Majoro warned over bloated cabinet

Majoro warned over bloated cabinet

MASERU-THE civil society and the opposition have urged Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro to have a small cabinet.   
Prime Ministers Thomas Thabane and Pakalitha Mosisili had bloated cabinets that drained government resources in terms of perks to ministers.
Thabane had 35 ministers and Mosisili 28.

The Transformation Resource Centre (TRC), an ecumenical association advocating for development and human rights, said Dr Majoro should avoid parcelling out unnecessary cabinet position to please his partners.
In a statement on Tuesday, the TRC said, the prime minister cannot afford to have 35 ministers like his predecessor.

A minister earns about M350 000 per year but the cost of other benefits like cars, aides, housing, airtime and international travel means they take much more from the government.  
TRC said the upkeep of 27 ministerial portfolios and their eight deputy ministers for a cabinet total of 35 costs the state approximately M7.7 million of public funds on a monthly basis.

“Due to the worryingly patronage-centric system of politics in Lesotho, the centre has enough reason to suspect that cabinet may be increased instead as an attempt to reward political loyalty and allegiances,” the centre said.
It also called for a clear criterion for the selection of ministers and their deputies. It is pushing for a hybrid system that prioritises creativity, professional and academic credentials over experience.

“The result will likely be individuals devoted to the acquisition of legitimacy from Basotho in a relatively relentless manner while simultaneously ensuring the improvement of service dispensation.”
The TRC also advised that the Ministries of Agriculture and Forestry be merged.

It said the Ministries of Defence and National Security should be combined.
So too should the Ministries of Police and Public Safety.
The same applies to Finance and Development planning.
It suggests the same for Ministries of Home Affairs and International Relations. The Academic Forum for Development of Lesotho (AFDEL), an association of academics, has also warned Dr Majoro of the danger of bringing too many parties to the coalition government.

“We have said before and say it again that a bloated cabinet is not the way to go for a country as poor as ours – we need a lean and mean cabinet run by highly skilled and principled people,” the association of academics said.
“We strongly contend that the days of appointing cabinet members and other senior officials of government merely on the basis of patronage are long gone,” it said.

“We instead advocate for the appointment of skilled, professional, ethical and experienced persons in the service of the nation.”
The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) Youth League said the Lesotho prime minister should focus on the youths.
Phetho Matla urged Dr Majoro to reduce the number of ministers to 20 and to can the deputy minister position.
He said deputy ministers are just there to fill the positions as they do not even make independent decisions.

Nkheli Liphoto

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