Speaker snubs Thabane

MASERU — The Speaker of the National Assembly Nthloi Motsamai has rejected a request by Thomas Thabane to replace his constituency secretary.

A constituency secretary is an official appointed by parliament to co-ordinate activities between the constituency and parliament.

The secretary works directly with the constituency’s MP.

Thabane, who leads the main opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, wrote to Motsamai notifying her that he was replacing  his constituency secretary Lerato Mochochonono.

In a letter dated September 29 2010, Thabane said he wanted to terminate Mochochonono’s contract and replace her with someone else.

He did not provide reasons for the move.

In the letter Thabane informed Motsamai that he had appointed a new constituency secretary, ‘Makhauta Francina Taole.

“I humbly wish to inform your office that Ms ‘Makhauta Francina Taole (Passport-no RA587500) is the new Abia constituency secretary with effect from 01/10/2010,” reads Thabane’s letter.

Sources at the National Assembly told the Lesotho Times this week that Thabane’s request to replace the secretary was rejected after consultation with parliament’s legal advisers.

An internal memo seen by this paper says Thabane’s attempt to appoint a new constituency secretary was in violation of Lesotho’s labour laws, in particular the Labour Code of 1992.

According to the advisory, Thabane should have first provided credible reasons why the secretary no longer qualified for the position.

“Disposing of Lerato Mochochonono is therefore in contravention of the provisions of the labour law,” says the advisory.

The advisory further says Mochochonono’s position is fixed and will therefore “not be terminated”.

Motsamai was further advised to ignore Thabane’s letter.

Sources at the National Assembly said Motsamai had since advised Thabane of the decision.

Attempts to get comment from Thabane failed yesterday as his mobile phone was on voicemail.

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