PM’S ad­vi­sors squab­ble

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

TWO of Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili’s clos­est aides are al­legedly at log­ger­heads over their lines of re­spon­si­bil­ity re­sult­ing in a frosty work­ing re­la­tion­ship.

Au­thor­i­ta­tive sources said re­la­tions be­tween the Prime Min­is­ter’s Se­nior Pri­vate Sec­re­tary (SPS) Mamello Mor­ri­son, who has on sev­eral oc­ca­sions been ac­cused by op­po­si­tion par­ties of med­dling in is­sues that fall out­side her man­date, and the premier’s po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sor, Dr Fako Likoti, had de­gen­er­ated markedly over their lines of work.

Dr Likoti is said to be en­raged that Ms Mor­ri­son tends to assume too much power and seeks to di­rect the Dr Mo­sisili on is­sues that he should han­dle while Ms Mor­ri­son is said to be doubt­ful of Dr Likoti’s com­pe­tence.

The two have nev­er­the­less ve­he­mently de­nied the al­le­ga­tions in sep­a­rate in­ter­views.

“‘ M’e Mor­ri­son wants the best for her boss Ntate Mo­sisili and would prob­a­bly die for him. She (Ms Mor­ri­son) thinks that peo­ple like Dr Likoti don’t give it their all and she is not afraid to make de­ci­sions that she thinks will en­hance the Prime Min­is­ter’s agenda even if she steps on the toes of oth­ers....she gets an­gry when things are not done well for the PM. She is also very flu­ent. Just as an ex­am­ple, she got en­raged dur­ing one in­stance in­volv­ing a speech that Dr Likoti wrote for the PM which she felt was not up to scratch…..,” said a source, who pre­ferred anonymity.

Ms Mor­ri­son said she only acts within the scope of her job de­scrip­tion, ad­ding her du­ties and those of Dr Likoti were worlds apart, leav­ing no room for any con­flict.

“I am the chief ad­min­is­tra­tor in the PM’S of­fice and Likoti is just an ad­vi­sor to the PM, so there is hardly any room for us to have con­flict un­less our in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the word ‘ad­min­is­tra­tion’ means two dif­fer­ent things. I am wholly re­spon­si­ble for the PM’S com­mu­ni­ca­tions and I don’t see a rea­son why there should be con­flict be­tween us.”

Ms Mor­ri­son availed her job de­scrip­tion when asked by the Le­sotho Times, say­ing she did not mind if it was availed for pub­lic con­sump­tion to help ex­plain her role in light of the mis­con­cep­tions and ac­cu­sa­tions she faced when re­spond­ing on be­half of the premier.

Civic groups who or­ga­nized a march to Dr Mo­sisili’s of­fices to de­mand the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the rec­om­men­da­tions of a SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry re­port be­came irate when Ms Mor­ri­son re­sponded to them, dis­miss­ing her as a ju­nior and de­mand­ing that their con­cerns be ad­dressed by the prime min­is­ter or any other se­nior of­fi­cials.

How­ever, Ms Mor­ri­son’s job de­scrip­tion, as seen and in­ter­preted by the Le­sotho Times, con­firms her as a very key fig­ure in the PM’S of­fice and op­po­si­tion party per­cep­tions that she should just be a typ­ist are roundly wrong.

Ac­cord­ing to her job de­scrip­tion, the main pur­pose of her job is to as­sist the PM “to achieve his man­date by for­mu­lat­ing de­vel­op­men­tal pro­grams, in­ter­pret­ing rel­e­vant poli­cies and fol­low-up their ap­pli­ca­tion, pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice and over­see­ing the op­er­a­tional ef­fec­tive­ness of the PM’S of­fice.”

Ms Mor­ri­son also has the obli­ga­tion to at­tend min­is­te­rial man­age­ment meet­ings to record progress on planned out­comes. She fur­ther “screens re­quests for meet­ings with the PM, writes let­ters and re­sponds to cor­re­spon­dence as di­rected by the PM him­self.”

She also has to over­see and con­trol ex­pend- iture and ef­fi­cient use of re­sources.

“This could be one of the rea­sons why her re­la­tions with Dr Likoti are no longer healthy,” said an­other source.

“‘ M’e Mor­ri­son is def­i­nitely not a typ­ist. She is the equiv­a­lent of chief of staff in the White House (the of­fice of the pres­i­dent of the United States). The po­si­tion of chief of staff in the US is the most pow­er­ful ad­min­is­tra­tive po­si­tion for the US pres­i­dent. So why should the op­po­si­tion and civic groups get of­fended if ‘M’e Mor­ri­son writes to them on be­half of the PM. Her voice is as good as the PM’S.

“Also by def­i­ni­tion, she is far more se­nior to Dr Likoti. She can set the agenda for the PM while Dr Likoti can only ad­vice and his ad­vice can be re­jected….. In fact, when the Prime Min­is­ter walks into his of­fice, he inevitably in­ter­faces with ‘M’e Mor­ri­son first be­fore any­one else…… Ntate Mo­sisili can­not per­form his func­tions with­out her whereas he can go for weeks or months with­out speak­ing to Dr Likoti and it makes no dif­fer­ence….the prob­lem is that she is a wo­man and chau­vin­is­tic at­ti­tudes play a part.”

Other sources said Dr Likoti felt that he was more se­nior, more ed­u­cated and more so­phis­ti­cated and felt un­der­mined by ‘M’e Mor­ri­son and would rather avoid her if he can.

“The prob­lem for him (Dr Likoti) is that, just like any­one else need­ing ac­cess to the PM, he can­not com­pletely avoid her….she is the gate­keeper….she has the right to ad­vice the PM on who to go with on what type of trip and she can even rightly select the del­e­ga­tion her­self be­cause her job al­lows her to do that……. ”

At some point, the sources said, Dr Likoti went be­hind Ms Mor­ri­son’s back to de­mand that his name be put back on a list of a del­e­ga­tion that was go­ing on a trip with the PM, after it had been re­moved by Ms Mor­ri­son. A source said Dr Likoti was also be­ing ac­cused of leak­ing con­fi­den­tial in­for­ma­tion to the me­dia. “At one point there was a let­ter that was leaked to some me­dia peo­ple and this cost some­one their job,” said the source.

How­ever when con­tacted for com­ment, an irate Dr Likoti de­nied all al­le­ga­tions lev­elled against him. He also re­fused to give us his job de­scrip­tion so that we can make mean­ing of his role in the PM’S of­fice. “I will not give you my job de­scrip­tion it’s not meant for pub­lic con­sump­tion, and please note that I’m not a civil ser­vant.”

Dr Likoti also flatly re­jected all sug­ges­tions of a bit­ter re­la­tion­ship be­tween him and Ms Mor­ri­son.

“She (Ms Mor­ri­son) is my mother, she helped me out a lot while I was still a po­lice re­cruit and I re­spect her for that. Th­ese are all un­founded al­le­ga­tions…..we work to­gether well and we serve the same boss and want the best for our boss. Your story is noth­ing but a phish­ing fish­ing ex­pe­di­tion.”

He also de­nied sug­ges­tions that he had leaked any in­for­ma­tion to the me­dia say­ing such al­le­ga­tions were the rea­sons he hated speak­ing to the me­dia. “Th­ese are some of the things that make me hate speak­ing to the me­dia and I know noth­ing about this leak­age that you are re­fer­ring to.”

PM’S Po­lit­i­cal Ad­vi­sor Dr Fako Likoti.

PM’S Se­nior Pri­vate Sec­re­tary Mamello Moris­son.

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