EX-MIN­IS­TER KAYA SUS­PENDED

Gov­ern­ing coali­tion says it will not tol­er­ate ill-dis­ci­pline

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

OUT­SPO­KEN All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) leg­is­la­tor and for­mer Health Min­is­ter, Nya­pane Kaya, has been sus­pended in­def­i­nitely from the joint par­lia­men­tary cau­cus of the four par­ties in the gov­ern­ing coali­tion.

The cau­cus chair­per­son, Sam Ra­papa, said that Mr Kaya was sus­pended for al­legedly re­veal­ing de­tails of the cau­cus meet­ings to the op­po­si­tion.

Mr Kaya is also ac­cused mak­ing “state­ments that were seen as at­tack­ing and em­bar­rass­ing the AD and other mem­bers of par­lia­ment”.

Mr Kaya will how­ever re­main the ABC leg­is­la­tor for the Mechachane con­stituency in the Butha Buthe district.

The cau­cus brings to­gether leg­is­la­tors from the four gov­ern­ing par­ties, namely, Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane’s ABC, Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Monyane Moleleki’s Al­liance of Democrats (AD), Th­e­sele Maserib­ane’s Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) and Labour Min­is­ter Keke Ran­tšo’s Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (RCL).

Mr Kaya has in­creas­ingly be­come very crit­i­cal of the gov­ern­ment. He re­cently told the Sun­day Ex­press’s sis­ter

Le­sotho Times pub­li­ca­tion that he was “frus­trated that the gov­ern­ment which was elected into power for its prom­ises to up­root cor­rup­tion is no longer prac­tic­ing what it preached”.

He fur­ther said that it would not be easy to elim­i­nate cor­rup­tion be­cause of what he de­scribed as the many hyp­ocrites in the gov­ern­ment.

The sus­pen­sion of the leg­is­la­tor comes barely four months af­ter he was fired from his post as Min­is­ter of Health by Dr Tha­bane.

Mr Kaya’s sus­pen­sion was an­nounced at a re­cent press brief­ing which was at­tended by Mr Ra­papa, Likopo Ma­hase and Sekola Le­pota (all ABC leg­is­la­tors), Thuso Litjobo and ‘Mara­pelang Male­fane (both AD) and ‘Ma­pu­lumo Hlao (BNP).

Also in at­ten­dance were Min­ing min­is­ter, Keketso Sello and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment and Chief­taincy, Habo­fa­noe Le­hana (both ABC).

Mr Ra­papa said the cau­cus held an ur­gent meet­ing on Wed­nes­day to dis­cuss is­sues con­cern­ing the re­cent de­vel­op­ments where Mr Kaya “made state­ments that were seen as at­tack­ing and em­bar­rass­ing the AD and other mem­bers of par­lia­ment”.

He said a cau­cus meet­ing which was at­tended by 30 mem­bers in­clud­ing Mr Moleleki and Chief Maserib­ane re­solved to sus­pend Mr Kaya in­def­i­nitely. Mr Ra­papa said Mr Kaya was in­vited to the meet­ing but did not at­tend be­cause he said he was sick.

Com­ment­ing on the cau­cus’s res­o­lu­tion, Mr Ra­papa said, “The joint cau­cus of the four par­ties in the coali­tion gov­ern­ment has reached a de­ci­sion to sus­pend Honourable Kaya from all its sit­tings un­til such a time he has put his af­fairs in or­der and cor­rected his un­ac­cept­able ac­tions”.

He said mem­bers of the cau­cus were ex­pected to main­tain con­fi­den­tial­ity and not to leak de­tails of their meet­ings.

“Now there is a clear in­di­ca­tion that is­sues dis­cussed in the cau­cus meet­ings and pub­lished in the me­dia have been leaked by the Mechachane Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment, Nya­pane Kaya.

“The joint cau­cus has also de­cided that the ABC lead­er­ship and its mem­bers must take the re­spon­si­bil­ity of dis­ci­plin­ing and ad­vis­ing Mr Kaya to im­me­di­ately stop mak­ing the pub­lic state­ments and fol­low proper ad­min­is­tra­tion pro­ce­dures where there are dis­agree­ments,” Mr Ra­papa said.

He how­ever, re­fused to say whether or not it was true that Mr Kaya at­tacked Mr Moleleki dur­ing a cau­cus meet­ing three weeks ago.

“I will not say whether those is­sues are true or not be­cause what­ever is dis­cussed in the meet­ings is se­cret,” Mr Ra­papa said.

Last week, the AD called on the ABC to dis­ci­pline Mr Kaya for “at­tack­ing the AD”. The call was made af­ter the ex-min­is­ter had ac­cused the AD of frus­trat­ing the work of the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee (PAC) by bar­ring it from con­duct­ing hear­ings aimed at hold­ing pub­lic of­fi­cers ac­count­able as part of ef­forts to fight cor­rup­tion.

The AD made the calls at a Tues­day press con­fer­ence which was ad­dressed by its na­tional ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers who in­cluded deputy leader Ntoi Ra­papa, sec­re­tary gen­eral Ma­hali Phamotse and spokesper­son Thuso Litjobo.

Mr Kaya had ear­lier made a state­ment on a lo­cal ra­dio sta­tion in which he ac­cused the AD of block- ing PAC pro­ceed­ings to pro­tect some of its mem­bers from be­ing sum­moned to hear­ings over graft al­le­ga­tions.

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence on Tues­day, Mr Litjobo said Mr Kaya was one of the peo­ple who had pub­licly at­tacked the AD on ra­dio, ac­cus­ing it of frus­trat­ing the im­por­tant work of the PAC. Mr Litjobo fur­ther ac­cused Mr Kaya of leak­ing con­fi­den­tial dis­cus­sions of the gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tors’ cau­cus meet­ing com­prised of leg­is­la­tors from all par­ties in the gov­ern­ing coali­tion. He said no “self-re­spect­ing MP” should ever leak in­for­ma­tion from such meet­ings. He said Mr Kaya’s at­tacks on Mr Moleleki were out of or­der, adding that, “he (Mr Kaya) needs to be stopped now”.

Ac­cord­ing to the sources, Mr Kaya al­legedly at­tacked Mr Moleleki dur­ing the cau­cus meet­ing, ac­cus­ing the AD leader of at­tempt­ing to di­vide the PAC along party lines and seek­ing to pro­tect his al­lies from scru­tiny by the par­lia­men­tary body. This was af­ter Mr Moleleki had raised con­cerns about the PAC pro­ceed­ings.

“In that (cau­cus) meet­ing Ntate Moleleki told the gov­ern­ment leg­is­la­tors that they must tread care­fully on the is­sue of the PAC as (the PAC chair­per­son) Ntate (Se­libe) Mo­choboroane was us­ing it to em­bar­rass peo­ple and act as though he was above the law,” a source said.

“Ntate Moleleki ap­peared deeply dis­turbed by the on­go­ing PAC in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of pub­lic funds, say­ing it was not good for the PAC chair­per­son to con­tinue to em­bar­rass civil ser­vants dur­ing the pro­ceed­ings.”

An­other source said that Mr Moleleki’s re­marks irked ABC leg­is­la­tors, Mot­lohi Maliehe and Mr Kaya him­self. The two in­sisted that there was noth­ing wrong with the PAC tak­ing pub­lic ser­vants to task for abus­ing pub­lic funds.

“Ntate Kaya spoke out and told Ntate Moleleki that he (Moleleki) was only try­ing to pro­tect his al­lies from be­ing em­bar­rassed. (He) Ntate Kaya said that Ntate Moleleki was only seek­ing to pro­tect his al­lies and he was aware of a pic­ture of Ntate Moleleki and Ad­vo­cate Hlahlobo Moruri that the lat­ter had posted to his Fa

ce­book page,” the source said. Adv Moruri is the for­mer As­sis­tant Mas­ter of the High Court. He posted to his

Face­book page, pic­tures of him­self and Mr Moleleki. Adv Moruri re­cently joined hands with the Mas­ter of the High Court ‘Makatleho Ma­tia and Moroesi Tau-Tha- bane to file a court ap­pli­ca­tion seek­ing to bar the PAC from sum­mon­ing them to ap­pear be­fore it. The trio also want the High Court to in­ter­dict the PAC from in­ves­ti­gat­ing or deal­ing with mat­ters re­lated to the Ad­min­is­tra­tion of Es­tates Procla­ma­tion No.19 of 1935.

The trio have al­ready ap­peared be­fore the PAC on 16 and 17 April 2018 to re­spond to al­le­ga­tions that the of­fice of the Mas­ter of the High Court mis­ap­pro­pri­ated funds from the es­tate of the late Molise Mapetla.

Mr Kaya was not reach­able for com­ment on his sus­pen­sion. He served as Min­is­ter of Health at the in­cep­tion of the Thomas Tha­bane-led four party coali­tion gov­ern­ment in June 2017 un­til he was axed in a cab­i­net reshuf­fle in Fe­bru­ary 2018.

He is the sec­ond se­nior ABC mem­ber to sug­gest the ABC had de­vi­ated from its elec­toral prom­ises af­ter the party’s chair­per­son, Mot­lohi Maliehe, launched a blis­ter­ing at­tack on First Lady Mae­sa­iah Tha­bane ac­cus­ing her of ex­ert­ing un­due in­ter­fer­ence in party and gov­ern­ment af­fairs.

Mr Maliehe ac­cused Ms Tha­bane of vi­o­lat­ing the con­sti­tu­tion and “abet­ting cor­rup­tion” by in­sti­gat­ing the re­moval of min­is­ters who re­fused to com­ply with her de­mands.

In­ci­den­tally, Mr Kaya was named by Mr Maliehe as the min­is­ter who was re­moved from his post at the First Lady’s in­sti­ga­tion af­ter he (Mr Kaya) re­fused to un­law­fully award the min­istry’s laun­dry and cater­ing ten­ders to Ms Tha­bane’s pre­ferred can­di­dates.

The ABC has since in­sti­tuted dis­ci­plinary mea­sures against Mr Maliehe who has in­di­cated that he has noth­ing to fear and in­sisted that he stands by all his com­ments.

Sim­i­larly, Mr Kaya has pre­vi­ously told the Le­sotho Times that he was “not scared at all” and he would con­tinue to speak out and fight cor­rup­tion re­gard­less of the sta­tus of the per­son com­mit­ting or con­don­ing it.

“I am not scared at all. I am wait­ing to see what will hap­pen. I am not go­ing any­where. Al­le­ga­tions that I am cross­ing over to Demo­cratic Congress (DC) are just a smear cam­paign or­ches­trated by those who think that peo­ple like me should not speak up against cor­rup­tion,” he said.

How­ever, Mr Ra­papa warned Mr Kaya against fall­ing in the foot­steps of for­mer ABC leg­is­la­tors Lehlo­honolo Tšehlana, Mophato Monyane, Moli­beli Soulo and Tlali Khasu who dumped the party af­ter fall­ing out with its lead­er­ship.

Mr Tšehlana left the ABC to form the Senkatana party, Mr Monyane is now Pro­gres­sive Democrats leader, Mr Khasu is the True Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Unity leader and Mr Soulo is now a mem­ber of the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy.

Mr Ra­papa said the quar­tet’s po­lit­i­cal ca­reers had stalled af­ter they left the ABC.

For his part, Mr Litjobo down­played the in­fight­ing within the cau­cus, say­ing this did not sig­nify that there were cracks within the coali­tion gov­ern­ment which could lead to its col­lapse.

“There are peo­ple who think that the coali­tion gov­ern­ment is on the brink of col­lapse but…the foun­da­tion of this gov­ern­ment is solid and its lead­ers trust each other more than they did when they en­tered into this gov­ern­ment.

“The re­la­tion­ships of the four par­ties are cor­dial and strong…and this is­sue should never been taken to mean that there is bad blood be­tween the AD and ABC. Ntate Kaya is out of or­der,” Mr Litjobo said.

FOR­MER Health Min­is­ter Nya­pane Kaya.

THE joint par­lia­men­tary cau­cus chair­per­son Sam Ra­papa.

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