Minister speaks on rift with LSRC

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Mikia Kalati

THE Minister of Gender, Youth Sports and Recreation, Mahali Phamotse, has diffused a looming fight with members of the Lesotho Sports and Recreation Commission (LSRC) over who should choose the committee that will oversee the preparations for the 2020 African Union Sports Council Region V games.

Lesotho is scheduled to host the games in December 2020 and recent reports have indicated that there were tensions between the minister and her charges at the LSRC who want to have control over the selection of the local organising committee (LOC).

Members of the LSRC have accused the minister of side-lining them in key decisions and also alleged that she hired 30 members from her Alliance of Democrats (AD) party to be part of the secretariat of the LOC.

The officials who refused to be named for fear of reprisals told the Lesotho Times that they were unhappy that the minister had appointed the chairperson and the chief executive officer (CEO) of the LOC without their input.

This is after indications that the former Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Fusi Notoane, is set to be appointed as the chairman. Mr Notoane is a member of AB.

However, the minister professed ignorance of the complaints and said she was within her mandate and said the LNOC would have a say on the appointment of the LOC.

“I am not aware of such complaints from the LSRC as they have not said anything to me,” Phamotse said.

“I should establish the LOC and I am in the process of doing that with the input of the LNOC.”

She said the appointment of the secretariat (CEO and the chairperson) was her sole responsibility while the LSRC would only have a say in the appointment of the rest of the committee.

Phamotse said they have to employ seventy individuals that will be hands on during the games.

“Rightfully, we are supposed to hire seventy people who will work in different sub committees to be managed by those from the LOC,” Phamotse said.

“I am on the right track with the people that I have already brought in because we have not even hired half of the number that we need as we are waiting to first establish the committee.”

She said as much as she has already brought in the supporting staff to work with the yet to be appointed LOC, she has been engaging the LSRC all the way.

“We will sit down and go through the names of the candidates to select the individuals that will make up the committee.”

Phamotse said the secretariat does not need to be constituted by sports experts as these would be included in the committee.

The minister poured cold water on the allegations of the engagement of members of her party and said the individuals were professionals that would only take administrative roles.

“They have been hired for administration of the games, they are not technical, but their job is to plan and oversee processes.

“They will then forward their plan on what they feel needs to be done and its then that the LOC as experts will give their opinions on the way forward, but typically the secretariat is there for planning.”

She said local sports have always failed to achieve results and the move to hire professionals for the secretariat was aimed at correcting that.

“The chairman that I have appointed has worked in different places, managing different people and also has an understanding of sports.

“Instead, we cannot just appoint someone because he/she has played football for a long time when we need administrative expertise. That is what we are trying to run away from,” she said.

Phamotse said the LSRC should understand that its role was limited to oversight and not hands on in the preparations.

“One cannot be a member of the LSRC and also want to be a member of the LOC. I think the most of them feel that they should be part of the committee.

“If one is part of the committee and overseeing the whole process they would be compromised,” she said.

She said the LSRC should look objectively at the issues before they complain about the CEO and the chairperson whose CVs she said spoke volumes about their experience.

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