Govt recalls diplomats

Lesotho Times
5 Min Read
Tlohang Sekhamane
Ambassador to Switzerland Nkopane Monyane
Ambassador to Switzerland Nkopane Monyane

Keiso Mohloboli

GOVERNMENT has recalled four diplomats and ordered them to report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations headquarters on 9 November, the Lesotho Times has established.

The returning ambassadors are Bothata Tsikoane (India), Felleng Makeka (United Kingdom), Sempe Lejaha (Italy) and Nkopane Monyane (Switzerland) who all assumed the posts in 2013 under the three-party government led by former premier Thomas Thabane, which has since been booted out of power.

A letter written to Mr Tsikoane by Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister Tlohang Sekhamane on 6 August 2015 advises the envoy, whose contract was set to expire in April 2016, to start preparing for his return.

The Lesotho Times is reliably informed the other three ambassadors were also slapped with similar letters from government.

Mr Tsikoane’s letter headlined “Your recall from Lesotho – New Delhi as an Ambassador” reads: “It has been decided that you be recalled from Foreign Service as I hereby do.

“You are therefore advised to wrap-up your personal affairs and report to the Headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Relations on 9 November 2015.

“Please note that you will revert to your position or a similarly graded position upon your arrival. Please allow me to thank you for the services you rendered to the government of Lesotho while serving abroad.”

Mr Tsikoane yesterday confirmed receiving Mr Sekhamane’s letter, which he, however, said was going to cause “a lot of inconvenience” to his family.

According to Mr Tsikoane, he arrived in New Delhi on 17 April 2013 after signing a three-year contract.

Ambassodor to India Bothata Tsikoane
Ambassodor to India Bothata Tsikoane

“I received the recall letter from the minister and although I am fully aware that I was appointed to the post by a government which is no longer in power, I was thinking I would be allowed to stay until my contract has come to an end in April 2016. That date is just around the corner, which is why I was thinking I would be allowed to continue until the contract comes to an end.

“To recall me suddenly like this while I still have a contract with government makes me feel that I am being harassed. I can’t just overlook the inconvenience that this is going to cause to my family’s education.

“My children are attending an international school here and their term started this August, and now they have to leave before it’s over. The same government that is recalling me had committed school fees for the children’s education, which is why I believe this recall is just improper.

“I will have to come back home as directed even though it is not clear what is going to be my fate. The letter doesn’t say anything about the government buying-out my contract; it says I will revert to my position or a similarly graded position when I return which I really don’t understand,” Mr Tsikoane said yesterday.

Ambassador to the UK Felleng Makeka
Ambassador to the UK Felleng Makeka

On the other hand, Ms Makeka yesterday said she could not “talk” to the Lesotho Times as she was in a meeting. Her cell-phone was later on voicemail, while Mr Lejaha and Mr Monyane were both not readily available for comment.

Mr Sekhamane could also not be reached yesterday as his mobile phones were on voicemail, while Acting Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary ‘Mathoriso Monaheng refused to comment.

“I am attending a SADC meeting and about to make a presentation. Go and seek assistance from the ministry,” said Ms Monaheng.

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