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Billy Ntaote

Maseru, Lesotho
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About Billy
Billy Ntaote is a journalist based in Maseru, Lesotho.
Investigative Journalism Fact Checking
Politics Fact Checking

Lesotho government to tackle poverty to ensure stability

05 Apr 2023  |  Sunday Express
Lesotho's Foreign Affairs Minister Tlohang Sekhamane addressed the issue of periodic instability in the country, attributing it to poverty and unemployment, especially among the youth. Speaking at a Development for Peace Education (DPE) memorial dialogue, he emphasized the coalition government's commitment to tackling these issues as part of their broader objectives to restore peace, political stability, deepen democracy, and respect human rights. The government's plans include graduating from the Least Developed Country status, implementing security reforms, and increasing citizen participation in governance. These efforts align with the Vision 2020, National Strategic Development Plan, Africa Peer Review Mechanism, and the government’s Coalition Agreement programme.

Exiled ABC leader also wants the regional bloc to assume control of the police while Lesotho undergoes radical reform process

27 Mar 2023  |  Lesotho Times
Thomas Thabane, the exiled leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), has urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to assume command of Lesotho's army and police during a period of proposed radical political and security reforms. At a press conference in South Africa, Thabane emphasized the need for an inclusive reform process, referencing the 1998 Interim Political Authority as a model. He highlighted the necessity of ending the problematic relationship between the Lesotho Defence Force and the government to ensure credible reforms. Thabane also discussed the challenges faced by Lesotho's first coalition government and the need for constitutional and institutional reforms to address issues such as the misuse of the Proportional Representation electoral model and Senate seats. He called for international support from the African Union, United Nations, and Commonwealth, and stressed the importance of addressing the root causes of conflict to achieve lasting peace and stability in Lesotho.

Challenge damns Lesotho water project

20 Apr 2018  |  mg.co.za
The Polihali Dam project in Lesotho, crucial for increasing water supply to Gauteng, faces potential delays due to a legal challenge by the Consortium of Lesotho Contractors. The consortium alleges that the tender process favors South African companies, violating a bilateral treaty between Lesotho and South Africa. They have petitioned the Lesotho High Court to halt the awarding of contracts and to reformulate procurement guidelines. The project, part of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, has already experienced delays, pushing its completion from 2020 to 2025.

Published on Sep 1, 2016 In part two of VOA’s Billy Ntaote’s interview with Lesotho’s trade and industry minister, they discuss the lack of rule of law and allegations of violations of human rights in the southern African nation.

Published on Sep 1, 2016 AGOA or the African Growth and Opportunity Act encourages Us-Africa trades. Lesotho is one of those countries that benefits from AGOA and VOA's Billy Ntaote spoke with Lesotho's Minister of Trade and Industry on AGOA's impact on the country.

A SENIOR United States envoy has commended Lesotho’s efforts to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic through its adoption of a “Test and Treat” strategy aimed at ensuring that every person who tests positive for HIV is given immediate treatment. In an exclusive interview with the Lesotho Times yesterday, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the initiative would address what is not only a Lesotho problem but a regional problem of high HIV/AIDS prevalence. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield was in Lesotho for a two-day visit from Tuesday as part of a regional tour which also included Namibia and South Africa. During her visit, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield toured the Khubetsoana Health Centre that provides HIV services with support from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation (EGPAF). The health centre was built with the support of the Millennium Challenge Corporation and implements th

THE United States government says the “writing is on the wall” for Lesotho’s eligibility for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) facility and a second compact grant under the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) due to government’s failure to address issues of “impunity and the rule of law”. In an exclusive interview with the Lesotho Times yesterday, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Linda Thomas-Greenfield said Lesotho fell short of numerous governance benchmarks for the renewal of trade preferences under AGOA and a second compact grant under the MCC. AGOA gives duty-free and quota-free access to the US market to eligible Sub-Saharan African countries including Lesotho. The legislation, which was approved by the US Congress in May 2000 is meant to incentivise African countries to open their economies and build free markets.

Lesotho Pins Hopes on AGOA Renewal for Economic Growth

12 Aug 2016  |  Voice of America
The article discusses Lesotho's reliance on the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for economic support and its anticipation for the renewal of its eligibility by the United States. Esther Githui-Ewart from VOA hosts Billy Ntaote, a Mandela Washington Fellow and a journalist from Lesotho, to provide more insight into the matter. The discussion likely revolves around the implications of AGOA for Lesotho's economy and the country's future prospects in light of this trade legislation.

SADC report calls for Kamoli’s dismissal

08 Aug 2016  |  Lesotho Times
The SADC Commission of Inquiry report has recommended the dismissal of Lesotho Defence Force commander Lieutenant-General Tlali Kamoli to restore trust in the military among the Basotho people. The report, led by Justice Mpaphi Phumaphi, investigates the circumstances surrounding the death of former LDF commander Maaparankoe Mahao and other issues such as alleged mutiny, killings, and kidnappings. It criticizes the conduct of the LDF under Kamoli's command and suggests that his reinstatement led to further divisions and instability. The report also highlights the LDF's refusal to cooperate with police investigations and the politicization of the security sector. Recommendations include Kamoli's dismissal, suspension of LDF officers implicated in serious crimes, and a review of the constitution to address the overlapping mandates of security institutions. Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has stated that the government will selectively implement recommendations, casting doubt on the full adoption of the report's suggestions.

Shock new claims against Ramodibedi Swaziland's judicial body says Michael Ramodibedi threatened to shoot police if they tried to arrest him. The disgraced former chief justice of Swaziland, Michael Ramodibedi (70), threatened to shoot policemen if they tried to arrest him on charges of defeating the ends of justice and roped in another senior judge to cancel a warrant for his arrest, a report by the Swazi Judicial Service Commission (JSC) has revealed. At the time he issued the threat, Ramodibedi had barricaded himself in his Mbabane house to avoid arrest. He remained there for 38 days, before charges were dropped and he was allowed to leave Swaziland without facing prosecution.

Ex-Finance Minister warns against using reserves to cover deficit

26 Feb 2016  |  Lesotho Times
Dr Leketekete Ketso, a former finance minister, has cautioned the Lesotho government against using its foreign currency reserves to cover a budget deficit, as it could negatively impact investor confidence and make borrowing more difficult. During a review of the 2016/2017 national budget, Dr Ketso highlighted the challenges posed by the decline in revenues from the Southern African Customs Union and stressed the importance of fiscal adjustment to maintain macro-fiscal stability. The budget, presented by Finance Minister Dr 'Mamphono Khaketla, showed a shortfall that the government plans to cover through various means, including drawing from the country's US$600 million reserve fund. Dr Ketso advised against this, suggesting it could lead to economic turmoil and difficulty in government borrowing.

Government offers LHWC boss M6 million to leave

28 Jan 2016  |  Lesotho Times
The Lesotho government has offered Charles Putsoane, the Chief Delegate of the Lesotho Highlands Water Commission (LHWC), a M6 million exit package to leave his position before his contract ends in March 2017. Putsoane has until the following day to decide on the offer, which was increased from a previous M5 million. The LHWC, a major infrastructure partnership between Lesotho and South Africa, is responsible for the Lesotho Highlands Water Project. Efforts to remove Putsoane began under the previous government and have continued under the current administration, with accusations of incompetence and insubordination. Putsoane, who has a long history with the LHWP, has sued Rethabile Mosisili for attempting to dismiss him unfairly. Mosisili has denied ambitions for Putsoane's position but is open to considering it if offered.

Southern Africa Development Community mission police were brought in to watch over elections.

23 Sep 2015  |  The Mail & Guardian
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) advanced Lesotho's elections to February from 2017 to help stabilize the political situation. However, the killing of former Lesotho Defence Force chief, Lieutenant General Maaparankoe Mahao, by LDF members has highlighted ongoing security issues. A SADC commission of inquiry, led by Botswana judge Mpaphi Phumaphi, was established to investigate the disturbances. The commission's focus includes the controversial demotions and promotions within the LDF, Mahao's death, and an alleged mutiny plot. Lesotho's government and opposition have clashed over the commission's terms of reference, with the government accused of trying to obstruct the commission's work. The LDF, under Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli, has threatened non-cooperation, particularly on matters related to the mutiny. The commission's effectiveness is in doubt, given the government's history of disregarding SADC recommendations and the prime minister's control over the publication of the commission's report.

Lesotho’s Highlands Water Project

27 Aug 2015  |  The Mail & Guardian
Masupha Sole, a senior official in Lesotho who was previously jailed for corruption related to the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, is under investigation again. Despite objections from South Africa, Sole was reappointed as an adviser to the project after his release in 2011. South Africa's former water minister, Edna Molewa, demanded his removal due to concerns about raising international loan finance. The current investigation focuses on the R1.6-million salary Sole received for advisory services and the procurement and funding of his services. Lesotho attempted to pay his salary from the budget of the bilateral commission, mainly funded by South Africa, and later sought treasury approval to redirect funds from the project. The anticorruption directorate is investigating the consultancy services provided by Sole, with allegations of his influence over government decisions and close ties to the prime minister's son and King Letsie III.

‘Soft landing’ for disgraced judge Ramodibedi

13 Jul 2015  |  mg.co.za
In Lesotho, there is speculation that Michael Ramodibedi, who was dismissed as Swaziland's chief justice and faced impeachment in Lesotho, might be reinstated as the president of Lesotho's Court of Appeal. The legal community in Lesotho opposes any such move. Ramodibedi's dismissal in Swaziland was recommended by the Judicial Service Commission and followed an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission. Lesotho's foreign minister, Tlohang Sekhamane, made statements suggesting a 'soft landing' for Ramodibedi, and it is believed that the Lesotho government facilitated his safe return from Swaziland. The current president of the Court of Appeal, Kananelo Mosito, and the president of the Lesotho Law Society, Shale Shale, have expressed that they are either unaware of or would resist Ramodibedi's reinstatement.

SADC slammed for 'elections only' approach to crises

16 Feb 2015  |  Sunday Express
Boichoko Ditlhake, the Executive Director of SADC-CNGO, criticized the Southern African Development Community (SADC) for its standard approach of prescribing elections to resolve crises in member states without addressing the underlying socio-economic issues. During a pre-elections assessment mission in Lesotho, Ditlhake highlighted concerns over the security situation and divisions between the army and police. He emphasized the need for SADC facilitator Cyril Ramaphosa to address these issues before the upcoming snap elections in Lesotho. Ditlhake also noted the readiness of stakeholders for the elections despite the short preparation time and called for SADC to implement a long-term plan for security sector reform and to maintain a presence in Lesotho post-election to ensure stability. He urged political parties to respect electoral accords and the electorate's will.

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