We have in the past written extensively on the practice of government ministers doing business with the state, emphasising that this practice smacks of a conflict of interest frowned upon by every governance manual available.
First it was ministers being awarded tenders to provide certain services to the government. Now, the procurement tribunal has instructed the minister of agriculture and food security to lift a suspension of a tender to manage the national abattoir.
It is not exactly clear why the tender was suspended in the first place, but sources privy to the ministry claim there are attempts to award the tender to the son of one of the individuals at the apex of government.
Some define personal conflict of interest as a situation in which a covered employee has a financial interest, personal activity, or relationship that could impair their ability to act impartially and in the best interest of the government when performing under the contract.
It is worth noting that ‘employees’ in this regard includes, and puts emphasis on government ministers.
We will be keeping a close eye on how the story unfolds.
In the meantime, we would like to remind those in power that they promised Basotho a clean governance and that is why the people voted for them. They deserve that much.
We hope our ministers will always bear this in mind when their companies provide services to government. They may call it ‘sponsoring’ or ‘donating’, but we are watching you. As the cliché goes, every dog has its day. The day will come when you will have to answer for your misdeeds.