EX-MINISTER KAYA SUSPENDED
Governing coalition says it will not tolerate ill-discipline
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.