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Minister fires sports commissioners

by Lesotho Times

MASERU — The Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation has fired the commissioners of the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC).
In a letter to the Commission’s chief executive officer seen by the Lesotho Times, the principal secretary in the ministry Makalo Theko said the action to dissolve the commission was taken after the incumbent officers failed to facilitate the election of a new commission.
“Our records indicate that the tenure of office of the 2006 Commission expired on the 30th September 2009, due to the efluxion of time,” reads the letter from Theko.
“It was the expectation of the Ministry responsible for Sport and Recreation that all processes necessary for a Commission to be in place, subsequent to the expiration of the 2006 Commission’s tenure of office, would have been followed. It has become apparent that this has not been the case.”
It is also alleged that the ministry was forced to act after about 20 LSRC member associations petitioned it earlier this month. There are 28 associations registered with the commission.
LSRC commissioners are elected after every three years by member associations.
In his letter, Theko said sports minister ‘Mathabiso Lepono had also instructed him to appoint the chief executive officer to take all responsibilities of the commissioners.
He said the ministry would ensure that a new commission would be elected within three months.
However, LSRC public relations officer Teboho Tolo condemned the move as unlawful.
“The ministry’s action to dissolve the commission is totally unlawful. The minister is misinformed by people serving their own hidden agendas,” Tolo said.
He said that the minister was receiving wrong advice from elements bent on embarrassing her and the commission.
Tolo argued that as commissioners, they were still within their rights to call the elections three months after their term of office expired.
“As current commissioners we are still within our rights because the constitution stipulates that elections shall be called three months after the month we were inaugurated,” he said.
Tolo however declined to comment on allegations that the outgoing commissioners would sue the ministry if it did not reverse its decision.
“I reserve my comment on that one but we are not idiots or cowards,” he said.
He said that they were only going to propose the meeting with the ministry.
“We’ve said that the only route to resolve this matter is by having discussions with the ministry,” he said.
Tolo said that they were surprised that the ministry wrote this letter because they clearly gave them their plans in July.
“We informed the ministry about our two separated plans (Elections of December 7) but the minister never raised a finger to say we were stepping beyond our boundaries,” he said.
Lesotho Athletics Amateur Association (LAAA) spokesperson Sejanamane Maphathe told the Lesotho Times that his association was happy with the way the ministry had dealt with the issue.
“We are happy with the way the ministry of sports handled this matter,” Maphathe said.
He said that about 20 LSRC member associations were forced to petition the sports ministry on this matter after commissioners failed to produce a financial report.
LSRC chief executive officer Kholoang Mokalanyane told the Lesotho Times that there was a misunderstanding between the commissioners and the ministry.
“There is some misunderstanding between the ministry and former commissioners,” Mokalanyane said.
He said that there was currently no commission and he was not sure if there would be any negotiations between the ministry and commissioners about this matter.
“The commission does not exist and I am not sure if there will be negotiations but for now that is how things stand.”
Mokalanyane said that the commissioners’ constitution gave them a three-month grace period subsequent to the expiry date.
“The grace period is given to them by their constitution but the ministry does not consider it,” Mokalanyane said.
“It (the ministry) used the law to approach this matter.”
LSRC Commission president Tsietsi Lebakae was said to be out of the country when this paper contacted him yesterday.

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