DEMOCRATIC Congress (DC) leader and former prime minister Pakalitha Mosisili fired a broadside at Prime Minister Thomas Thabane accusing him of abusing his authority to ensure that the First Lady enjoyed unfettered powers in the awarding of government tenders.
Speaking at a weekend in Ha Mamathe in the Berea district, Dr Mosisili said Dr Thabane fired the then minister of health, Nyapane Kaya and his Public Works and Transport counterpart Lehlohonolo Moramotse to pave way for his wife to exercise control in the awarding of lucrative tenders in those ministries.
Although Dr Mosisili did not mention Ms Thabane by name as referred to Dr Thabane’s “dear one” at the rally, the DC chairperson, Motlalentoa Letsosa, subsequently told this publication that he was referring to the First Lady.
“It is very clear that Ntate Mosisili are talking about the First Lady and you can quote me he meant Ms Thabane,” Mr Letsosa said.
Messrs Kaya and Letsosa were sacked in February this year and replaced with Nkaku Kabi and Maliehe Prince Maliehe respectively. Prior to the dismissal, Dr Thabane had indicated that he would soon get rid of some ministers who were either corrupt or failed to discharge their mandate.
But on Sunday, Dr Mosisili told his supporters that Dr Thabane only fired the duo to clear the way for the First Lady to have the final say in the awarding of tenders at the two ministries.
“The Prime Minister fired two ministers barely a year into the tenure of the current regime on the grounds that there were corrupt elements in his cabinet,” Dr Mosisili said.
“Were these people (Messrs Kaya and Letsosa) indeed corrupt? No, he fired them because they were heading ministries which have potentially lucrative tenders.
“There are several lucrative catering tenders at the Ministry of Health and so the Prime Minister had to fire Kaya to ensure that his dear one has excessive powers and influence on the awarding of such tenders. I refuse to believe that Kaya was that corrupt. Even Moramotse was not corrupt and he was just unfortunate in that he didn’t fit in the big plan of awarding road construction tenders worth millions to the Chinese nationals,” Dr Mosisili added.
The former premier questioned Dr Thabane’s decision to engage Xie Yan, a naturalised Mosotho of Chinese descent, as his economic adviser.
Dr Mosisili accused Dr Thabane of filling crucial government positions with foreigners of questionable backgrounds.
He said Dr Thabane and Mr Yan were solely to blame for the ongoing dispute between the government and the wool and mohair farmers over the new regulations which made it mandatory for all wool and mohair to be exported to international markets from Lesotho. Over many years, farmers have had their wool and mohair exported from South Africa on their behalf by South African brokers BKB.
Dr Mosisili’s claims were denied by the Prime Minister’s Press Attaché, Thabo Thakalekoala, who said in any event, the premier had the prerogative to hire and fire ministers.
“The fact that Ntate Mosisili is a former prime minister does not give him any right to question the decisions of the prime minister. He (Mosisili) fired ministers during his tenure and Ntate Thabane never questioned his decisions.
“It surprises us that Ntate Mosisili knows the premier’s reasons for firing the ministers. He must join the ruling All Basotho convention ABC if he wants to have a say in the issues relating to the current administration,” Mr Thakalekoala said.