DEVELOPMENT Planning Minister Mokoto Hloaele has resigned from government in yet another blow to the embattled Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili-led governing coalition.
Mr Hloaele joins four ministers and two deputy ministers in resigning after the Democratic Congress (DC) National Executive Committee (NEC) directed party members to pull out of government.
The NEC, which mostly consists of DC deputy leader Monyane Moleleki’s supporters, on 10 November this year withdrew from the coalition government earlier this month.
The NEC also instructed party members including DC leader, Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, to resign from the seven-party coalition government which they accused of corruption, nepotism and deteriorating relations with development partners among other alleged offences.
In line with the NEC’s directive, Mr Moleleki – who had been moved to the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office portfolio — resigned along with DC Secretary-General Ralechate ’Mokose (Forestry and Land Reclamation), Public Works and Transport Deputy Minister ’Manthabiseng Phohleli, Law, Constitution and Human Rights Minister Mokhele Moletsane, and Local Government Deputy Minister Kotiti Liholo.
Dr Mosisili, who was also suspended by the NEC, has since dismissed the withdrawal from the coalition government as “null and void” while also suspending 10 of the committee’s members whom he described as rebels.
Mr Hloaele yesterday confirmed his resignation in an interview with the Lesotho Times, but said he was told by acting premier Mothetjoa Metsing to remain in office until Dr Mosisili’s return yesterday from a working trip to Algeria.
“Yes, I have resigned but I am still in office waiting for the prime minister’s return as per the request of the acting PM Ntate Metsing,” he said.
The Lesotho Times is in possession of a copy of Mr Hloaele’s resignation letter which is also copied to National Assembly Speaker Ntlhoi Motsamai.
Part of the letter, dated 28 November 2016, reads: “I earnestly and wholeheartedly thank you for affording me the opportunity on the 14th of November to reflect on what position or direction I want to take following the resignations from the ministerial position on the 11th of November by some cabinet ministers.
“I did reflect and, after careful assessment and thought, I have come to the conclusion to resign from my ministerial position, as I hereby do. It has not been an easy decision to make given the factors at play but I had to make it.”
Mr Hloaele adds: “Likewise, I sincerely thank you for the trust you bestowed on me by allowing me to serve in the Cabinet. It was an ever-to-remember experience for me. Kea leboha Ntate. Lastly, as I have been doing over the years since I got to know you, I will always turn to you for advice and guidance. I wait your guidance Ntate on my exit.”
Speculation has also been rife Public Service Minister Tsukutlane Au would also resign in line with the NEC directive. However, Mr Au yesterday expressed “shock” at the rumours of his exit, saying he has no plans of doing so.
“I haven’t resigned and have no plan to do so now. I am shocked by this speculation and don’t even know where it emanates from. But since I can’t predict the future, I don’t know what it holds for me,” he coyly said.