Axed health min­is­ter says gvt has failed to tackle cor­rup­tion

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

RUL­ING All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion leg­is­la­tor and former Health Min­is­ter Nya­pane Kaya has come out guns blaz­ing, at­tack­ing the gov­ern­ment for reneg­ing on its promises to up­root cor­rup­tion.

Mr Kaya this week told the Le­sotho Times 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 said that it would not be easy to elim­i­nate cor­rup­tion be­cause of what he de­scribed as the many hyp­ocrites in the gov­ern­ment. Mr Kaya said he was not afraid of any con­se­quences or dis­ci­plinary ac­tion from his party. He vowed he would con­tinue speak­ing out against the fail­ures of his party and the gov­ern­ment. He re­jected any sug­ges­tions that he was sulk­ing af­ter he was fired from his post in a cabinet reshuf­fle in Fe­bru­ary 2018. He said his fir­ing from his min­is­te­rial post had in fact freed him to serve his coun­try more. He was speak­ing be­cause he gen­uinely be­lieved that his party and its coali­tion part­ners had re­neged on their promises to rid Le­sotho of cor­rup­tion, he said.

Mr Kaya’s com­ments came in the wake of calls by the ABC’S coali­tion part­ner, the Al­liance of Democrats, for the ABC to dis­ci­pline him for “at­tack­ing the AD”. This 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, ad­dressed by its na­tional ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers who in­cluded deputy leader Ntoi Ra­papa, sec­re­tary gen­eral Ma­hali Phamotse, spokesper­son Thuso Litjobo and deputy spokesper­son Manama Let­sie.

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

Well-placed sources this week told the Le­sotho Times that Mr Kaya made the same al­le­ga­tions a fort­night ago at a cau­cus meet­ing of the four gov­ern­ing par­ties, namely the ABC, AD, Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (RCL).

Ad­dress­ing a press con­fer­ence on Tues­day, AD spokesper­son Thuso 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.

Messrs Litjobo and Kaya are PAC mem­bers along­side the chair­per­son, Se­libe Mo­choboroane, Sam Ra­papa, ‘Mat­sepo Ra­makoae, Likopo Ma­hase, Thabo So­fonea (all ABC), Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing (Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy), Mathi­beli Mokhothu and Palo Le­tee­tee (Demo­cratic Congress).

“We (Litjobo and Kaya) are both PAC mem­bers and the PAC agreed that we should not let our party af­fil­i­a­tions cloud our pro­ceed­ings but when the PAC is dragged into pol­i­tics, I will re­move my suit, put on my party re­galia and de­fend my party against those at­tack­ing it,” Mr Litjobo said.

“Some of the mem­bers of par­lia­ment at­tack­ing the AD are PAC mem­bers and we are go­ing to stop them do­ing that, the gloves are now off. These MPS are frus­trated in their own po­lit­i­cal par­ties and are now vent­ing out on the AD. Kaya is one of those peo­ple and he must stop at­tack­ing the AD. Kaya is not speak­ing on be­half of ABC,” Mr Litjobo charged.

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 Face­book 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-tha­bane 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.

Com­ment­ing on the al­leged at­tacks by Mr Kaya on the AD and its leader, Mr Litjobo, on Tues­day said, “It is in his (Mr Kaya’s) favour that he be stopped from do­ing this”.

AD deputy spokesper­son, Manama Let­sie, also said “the ABC should im­me­di­ately dis­ci­pline Kaya”.

The AD deputy leader, Ntoi Ra­papa, said Dr Tha­bane’s de­ci­sion to axe Mr Kaya from the cabinet was an in­di­ca­tion that there was “some­thing wrong” with the ex-min­is­ter.

“Some­one (Mr Kaya) is given a re­spon­si­bil­ity as a min­is­ter and gets fired within 12 months of his ap­point­ment. That is an in­di­ca­tion that there is some­thing wrong with him. AD sup­ports the PAC and those found want­ing by the PAC should be brought be­fore the courts of law. AD will con­tinue to sup­port this gov­ern­ment un­til 2022,” Prof Ra­papa said.

ABC spokesper­son, Tefo Mape­sela, said yes­ter­day the party would call Mr Kaya to or­der “by telling him to stop do­ing what they (the AD) are say­ing he is do­ing”.

On his part, Mr Kaya said he was not scared of any dis­ci­plinary mea­sures that the ABC might take against him. He said he stood ready to see if the ABC would re­nege on its promises to up­root cor­rup­tion and in­stead dis­ci­pline him for his ef­forts to prac­tice what his party preaches.

“I am not frus­trated at all within the ABC. The only frus­tra­tion I have is the re­al­i­sa­tion that the gov­ern­ment which was elected into power for its promises to up­root cor­rup­tion is no longer prac­tic­ing what it preached.

“We are no longer singing the same song when it comes to is­sues of cor­rup­tion and that is frus­trat­ing me. I now see it is not easy to up­root cor­rup­tion be­cause not ev­ery­one in gov­ern­ment is swim­ming in the same boat, some of us are hyp­ocrites.

“Be­sides this frus­tra­tion, I don’t know of any other frus­tra­tions. Be­ing fired from a min­is­te­rial po­si­tion didn’t frus­trate me; it made me freer to serve this coun­try.”

Mr Kaya also won­dered whether some of his party col­leagues had been silent on the sub­ject of cor­rup­tion out of the need to pro­tect the gov­ern­ing al­liance.

“I am just won­der­ing if my col­leagues are silent on the is­sues of cor­rup­tion sim­ply be­cause they want to keep the al­liance and if that is the case, I strongly op­pose it be­cause I will not con­done cor­rup­tion sim­ply to keep and pro­tect al­liances,” Mr Kaya said

Mr Kaya, an ABC leg­is­la­tor for the Mechachane con­stituency, 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 told this pub­li­ca­tion 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.

Former Health min­is­ter Nya­pane Kaya

Former Health min­is­ter Nya­pane Kaya

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