PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro has reshuffled four principal secretaries (PSs) with effect from 9 February 2022.
The reshuffle was communicated in a statement issued by Dr Majoro’s press attaché, Buta Moseme, yesterday.
According to the statement, PS Lefu Manyokole has been moved from the Ministry of Forestry and Land Reclamation to the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship Affairs.
His previous portfolio has been taken up by Dr Kamoo Matlama who was moved from his post as PS for Cabinet Administration.
Mr Nchakha Makara, who was PS for Agriculture, Food Security and Marketing has swapped portfolios with Advocate ’Mole Khumalo who was PS for Public Service.
No explanation was given for the reshuffle, save to say that it was done in accordance with section 139 of the constitution which states that the prime minister is empowered to appoint PSs and the Government Secretary after consulting the Public Service Commission.
Dr Majoro has been in charge for less than two years, having replaced the former incumbent, Thomas Thabane, on 20 May 2020. In his relatively short time in charge, he has shown that he is not averse to reshuffling his cabinet even without consulting his All Basotho Convention (ABC)’s national executive committee (NEC).
He did not renew the contracts of several Thabane-era PSs before appointing his own preferred candidates -something which riled the NEC and was cited as one of the reasons why he was recalled from his post on 2 December 2021. He however refused to step down and make way for Nkaku Kabi who had been chosen to replace him.
Dr Majoro made his first cabinet reshuffle in February 2021 when he fired then Labour and Employment Minister Keketso Rantšo and her Defence and National Security counterpart, Prince Maliehe.
A few other ministers swapped places in that reshuffle. Again, in April 2021, he fired then ministers, Tefo Mapesela (Agriculture and Food Security), Nqosa Mahao (Justice and Law), Motlatsi Maqelepo (Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation), ‘Mamoipone Senauoane (Police and Public Safety) and Deputy Minister of Health, Nto Moakhi.
Save for Mr Mapesela, all the others were fired after dumping the ABC to form the Basotho Action Party which led by Prof Mahao.
Mr Mapesela was the first to be dismissed after he had said Dr Majoro should finish his current term before stepping down to allow Prof Mahao to lead the ABC into the 2022 elections and take over as premier in the event of an ABC win.
Mr Mapesela did not eventually join Prof Mahao and others in the BAP. He subsequently formed his own Basotho Patriotic Party, allegedly after falling out with Prof Mahao.
Dr Majoro’s latest reshuffle is likely to raise questions, coming as it does just a few months before the elections which are due in September this year. It remains to be seen what impact, if any, the PSs will make in their new portfolios in the little time remaining before the elections.