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Gvt targets embassies

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

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Bongiwe Zihlangu

THE government has begun probing Lesotho’s foreign missions as part of its promise to foster good governance and rein in state spending on unnecessary institutions.

In line with this commitment, the Foreign Affairs and International Relations ministry has instructed all heads of Lesotho’s diplomatic missions to justify the existence of their missions under their watch. They have been asked to explain how Lesotho benefits from their missions, outline their challenges as well as demonstrate how their plans align with the government’s vision as articulated by new Prime Minister Sam Matekane in his 20-point plan of action for his first 100 days in office.

The ministry’s principal secretary (PS), Thabo Motoko, made the demands in his 16 November 2022 circular to the heads of diplomatic missions. The circular is titled: ‘Briefing of the Honourable Minister on the Mission Operational Plans and Achievements’.

PS Motoko had indicated that he needed the information by Friday 18 November 2022. He had said the information was required ahead of the mission heads’ meeting with foreign affairs minister, Mpotjoane Lejone, which had been slated for Monday. PS Motoko and Mr Lejone were unreachable on their mobile phones to shed light on the planned meeting and its outcomes.

In his circular, PS Motoko had written, “In preparation for the briefing with the Honourable Minister on Monday 21 November 2022, all Heads of Mission are directed to submit the following information: justification of the existence of the mission, the benefit analysis of each mission detailing in full, the benefits to the country accruing from the mission’s presence in the countries and organisations of accreditation.

“The analysis should include the challenges encountered and recommended solutions.”

In his speech to parliament last week, His Majesty, King Letsie III spoke of the need for the National University of Lesotho (NUL) to introduce courses on diplomacy to produce a new breed of civil servants and diplomats with the requisite diplomatic skills to better serve national interests.

“The wish of government is for NUL to one day establish a Foreign Service Institute. As government, we have observed that our country needs public servants who are knowledgeable on diplomacy and accomplished enough to secure benefits for Lesotho when they are posted to foreign missions,” His Majesty said.