Steve Mputi, the chairperson of the ruling Revolution for Prosperity (RFP)â€™s parliamentary caucus, has strongly refuted claims made by dismissed Members of Parliament (MPs) from the party, alleging that Prime Minister Sam Matekane has been encouraging RFP MPs to seek government tenders.
During a press conference on Wednesday, three MPs – Dr. Mahali Phamotse of Matlakeng constituency, Kobeli Letlailane of Lithoteng, and Jacob Makhalanyane of Abia constituency â€“ asserted that some RFP MPs had already secured government contracts.
â€œAs the chairperson of the caucus, I am entirely unaware of these allegations. I cannot identify a single MP who has been granted a government tender. If these claims were valid, we could all establish our own companies to engage with the government. This is entirely new information to me, and I have no knowledge of it,â€ stated Mputi.
He also firmly denied the allegation that Matekane encourages RFP MPs to pursue government contracts during caucus meetings, emphasising that such a directive would only sow division within the party.
Phamotse, Letlailane, and Makhalanyane were recently expelled from the RFP for insubordination. After disagreeing with some of the RFPâ€™s decisions, the trio was expelled from the ruling party and is now contesting the expulsion in the High Court.
Makhalanyane alleged that government tenders were being awarded to RFP MPs and Ministers, a practice he deemed contrary to the partyâ€™s original manifesto presented to their supporters leading up to the October 7, 2022 National Assembly General Elections, in which the RFP secured 56 seats.
“There are nine individuals in the Prime Minister’s office whom he desires to be hired, despite lacking the necessary qualifications”
Makhalanyane revealed that discussions within the RFP Executive Committee had concluded that the practice of awarding tenders to party MPs and ministers should cease, but it appears that this decision was not upheld.
â€œIt is improper for MPs to engage in business with the government, as we have an unfair advantage due to our proximity to these opportunities compared to the public,” he argued. “We promised RFP supporters during the campaigns that we would put an end to this practice, but unfortunately, it has not been implemented.â€
He continued: â€œThere are nine individuals in the Prime Minister’s office whom he desires to be hired, despite lacking the necessary qualifications. They have been working at the office for a year without legal employment status, including his Press AttachÃ© and the Prime Ministerâ€™s sister.â€
Furthermore, he emphasised that this matter was also deliberated in the partyâ€™s caucus but remains unresolved. The Public Service Commission has rejected these individuals more than five times, citing their lack of qualifications, Makhalanyane claimed.
â€œTo this day, the Prime Minister insists that they should be hired. Last week, he summoned all Public Service Commissioners and warned them that he would take action to dismiss them if they refused to hire these individuals.â€
Phamotse added that the party has strayed from its original philosophy, failing to follow through on promises to reduce the M5000 petrol allowances for Members of Parliament.
She also pointed out that the RFP pledged to eliminate bias in the recruitment of government officials and prioritise meritocracy, but this commitment has not been honored.
â€œWe were taken aback by the opaque appointments to the Lesotho Electricity Company (LEC) board and the appointment of the Public Service Commissionerâ€™s daughter-in-law as head of the Lesotho Housing and Land Development Corporation without adherence to standard employment procedures,â€ she noted.
Phamotse reaffirmed that they remain RFP members and will continue to do so until the court reaches a verdict on their case.