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ABC must manage its deployees’



Last week the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) CEO, Mohato Seleke, who is a friend of mine, contested his removal from office after a three-year stint. Seleke filed an urgent High Court application challenging his dismissal. He argues that the LNDC board of directors had renewed his contract only for the Minister of Trade to change that decision. I wish to argue in this article that Seleke’s decision to contest his ouster is in bad faith. I am also aware that it is his constitutional right to approach courts of law if he wants redress. However, his political party the All Basotho Convention (ABC) must hasten to remind him that he is a mere deployee and as a deployee, he must simply comply when he is recalled. Seleke must respect the current coalition government. The LNDC is a parastatal under the Ministry of Trade, a Democratic Congress (DC)-led ministry. When ministries were allocated the ABC knew that the DC would not renew Seleke’s contract. Thus, it is not fair to expect the DC to work with Seleke who was appointed during Thomas Thabane’s administration. The Ministry of Trade was under the ABC in the last coalition government. It was only natural that the DC would replace Seleke in favor of a candidate of their own. The general trend is that there are no shared ministries in this coalition and the party that holds a particular portfolio has sole control over it and all entities related to it. This creates a scenario in which the public can effectively interrogate the performance of each Ministry and know who to attribute the blunders and feats of each ministry. Furthermore, this eliminates the prospect of conflicts within a ministry that could come as a result of differing party agendas. In my opinion Seleke’s contract renewal was an intentional and calculated move and I doubt the board that renewed it did so because of the terrific job he was doing at the LNDC. It was deliberate that he and the board that was appointed by the ABC chose to extend his contract even though it was known that they were all meant to leave. However good his performance may have been, good results happen in a conducive environment. Seleke working in a DC ministry, especially a DC that does not believe he should be there, is bound to cause conflict that will otherwise impede productivity in the ministry. I don’t therefore see the logic behind this extension and I wonder whether it was done because they believed it would do the country any good or because they deemed Seleke irreplaceable. Believe me he is not irreplaceable. The DC will find a candidate who is as qualified and as capable as him. It is also astounding that the ABC, which is the biggest party within the coalition, would want to advance their influence within a ministry that was not assigned to them. This is not the first in this administration that those affiliated to the ABC have been reluctant to vacate positions that ought to be controlled by the DC. First, we saw several Principal Secretaries, the likes of ‘Maseithati Mabeleng and ‘Mabotle Damane, who both refused to leave office when their contracts expired. We also saw the former Home Affairs PS Nonkululeko Zaly resist the revocation of her appointment in the ministry. The question is: What have these people left in these offices that they can’t let go and why is passing the baton such a problem? In my opinion, even if these individuals are justified in disputing the revocation of their contracts, it should be the ABC’s responsibility to deal with their pleas instead of costing the government time and money. Zaly’s case raised eyebrows and it caused commotion amongst the coalition partners. Home Affairs Minister Motlalentoa Letsosa even went to the extent of barring Zaly from entering her office. Letsosa’s actions were brought on by the fact the ABC had agreed to the terms of the coalition agreement that each ministry would work with candidates of their choice. However, the ABC seems to have a problem firing their own to clear the way for appointees chosen by the DC in DC run ministries. I don’t know if this trend by the ABC is an agenda against the DC or it is rooted in the ABC’s infighting. It baffles me how come the ABC cannot sensitise their members of the coalition agreement and reach a consensus with them by deploying them elsewhere instead of causing trouble in the coalition. I also think this issue can cause irreparable damage to the coalition government. This coalition was set up with the purpose of rectifying the problems of the last ABC-led coalition government. This was envisioned as a partnership between two of the country’s biggest parties who have been traditional archrivals for the good of the country. It would be a pity if this attempt could be jeopardised by pettiness and selfishness. We should also take into consideration the fragility of coalition governments Lesotho, with three coalition governments having collapsed in the space of the last eight years. Ramahooana matlosa

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