Tha­bane mulls cab­i­net shake-up

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Staff Re­porters

Prime min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane is mulling down­siz­ing his cab­i­net soon after to­mor­row’s dis­so­lu­tion of par­lia­ment, the Le­sotho Times has learnt.

A highly-placed source yes­ter­day told the Le­sotho Times that a gazette to an­nounce the shakeup was “al­ready in the works”, but was re­luc­tant to re­veal the names of the min­is­ters to be af­fected by the planned re­struc­tur­ing.

Dr Tha­bane would head a care­taker gov­ern­ment after to­mor­row’s dis­so­lu­tion of the leg­is­la­ture un­til a new ad­min­is­tra­tion is in­stalled after the Fe­bru­ary 2015 snap elec­tion.

The All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) leader cur­rently heads a coali­tion gov­ern­ment which also com­prises the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) and Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) led by Deputy Prime min­is­ter mo­th­etjoa mets­ing and Sports min­is­ter Th­e­sele ‘maserib­ane, re­spec­tively.

The three par­ties, which formed gov­ern­ment after the 26 may 2012 elec­tion had pro­duced a hung par­lia­ment, share 23 min­istries ac­cord­ing to their num­ber of seats in the Na­tional Assem­bly.

How­ever, after fail­ing to re­solve their dif­fer­ences prompted by Dr Tha­bane’s al­leged fail­ure to con­sult his fel­low lead­ers when mak­ing key gov­er­nance de­ci­sions, par­lia­ment had to be dis­solved and a new elec­tion called.

The dis­so­lu­tion, which was fa­cil­i­tated by the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC), takes place to­mor­row, paving the way for a three-month care­taker gov­ern­ment to be led by Dr Tha­bane.

“it’s only nat­u­ral for the prime min­is­ter to reshuf­fle his cab­i­net dur­ing the tran­si­tional pe­riod and there’s noth­ing wrong with it,” the source said, adding the new-look cab­i­net is ex­pected to be un­veiled next week “bar­ring un­fore­seen com­pli­ca­tions”.

Another im­pec­ca­ble source told the Le- sotho Times that Dr Tha­bane had al­legedly planned to reshuf­fle his cab­i­net to­mor­row but was ad­vised by South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity ( SADC) Fa­cil­i­ta­tor to Le­sotho, Cyril ramaphosa “to wait un­til next week”.

“Ramaphosa was here this week and learnt that Tha­bane planned to reshuf­fle cab­i­net, and was not in the least im­pressed,” the source said.

“The South African Deputy Pres­i­dent left strict in­struc­tions that no ma­jor de­ci­sions should be made un­til he re­turns to Le­sotho on Tues­day next week. When he re­turns, ramaphosa is ex­pected to dis­cuss with Tha­bane how the gov­ern­ment should op­er­ate lead­ing to the elec­tion, and this reshuf­fle which is ex­pected to see almost half the min­is­ters be­ing fired.”

Con­tacted for com­ment, Gov­ern­ment Sec­re­tary moahloli mphaka, said he had heard the “ru­mors” but was not aware of a planned cab­i­net reshuf­fle. How­ever, Mr Mphaka said if the reshuf­fled hap­pened “it would be noth­ing out of the or­di­nary”.

“As far as i know, there are no plans to reshuf­fle cab­i­net, but the PM can ad­vice the King to re­duce it if there is need,” mr mphaka said.

“The prime min­is­ter, as the head of the in­com­ing care­taker gov­ern­ment, can reshuf­fle or down­size his cab­i­net be­cause he re­mains Pm as per the con­sti­tu­tion.”

Asked if the Pm would make de­ci­sions alone or in con­sul­ta­tion with his coali­tion gov­ern­ment part­ners, mr mphaka said noth­ing could stop Dr Tha­bane from mak­ing de­ci­sions “be­cause he is Pm un­der the con­sti­tu­tion”.

“The coun­try’s con­sti­tu­tion will al­ways su­per­sede any sub­or­di­nate law and the Pm’s pow­ers can­not be al­tered un­til such a time that it is done by way of con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment,” mr mphaka said.

mean­while, lo­cal lawyer Ad­vo­cate Tekane maqakachane, yes­ter­day told the Le­sotho Times that if Dr Tha­bane was in­deed con­tem­plat­ing a cab­i­net reshuf­fle “there would be noth­ing wrong with it”.

“Ac­cord­ing to the con­sti­tu­tion, he re­mains the head of gov­ern­ment even within the con­text of a care­taker gov­ern­ment,” Ad­vo­cate maqakachane said.

“it’s his pre­rog­a­tive to ap­point and re­move min­is­ters dur­ing this pe­riod. That right is not taken away by the fact that we’re in a tran­si­tional phase.”

Prime min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane.

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