Last ‘opposition’ PS booted out
The government this week relieved Mothabathe Hlalele of his post as Cabinet Principal Secretary (PS).
Mr Hlalele was given his marching orders on Monday and invited to discuss his exit package.
He had been appointed to the post on 2 February 2015 by the previous government led by then Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, with his contract set to expire in December 2017.
However, the new seven-party administration headed by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has since parted ways with all PSs appointed during Dr Thabane’s tenure.
Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention, Basotho National Party and Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) formed government in June 2012, but the coalition failed to last its five-year tenure due to infighting.
The squabbling, mainly between Dr Thabane and Deputy Prime Minister and LCD leader Mothetjoa Metsing, prompted a snap election in February this year, resulting in a new coalition government.
The new regime, comprising Dr Mosisili’s Democratic Congress, LCD, Popular Front for Democracy, Lesotho People’s Congress, Basotho Congress Party, Marematlou Freedom Party and National Independent Party, has since been culling senior public officials appointed by Dr Thabane’s government on the basis of their political affiliation.
According to Mr Mothabathe, popularly known as ‘The Saint’ in political circles, the decision to terminate his contract did not come as a surprise to him as he had requested for it. Mr Mothabathe further said his reasoning was now that all the other PSs appointed by the previous government had been removed, it was only fair that he also be bought out of his contract.
“It’s true that I have been released from my duties. I was served with the letter yesterday, with conditions open to negotiation and I am not bitter about it at all. I have always known all good things come to an end, and I had, in fact, initiated my exit since I was appointed by the previous government,” Mr Mothabathe said on Tuesday.
“I just want people to know that I served happily during my tenure and I was never victimised on the basis of my political affiliation or made to feel sidelined in any way. I was always respected, just like my colleagues appointed by the present government and I’m very grateful for that. I leave office in very good spirits.”