Metsing confesses

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  • says politicians recruit their supporters to fill civil service posts
  • calls for an end to political meddling in civil service

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

LESOTHO Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, has confessed that he served in governments which recruited their party supporters instead of deserving candidates to fill posts in the civil service.

Mr Metsing, who served as deputy prime minister in the first Thomas Thabane-led coalition from 2012 to 2015, alleged that Dr Thabane fired supporters of other parties from the civil service and exclusively recruited ABC supporters to fill the vacancies.

He said as Deputy Prime Minister in the successor Pakalitha Mosisili-led government from 2015 to 2017, he and Dr Mosisili settled scores by firing ABC supporters from their civil service posts and replacing them with their supporters.

He said he now regretted ever hiring people on partisan grounds and urged the current and future governments to refrain from the practice.

He said this while addressing LCD supporters at a party rally in Khafung, Berea early this week.

He described himself as a “sinner” who now wanted to rectify the mistakes of the past including hiring people on the basis of their political affiliations.

He also used the rally to defend his meetings with Dr Thabane, saying efforts to achieve lasting peace and stability in the country had to involve the latter as he was the prime minister.

Mr Metsing said he served in governments which prioritised political affiliation over merit when hiring people for jobs in different sectors.

He said he fell out with Dr Thabane during the first coalition due to the latter’s “tendency of firing supporters of other parties from government service and exclusively recruiting ABC supporters to fill the vacancies”.

He said upon returning to government as part of the short-lived Mosisili-led coalition in 2015, he and Dr Mosisili settled scores by firing ABC supporters from their civil service posts and replacing them with their supporters.

He said he now regretted the practice and urged any sitting government never to repeat it.

“Awarding jobs on the basis of political affiliation is wrong and should be stopped immediately, Mr Metsing said, adding, “We should introspect and do things differently”.

“We should stop the kind of politics where a congress government leaves ABC supporters to die of hunger or vice versa. We should create jobs for the people and not fire them. That only sows hatred among our people. The LCD denounces the politics of hatred. We can only succeed if we make strong laws which will ensure a democratic dispensation for everyone not just a privileged few.”

Mr Metsing is not the first to allege political meddling in the recruitments to the civil service and security agencies.

Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki made similar claims against the then seven parties’ coalition in 2017.

In March 2017, Mr Moleleki accused the then Mosisili-led coalition of corruptly handing out posts in the security agencies to their supporters.

Mr Moleleki served as the Police and Public Safety minister in the Mosisili regime which comprised of the DC, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC), Popular Front for Democracy (PFD), Basotho Congress Party (BCP), National Independence Party (NIP) and the Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP).

Mr Moleleki, who had just dumped the DC to form the AD, revealed that he had been part of “a corrupt act” of enlisting 250 police recruits from the seven parties’ support base to undergo training at the Police Training College (PTC) in 2016 at the expense of 22 000 prospective young recruits who had waited “long hours in the sun in the hope they would get jobs when we knew we already had our people listed somewhere for the police jobs.” he said.

He said 100 vacancies at the Lesotho Correctional Service had been divided among the parties in government.

Only last week, former Defence and National Security Minister, Tefo Mapesela, accused the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) of corruptly handing out posts in the army to supporters of the main opposition — the DC.

Mr Mapesela made the claims in a leaked recorded telephone conversation with an aspiring LDF recruit who failed to make the cut. This followed the publication of the Defence ministry’s shortlist of candidates who have to go for medical examinations ahead of the LDF’s recruitment exercise for the 2019/20 financial year.

The shortlist was produced on 3 October 2019 – the day that Mr Mapesela was moved from the Defence ministry to the Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation portfolio in a cabinet reshuffle.

Mr Metsing also used the Sunday rally to defend his recent meetings with Dr Thabane.

Mr Metsing has met Dr Thabane to discuss a possible power-sharing deal, the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission (TRC) as well as the release of murder-accused former army commander, Tlali Kamoli and other detained serving and former members of the security agencies accused of various crimes.

The meetings have however, come under withering criticism from the Professor Nqosa Mahao-led faction of the ABC and other critics who say a Metsing-Thabane alliance would only be a marriage of convenience by two desperate politicians. The critics say an alliance would be the product of Dr Thabane’s desperate bid to cling to power in the face of a revolt within his own party where his deputy, Prof Mahao, is spearheading a no confidence vote to bring down his government. On the other hand, the critics say Mr Metsing will stop at nothing in his quest to return to government by agreeing a deal to save Dr Thabane from the looming no confidence vote.

However, Mr Metsing defended his talks with Dr Thabane saying they were borne out of a genuine love for the country.  Any attempts to achieve lasting peace and stability had to involve Dr Thabane as he was the premier.

He said he was open to meet anyone else who wanted the same for the country.

“I accept that I am a sinner and if people do not take my word, they should at least hearken to the word of God which calls for forgiveness. I have been ridiculed for meeting Ntate Thabane to discuss issues which affect this nation. I could not meet anyone else but him because he is the one in power. We have to find peace to make the lives of Basotho better.”

Mr Metsing also urged all politicians to meet and confess their past indiscretions so that they could plot the way forward on a clean slate.

“We have to confront one another on the things we have done that hurt us. Then we can all agree on how to move forward on a clean slate as one nation working for a better Lesotho. We are capable of doing that. We have intelligent people in the ABC, LCD, BNP and DC. If we were to bring those brains together this country would find peace.

“But if we feel that this country belongs to a certain group of people, we will forever be engulfed in political skirmishes. We have to go back to the kind of politics that put the people and their interests first,” he said.

 

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