. . . accuses ministers of demanding sex from women jobseekers
ALLIANCE of Democrats (AD) leader Monyane Moleleki has unleashed another salvo at his former colleagues in the government, this time accusing “some young ministers” of demanding sexual favours from women seeking jobs.
Mr Moleleki has also accused Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili of disregarding his advice to reprimand the ministers, saying the premier eventually sided with them against him.
However, the AD leader’s claims have been dismissed by Democratic Congress (DC) deputy leader and Gender Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu who said they were “frivolous accusations by a frustrated man whose party is failing to gain membership”.
Addressing hundreds of AD supporters during a rally held in Ha Sekhobe village in the Motete constituency last Sunday, Mr Moleleki said “the disgusting deeds” of some young ministers in the coalition government were among the reasons he resigned as a cabinet minister.
The veteran politician resigned from government after he was reshuffled by Dr Mosisili from the Police ministry to the premier’s office – a move he described as a demotion.
The reshuffle was effected at the height of infighting in the DC after Mr Moleleki and members of a faction aligned to him withdrew the party from the seven-party coalition government.
After a High Court ruling frustrated his bid to wrest control of the party from the premier, Mr Moleleki left the DC – of which he was deputy leader — in December 2016 to form the AD.
Mr Moleleki took with him most of the then DC executive committee members, a sizeable chunk of legislators as well as members of the women and youth leagues.
Since leaving the government, the AD leader has been scathing of his former colleagues who also include members of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, Lesotho People’s Congress, Popular Front for Democracy, Basotho Congress Party, National Independent Party and the Marematlou Freedom Party.
Mr Moleleki’s latest accusation follows his assertion last month that the seven parties in the outgoing coalition government corruptly handed out posts in the country’s security agencies to their supporters. The allegation was also vehemently denied by the government.
“Some of the reasons for my resignation as a minister are the unpleasant things that were being done in government,” he said.
“One example are the disgusting deeds of some young men who had been appointed into cabinet.
“When such ministers were approached by your daughters and some people’s wives seeking jobs – they would demand sexual favours. They demanded to be entertained with the bodies of job seekers.”
Mr Moleleki accused Dr Mosisili of protecting the concerned ministers despite his advice to reprimand them.
“Ntate Mosisili knows about this disgusting behaviour but he has been protecting those sickening young men.
“Ntate Mosisili cannot say he does not know that some young ministers entertain themselves with people’s daughters when they come to them seeking government jobs.
Mr Moleleki continued: “I was Ntate Mosisili’s deputy in the DC, and I once approached him to inform him that a certain young man was abusing people’s daughters and wives at the ministerial offices. A fuming Ntate Mosisili vowed to fire him.
“But I advised him against firing the minister but only to reprimand him. Unfortunately, little did I know that this group of young men and women ministers had approached the prime minister behind my back to drive a wedge between us. They claimed to support Ntate Mosisili and accused me of trying to depose him.”
Instead of a reprimand, the AD leader said Dr Mosisili actually sided with the ministers to fight him in the DC. He also dared the premier to prove him wrong.
“Ntate Mosisili knows about these ugly deeds but never did anything to bring them to a stop.
“If I am lying, then he should come out and say I am lying and tell the people that his ministers are well behaved.
“Some of them are only good at extramarital affairs instead of conducting their ministerial duties.”
Mr Moleleki said Agriculture Deputy Minister Tumahole Lerafa – who was the DC legislator for Motete constituency in the Ninth Parliament – was not among the officials demanding sexual favours in exchange for government jobs.
“Ntate Lerafa is just part of them because they promised him a ministerial position. I see that being a minister is a sweet thing. I would be insulting him if I was to say he is doing ugly things like these young ministers.”
Mr Mokhothu responded to Mr Moleleki’s claims by warning the AD leader to desist from making “unfounded allegations” against other political parties saying it was a violation of the Electoral Code of Conduct outlined in the National Assembly Electoral Act (2011).
“One of the key code of conduct provisions is that during the electoral period we should avoid use of foul language. Unfortunately, Ntate Moleleki has violated this provision with these unfounded claims,” he said.
“The code of conduct also provides that we should refrain from making false and defamatory allegations concerning any person or political party and it’s unfortunate that Moleleki is doing so despite his many years as a politician.”
The DC deputy leader said political leaders like Mr Moleleki should show maturity and integrity when addressing their supporters during the election period.
“Monyane Moleleki should be talking about how his party intends to develop Lesotho and not spreading falsehoods,” he said.
“It’s a shameful thing for such unfounded accusations to be made against His Majesty’s cabinet ministers. Ntate Moleleki is just jealous because he doesn’t have a meaningful following in his party.”
Meanwhile, the Federation of Women in Law (FIDA), a civic group which works to protect women’s rights, said cases of women being pressured into sexual relationships at the workplace were commonplace.
FIDA Programmes Coordinator Thusoana Ntlama told this paper some of the women ended up settling out of court for fear of reprisals.
“We do have such cases and most of them go unreported because the victims fear reprisals while some have settled out of court. It is an issue that worries us a lot, especially in relation to women in leadership positions,” said Ms Ntlama.
“It is unfortunate and sad that even the educated women, who should be independent, are subjected to degrading treatment at the workplace.”
She said FIDA recently conducted a campaign in collaboration with a Canadian organisation in Quthing district in which they found that cases of men using their positions of authority to demand sex from women were rampant.