Lesotho: Majoro Appoints New Principal Secretaries

PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro has appointed new principal secretaries (PSs) whose names will be announced tomorrow, the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Kemiso Mosenene, has said.

Since assuming power on 20 May 2020, Dr Majoro has moved to replace some of the government officials appointed by the former premier, Thomas Thabane, to assert his own authority.

This has set him on a collision path with some of the PSs appointed by Mr Thabane. Some like 'Mabotle Damane (Communications, Science and Technology) and 'Maseithati Mabeleng (Forestry, Range and Soil Conservation) have filed a High Court application to stop the premier from removing them from office.

At least 20 legislators from Dr Majoro's own All Basotho Convention (ABC) party are said to be plotting to bring down the government in anger over what they say is the "systematic purging" of Mr Thabane's appointees from the government.

However, the backlash has not stopped Dr Majoro from making changes to the government ministries.

Mr Mosenene yesterday told the Lesotho Times that processes to appoint new PSs began on Monday and appointees' names will be announced tomorrow.

"I can confirm that the Honourable Prime Minister has appointed new principal secretaries and their names will be announced on Friday (tomorrow)," Mr Mosenene said.

"I will not reveal their names now. You can call me on Friday for that information but I can tell you that the appointees have started receiving their appointment letters," Mr Mosenene said.

He said some of the PSs engaged by Mr Thabane had been rehired. He however, said the government did not recognise the renewal of some the PSs' contracts by Mr Thabane a month before he was forced to step down.

In all, Mr Thabane renewed the contracts of eight PSs, namely, Ms Damane, Ms Mabeleng, Mothabathe Hlalele (Public Works), Nthoateng Lebona (Finance), Motena Tšolo (Development Planning), Malefetsane Nchaka (Water), Tšeliso Lesenya (Communications, Science and Technology) and Khothatso Tšooana (Health).

However, Mr Mosenene insisted that the renewals of the eight PSs' contracts was not valid.

"Like I said to you before (on 27 July 2020), there are processes to be followed when a PS's contract has expired. You do not just wake up in the morning, write someone a letter of renewal without following due processes," Mr Mosenene said.

He made similar remarks after Ms Damane and Mabeleng filed a High Court application to stop Dr Majoro from removing them from office.

Ms Damane and Mabeleng argue that their contracts are valid until 2023. This after the contracts were allegedly renewed by Mr Thabane for another three years in April 2020.

"They (Damane and Mabeleng) have done the right thing by going to court because the court will pronounce itself on the legality of these renewal letters. It is good for everyone grieving about something to approach the courts for interpretation. The courts will determine who is in the wrong between the employer and the employee on this matter.

"The government strongly feels that the contracts were renewed irregularly. I will not go into details of these irregularities because doing so will expose our defence in the courts but I can boldly tell you that government has strong defence on this matter," Mr Mosenene said.

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