treated us embarrassingly until we left the meeting”.

“The acts were made to deliberately sideline the government so that it did not become part of the recruitment processes,” he said.
Mahao said Chief Letsoela and his NRA people were only interested in pushing for their lucrative salaries of M30 000 each per month.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Chief Letsoela said Mahao was “talking nonsense”.

He said they were within their rights to negotiate their salaries.
“We negotiated M30 000 as our salaries,” Chief Letsoela said.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ workshop on the reforms in Mantšonyane, Thaba-Tseka, yesterday, Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) director, Tsikoane Peshoane, said the reforms had been boggled by infighting.
“There is no progress, to be honest,” Peshoane said.

“They want M30 000 each but that will not benefit the nation but individuals,” he said.
Sofonea Shale, who is the director of Development for Peace Education (DPE), a civic group, said it was embarrassing that “Moseneke was being called again to intervene”.

He said Professor Mahao and Chief Letsoela should have ironed out issues between them amicably.
Chief Letsoela did not attend the meeting in Thaba-Tseka.
Shale said it was a pity that Chief Letsoela was not present at the meeting where he could have talked about the progress of the reforms.
“We think the government and the NRA leadership have conflicts. This issue does not sit well with us,” Shale said.

He urged the NRA chairman to be happy to work with the government so that the NRA reforms can proceed smoothly.
“It is embarrassing that even before going anywhere we have to ask Moseneke to intervene. It is bad because conflicts come from the leaders in the NRA and the government,” he said.

Foreign Affairs Minister ’Matšepo Ramakoae said Justice Moseneke’s visit was causing her headaches because the reforms were lagging behind schedule.
“We were given one and a half years to make progress. If we continue at this current rate that dream will never be achieved,” she said.
“The NRA must focus more on Basotho not them as an authority.”

Nkheli Liphoto

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