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Commissioners fired



MASERU – A radio station owner, Mohau Kobile, who resisted pressure to dismiss his presenter has paid the price after he was fired by the government. Kobile was working as a local government commissioner. He told thepost this week that he could have saved his job if he had agreed to fire his Tšenolo FM current affairs anchor Ralikonelo Joki who is critical of the government. Kobile, who has always been associated with the Alliance of Democrats (AD), has now obtained a High Court interim order reinstating him to his job pending finalisation of his unfair dismissal case. The Commission’s chairman, Sello Maphalla, has also been shown the door for demanding the return of a car from a commissioner whose contract had expired. Maphalla, a stalwart of the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, says this is an internal political strife “and I will not allow it to happen”. The duo has been expelled by Minister Lehlohonolo Moramotse, to whom they were answerable in terms of the Local Government Act of 2005. Kobile said he received his letter requiring him to give reasons why he could not be fired last Thursday and was kicked out of office on Monday. Maphalla received a similar letter on Friday night. Kobile said they were “expelled for no reason as we were asking for a government vehicle that is in the wrong hands”. The commissioner in question is Kefeletsoe Mojela whose contract expired on May 31. They alleged that Mojela was still using the government’s car. Maphalla said Mojela herself wrote the minister asking for an extension of her contract but her letter was never responded to “and I myself notified my boss the minister about this and I was ignored”. Long after the expiry of Mojela’s contract the commission’s secretary approached Maphalla and notified him that the transport officer was asking about the car. “We sat down as the commission and resolved to write Mojela asking her to return the car because she was no longer a commissioner,” Maphalla said. “To my shock, the Minister is now coming saying the commission does not own cars but they belong to the ministry and therefore I was not supposed to demand the car from Mojela,” he said. Maphalla said he did not agree with his boss. “I would be the one to answer questions from the DCEO and the PAC, not the minister,” Maphalla said. “I would not agree and I still do not agree,” he said. “I perfectly know where this is coming from. It doesn’t spring here, it is a political warfare and I will fight it.” He said he has since discovered that while he was writing a letter answering why he could not be fired, the minister was busy replacing him with a new chairman. “I have since been replaced,” he said. Kobile said his only sin is his refusal to fire Joki from Tšenolo FM. “My job at the commission had nothing to do with what a presenter at a private radio station was doing. That station would fire Joki itself if it finds him misbehaving,” Kobile said. “A Local Government Commissioner does not have any role to play in the affairs of a privately owned radio station,” he said. “They are saying I should expel him, but the radio belongs to the people, not me, I will not expel him. People who want me to expel Joki should provide me with evidence of the wrongs he did as a presenter.” Moramotse said he did not have time to respond to questions posed by thepost. Nkheli Liphoto

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