Home NewsLocal News Tempers flare in cabinet

Tempers flare in cabinet

by Lesotho Times


…as Mochoboroane, Mokhosi face disciplinary action for ‘disrespecting King Letsie III’ 

Billy Ntaote

Lesotho’s first cabinet meeting in more than two months nearly ended in a brawl after one of the ministers had called for disciplinary action to be taken against two “colleagues” for disrespecting King Letsie III.

The meeting, which was held on Tuesday this week, saw the feuding coalition government ministers coming together for the first time since early August.

According to three cabinet members who spoke to the Lesotho Times on condition of anonymity, the meeting was nearly aborted midway after one minister had said Communications Minister Selibe Mochoboroane and his Energy counterpart, Tšeliso Mokhosi, should face disciplinary action for “openly challenging the promotion of Brigadier Maaparankoe Mahao to Lieutenant General and Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander and the dismissal of Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli as LDF Commander.”

The promotion and dismissal were done by King Letsie III on 29 August 2014, on the advice of Prime Minister and All Basotho Convention (ABC)leader  Thomas Thabane, but the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) led by Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing has since rejected the pronouncements.

Mr Mochoboroane and Mr Mokhosi are LCD Acting Spokesperson and Acting Secretary General respectively, and have been voicing their opposition to the moves on behalf of their party.

One of the ministers said: “The meeting was really heated, and nearly degenerated into a fistfight after the minister said Mochoboroane and Mokhosi had committed the ultimate sin by criticising a decision taken by His Majesty.

“The under-fire ministers received support from their LCD colleagues, while ABC and BNP ministers were very vocal that Mr Mochoboroane and Mr Mokhosi should be punished.

“Sanity finally prevailed after an agreement was reached that the two ministers should face disciplinary action.”

Contacted for comment, Basotho National Party (BNP) leader, Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane confirmed Tuesday’s heated exchanges, adding: “We have been assigned by cabinet to take disciplinary action against those ministers who disrespected the King. Ministers take oath of office and owe their allegiance to His Majesty, but some have been disrespecting the King.

“A minister can’t do this no-matter the pressure he or she is under.  That is totally inexcusable, and why we have been tasked to deal with those ministers”.

Chief ‘Maseribane said despite his differences with his fellow coalition government partners, Mr Metsing continues to be respectful in his interaction with “everyone”.

Asked what disciplinary measures the ministers could face, Chief ‘Maseribane said the constitution was clear that the powers to discipline such officials were vested in the premier.

“We are not the founders of this constitution; it was already in place when we formed the coalition government (in June 2012). So we will be working on how best to address the concerns raised by the ministers over the behaviour of their colleagues over the past weeks,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.

Attempts by the Lesotho Times to get hold of the ministers in question were fruitless.

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