NEW cabinet ministers and deputy ministers were this week sworn in at the Royal Place Banqueting Hall in a move that was immediately condemned by the opposition Alliance of Democrats (AD) as a “disingenuous plan to abuse state resources for electioneering”.
Former Deputy Minister of Health, ’Matoetsi Mohatonyane was sworn in as the new Minister of Small Business Development, Cooperatives and Marketing replacing Selibe Mochoboroane who was fired after he left the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) to lead the Movement for Economic Change (MEC).
Lebakeng constituency legislator Semano Sekatle was sworn in as Minister of Development Planning, a post previously held by Mokoto Hloaele who defected to the AD.
’Marefuoe ’Muso also took office as Minister of Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation which was formerly held by current AD deputy leader, Kabelo Mafura.
Other new appointments were Makhaleng constituency legislator, Mootsi Lehata (Minister of Human Rights, Law and Constitutional Affairs), Rapitso Khati (Public Service), Qhalasi legislator Palo Leteetee (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office) and Thabang Pheko who was sworn in as Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport.
However, AD spokesperson Teboho Lehloenya claimed that far from serving the national interest, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s appointment of new ministers was driven by partisan considerations particularly in the event that the country was to go for snap elections.
He said the AD believed the appointments were meant to ensure the legislators would have full access to state resources as ministers to assist them to campaign in the event elections were called.
“The Prime Minister has on various platforms said he is going to call elections in the event that we are to pass a vote of no confidence against him and his government Mr Lehloenya said, adding, “So, knowing that we are not going to go back on our word on this vote of no confidence motion, he is preparing his people to be well placed to utilise state resources for campaigns come elections time”.
Kolo constituency legislator Lehloenya is one of former Democratic Congress (DC) members who defected to join the AD which was formed in December by Machache Constituency legislator and former DC deputy leader, Monyane Moleleki.
Mr Moleleki signed an agreement with All Basotho Convention leader and former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane I November 2016, aimed at forming a new coalition government after dislodging the current seven parties’ coalition government headed by DC leader and Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili. The agreement was also endorsed by the Basotho National Front and Reformed Congress of Lesotho.
Dr Mosisili has stated his readiness to call an election in the event the opposition moved a vote of no confidence against him in parliament.