‘Cab­i­net reshuf­fle A mas­ter­stroke’

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

TUES­DAY’S cab­i­net reshuf­fle is a “smart” po­lit­i­cal move by Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili to “crush” the Liru­rubele fac­tion Demo­cratic Con­gress (DC), led by its deputy leader Monyane Moleleki, an­a­lysts have ob­served.

Dr Mo­sisili is leader of the DC, but fac­tion­al­ism within the main party in the seven-mem­ber coali­tion gov­ern­ment has in­ten­si­fied to the ex­tent that two dis­tinct fac­tions have emerged.

Dubbed Lithope (girl­friends) and Liru­rubele (but­ter­flies), the two DC fac­tions are aligned to Dr Mo­sisili and Mr Moleleki re­spec­tively.

An­a­lysts who spoke to the Le­sotho Times this week,ek, say Dr Mo­sisili’s move was mainly nly mo­ti­vated by the ten­sion within the DC, among other fac­tors.

Dr Mo­sisili purgedged or de­moted min­is­ters aligned to the DC’S Liru­rubeleru­rubele fac­tion. Mr Moleleki eki was shuf­fled from the Min­istry of Po­lice and Pub­lic ic Safety to the Prime Min­is­ter’sster’s Of­fice, which the an­a­lyst­slysts said was a move by the pre­mier to “rel­e­gate” and “fix” the DC deputy leader and his fol­low­ers.

The min­is­ters who were given their march­ing rch­ing or­ders were Ka­belo elo Mar­ufa (Forestry and Land Recla­ma­tion), Dr Ma­hali Phamotse (Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing), Thabiso Litšiba (Small Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment, Co­op­er­a­tives and Mar­ket­ing) and Agri­cul­ture and Food Se­cu­rity Deputy Min­is­ter Dr ‘Mamosa Mo­lapo.

For­mer Minis- ter in the Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice, Kimetso Mathaba, was re­de­ployed to the Min­istry of Wa­ter. For­mer Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, Tlo­hang Sekhamane, was swapped with his coun­ter­part for­mer Min­is­ter of Fi­nance ’Mam­phono Khaketla.

And the for­mer Law, Hu­man Rights and Con­sti­tu­tional Af­fairs Min­is­ter Mot­la­len­toa Let­sosa was reap­pointed Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing Min­is­ter, while for­mer En­ergy and Me­te­o­rol­ogy Min­is­ter Se­libe Mo­choboroane re­placed Mr Litšiba in the Min­istry of Small Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment, Co­op­er­a­tives and Mar­ket­ing.

The for­mer Wa­ter Min­is­ter Ralechate ’Mokose was also re­de­ployed Min­is­ter of Forestry and Land Rec Recla­ma­tion. The for­mer Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy Min­is­ter Khotso Let­satsi re­places Mr Mo­choboroane in the En­ergy and Me­te­o­rol­ogy Min­istry.

And for­mer deputy min­is­ters, Phal­lang Monare and Mokhele Mo- let­sane, of Home Af­fairs and Pub­lic Works and Trans­port re­spec­tively, have been pro­moted min­is­ters of po­lice and law re­spec­tively.

Newly-ap­pointed min­is­ters and deputy min­is­ters are Se­ri­a­long Qoo (Com­mu­ni­ca­tions), Tuma­hole Ler­afa (Agri­cul­ture), Lethu­sang Kompi (Home Af­fairs) and ’Man­thabiseng Phohleli (Pub­lic Works).

The Trans­for­ma­tion Re­source Cen­ter’s Tsikoane Peshoane said Dr Mo­sisili had “out­smarted” Mr Moleleki by ap­ply­ing a “di­vide and con­quer” tac­tic within the Liru­rubele fac­tion.

“You see Ntate Mo­sisili has dis­missed min­is­ters per­ceived to be fol­low­ers of Ntate Moleleki. But he also ap­pointed new min­is­ters who also from the same fac­tion and pro­moted a deputy min­is­ter who was also per­ceived to be aligned to Ntate Moleleki,” he said.

“Even though it is his (Dr Mo­sisili) pre­rog­a­tive, the prime min­is­ter used the reshuf­fling in a smart move to re­act to con­tro­versy within the DC. Ac­tu­ally, the is­sue of reshuf­fling lies mostly with the is­sue of loy­alty. He dis­missed min­is­ters he knew were not loyal to him and his gov­ern­ment. The reshuf­fling ab­so­lutely can­not be at­trib­uted to per­for­mance or any pro­fes­sional in­di­ca­tors, but loy­alty.”

Mr Peshoane was how­ever quick to warn that Dr Mo­sisili’s move could also ac­cel­er­ate con­flicts in the DC “be­cause it does not give space for the party’s is­sues to be di­a­logued and re­solved”.

“Rather, the move per­pe­trates an on­slaught be­tween the two war­ring fac­tions.”

For Mr Moleleki to re­sus­ci­tate, Mr Peshoane said “the only op­tion” he had was to re­sign from the cab­i­net and pull out his fac­tion from the coali­tion gov­ern­ment “so that he leaves no doubt to his sup­port­ers that he is re­ally de­ter­mined to fight on.”

The Le­sotho Non-gov­ern­men­tal Or­gan­i­sa­tion’s Sekonyela Mapetja, on the other hand, said the Tues­day’s reshuf­fle was “ob­scured.”

“While we an­tic­i­pate that a cab­i­net reshuf­fle should be based on per­for­mance, it looks like this one was meant to at­tain per­sonal gain. It comes just around the same time the prime min­is­ter ad­mit­ted there are di­vi­sions within his party,” he said.

“Look­ing at the reshuf­fle, you can no­tice that it was in­flu­enced by the di­vi­sions within his party be­cause he has fired min­is­ters in the Moleleki fac­tion to dis­lodge the group. Ob­vi­ously that’s what ev­ery politi­cian in his po­si­tion would do. But un­for­tu­nately that’s putting per­sonal in­ter­ests be­fore na­tional in­ter­ests.”

Mr Mapetja em­pha­sised the reshuf­fling was due to po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences within the DC, ar­gu­ing “for in­stance he re­de­ployed Mr Moleleki to the min­istry that does not have a port­fo­lio”.

“We want to see whether he will let him have full con­trol over the de­part­ments of Na­tional Aids Com­mis­sion (NAC) and Dis­as­ter Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity ( DMA) which fall un­der the min­istry.”

Mr Mapetja said the big ques­tion was whether Dr Mo­sisili’s move solved is­sues or it was es­ca­lat­ing the squab­ble within the DC. On bal­ance of power, he said, “I would say the prime min­is­ter has hained po­lit­i­cal mileage against Mr Moleleki.”

He said: “Ntate Mo­sisili is now wait­ing; once they (Liru­rubele) budge he is ready to crush them. The DC youth league com­mit­tee is prob­a­bly the next vic­tim if they budge. He can in­flu­ence his con­stituen­cies to pass a vote of no con­fi­dence against the youth league com­mit­tee which ob­vi­ously sides with the deputy leader. This he will do not nec­es­sar­ily do with in­ten­tion for the vote of no con­fi­dence to suc­cess, but just to shake the party’s foun­da­tions and keep frus­trat­ing Mr Moleleki fac­tion.”

Other than budg­ing, Mr Mapetja said Mr Moleleki’s fac­tion was vul­ner­a­ble “be­cause his group is de­pen­dent on the op­po­si­tion par­ties”. “That is how Liru­rubele are cor­nered. It is even dif­fi­cult for them to even re­sort to the party’s Na­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC) to call for any dis­ci­plinary ac­tion against Ntate Mo­sisili,” he said.

“Ntate Mo­sisili and his fac­tion have played their game smarter in ad­vance be­cause even in the party’s re­cent lead­er­ship con­fer­ence, they re­solved not to call for a spe­cial con­fer­ence which Mr Moleleki’s fac­tion could use to in­sti­gate any dis­ci­plinary mea­sures against Ntate Mo­sisili.”

For his part Na­tional Univer­sity of Le­sotho’s Pro­fes­sor Kopano Makoa in­di­cated that other than the con­flicts within the DC, the reshuf­fling was also done by Dr Mo­sisili to “avoid se­ri­ous ac­cu­sa­tions of cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions against his gov­ern­ment.”

“For a long time, Ntate Mo­sisili’s gov­ern­ment turned a blind eye on se­ri­ous cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions lev­eled against his gov­ern­ment. This both­ered the na­tion. This is the first reshuf­fling of this mag­ni­tude since the past 20 years they have been in gov­ern­ment.”

The reshuf­fle, Pro­fes­sor Makoa said, could not have taken place had it not been “be­cause of the pres­sure of the cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions”.

“So in a way, the prime min­is­ter and his gov­ern­ment have come to ad­mit that they are in­deed cor­rupt through this reshuf­fle. It is a strat­egy to save some min­is­ters from the cor­rup­tion ac­cu­sa­tions. This is how the prime min­is­ter re­acts to the cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions.”

Pro­fes­sor Makoa, how­ever, begged to dif­fer with the view Dr Mo­sisili made po­lit­i­cal mileage through the reshuf­fle ar­gu­ing: “Like I said, he has added fuel to the fire. His op­po­nents are go­ing to want to re­tal­i­ate soon­est.”

Min­is­ter In THE PRIME Min­is­ter’s OF­FICE Monyane Moleleki.

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