Lesotho- Majoro axes ministers

(MENAFN- The Post) MASERU -THERE is chaos in the government after Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro abruptly fired two ministers and reshuffled several others.
Labour Minister Keketso Rantšo and Defence Minister Prince Maliehe received their marching orders yesterday afternoon.

Their dismissal is with immediate effect, which means that they left their offices soon after receiving the letters.
The decision has sent shockwaves among cabinet ministers, with most said to have been caught unawares. It could also have grave implications on the coalition government's numbers in parliament.
Rantso could not be reached for a comment but her personal assistant, Nthakho Monare, confirmed that she was no longer a minister.

Her replacement is understood to be Moshe Leoma who is being elevated from the position of Deputy Minister of Local Government.
Likhetlane MP, Lekhetho Mosito, will replace Maliehe.
Maliehe confirmed his dismissal but said he didn't know the reasons behind the decisions.
Several sources told thepost that he was already mistrusted because of his alleged proximity to the All Basotho Convention (ABC) camp aggressively pushing for Majoro's removal.

Senior officials in the Ministry of Defence however said apart from his political affiliation Maliehe could also have been axed because he has been unwell and is barely in the office.
Some members of the ABC executive committee said the decision might further trim the government's already slim margin in parliament.
Rantso, the leader of the troubled Reformed Congress of Lesotho which was part of the ruling coalition, might throw her one vote with the opposition or another camp in the ABC.

The coalition government can also no longer count on Maliehe's vote in parliament.
Other ABC committee members worry that the decision was ill-timed and could further deepen divisions in the party.
'Now was not the time. Most of us heard about the decision for the first time today,' said a committee member who did not want to be named.

Several other ministers also received their reshuffle letters yesterday.
Communications Minister Thesele 'Maseribane, the leader of the Basotho National Party (BNP), is said to be moving to the Ministry of Small Business Development.
Last night 'Maseribane said he had not received the letter but was told it had been delivered to his office.

But some people close to 'Maseribane told thepost he is aware of the reshuffle and is unhappy because believes the prime minister should have consulted him as one of the coalition leaders.
They also said he also sees the movement from Communications to Small Businesses as a tacit demotion of sorts.

Maseribane will replace Keketso Sello who is understood to be going to the Ministry of Communications.
Health Minister Motlatsi Maqelepo is said to be moving to the Ministry of Forestry, a dreary and significantly less influential ministry.
Maqelepo will be replaced by Semano Sekatle who is moving from the Ministry of Public Service. Sekatle will be replaced by Motlohi Maliehe who is coming from the Ministry of Forestry.

Buddha Moseme, the prime minister's spokesperson, refused to comment on the changes in cabinet.
He however promised to speak today, which is presumably when the Prime Minister is expected to make the official announcement.

Staff Reporter

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