‘Maserib­ane preaches unity

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

Ba­soTho Na­tional Party ( BNP) leader Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane says his party would be preach­ing unity as it cam­paigns for support ahead of next year’s gen­eral elec­tion.

Le­sotho holds an early elec­tion on 28 Fe­bru­ary after the coali­tion gov­ern­ment com­pris­ing the BNP, all Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (aBC) and Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) which came to power in June 2012, failed to com­plete its full five-year term due to per­sis­tent bick­er­ing by the lead­er­ship.

how­ever, Chief ‘ Maserib­ane be­lieves by urg­ing Ba­sotho to unite de­spite their per­sonal dif­fer­ences, the BNP would boost its support base and do bet­ter come electionday. The BNP failed to win any of the 80 con­stituen­cies con­tested dur­ing the 26 May 2012 elec­tion, but gar­nered five Pro­por­tional Rep­re­sen­ta­tion (PR) seats, which earned the party a place in the tri­par­tite gov­ern­ment.

Chief ‘Maserib­ane, who spoke to the Le­sotho Times on the side-lines of Tues­day’s memo­rial in Maseru of 42 Le­sotho and south african cit­i­zens who were mas­sa­cred in 1982 by apartheid south african forces, said the com­mem­o­ra­tion was a re­minder of the im­por­tance of unity among na­tions, hence the BNP’s decision to make unity its elec­tion­cam­paign theme.

“To­day we see the need for unity among Ba­sotho and na­tions in gen­eral, and the need for rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, es­pe­cially after suf­fer­ing at the hands of our own peo­ple we have been in the coali­tion gov­ern­ment with. some of us have been vic­tims of some un­ruly el­e­ments within the Le­sotho De­fence Force (LDF) who were be­ing sup­ported by cer­tain LCD lead­ers we were in gov­ern­ment with.

“The south african Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion was very im­por­tant to­wards bring­ing clo­sure to those who were op­pressed dur­ing the apartheid era and peo­ple who lost their loved ones, and we also need such a process in our coun­try. We need par­ties com­mit­ted to bring­ing unity among Ba­sotho to be in of­fice,” said Chief ‘Maserib­ane.

The BNP leader, who is also the Min­is­ter of Gen­der, Youth, sports and Recre­ation, fur­ther said the coun­try can­not fo­cus on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment when it con­tin­ues to grap­ple with se­cu­rity and po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity is­sues, hence the im­por­tance of the spirit of to­geth­er­ness.

“We, in the BNP, have al­ready started our elec­tion cam­paigns with a mes­sage that Le­sotho should be a united coun­try and must not regress to po­lit­i­cal con­flicts that sow seeds of di­vi­sion through na­tion­al­ist and congress ide­o­log­i­cal dif­fer­ences.

“We want to see our peo­ple rec­on­ciled and Ba­sotho be­ing a united na­tion and not a coun­try torn apart by congress and na­tion­al­ist party pol­i­tics. how­ever, we also need to see the rule of law be­ing ob­served by ev­ery­one for our unity to be­come stronger and for growth and de­vel­op­ment to ex­ist in our so­ci­ety.

“There are no in­vestors who would be in­ter­ested to go to a coun­try torn apart by lack of rule of law. Crim­i­nals should be brought to jus­tice so that we can grow as a na­tion. This means there should be sub­mis­sion to civil­ian au­thor­ity by ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing the army, and not this law­less­ness we see to­day in our so­ci­ety due to cor­rupt politi­cians,” Chief ‘Maserib­ane said.

The BNP leader fur­ther said he would be among the first peo­ple to tes­tify be­fore a Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion if such a move would unite Ba­sotho.

“It is clear that on au­gust 30, there was a coup at­tempt by some peo­ple within the LDF. You can’t im­mo­bilise the po­lice and in­ter­fere with their in­ves­ti­ga­tions by de­stroy­ing dock­ets of crim­i­nal cases for no ap­par­ent rea­son, and this is what hap­pened when the army at­tacked three po­lice sta­tions in Maseru on this day.

“Some of had to flee the coun­try and seek refuge in south africa be­cause of the law­less­ness of that week­end, and we re­main un­der for­eign guard to this day.

“Fol­low­ing south africa’s Truth and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Com­mis­sion, we saw peo­ple be­ing sued and oth­ers let off the hook be­cause they had shown re­morse and re­vealed ev­ery crime they had com­mit­ted. We also need that here in Le­sotho and as the BNP, we are pre­pared to go all out and call for such a Com­mis­sion to en­sure last­ing unity among our peo­ple. hope­fully, those who were re­spon­si­bil­ity for th­ese at­tacks will con­fess to their crimes when such a tri­bunal is es­tab­lished to en­sure clo­sure for those who are still trau­ma­tised by the at­tacks, which left one po­lice­man dead”

asked if his party’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the coali­tion gov­ern­ment had made any dif­fer­ence, Chief ‘Maserib­ane said: “We con­trib­uted to the elec­tri­fi­ca­tion pro­gramme that is on­go­ing as we speak in cer­tain dis­tricts; we saw progress on the Le­sotho high­lands Wa­ter Project Phase II and Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma fi­nally came here from south africa to join our King in launch­ing the Poli­hali project early this year.

“We con­trib­uted im­mensely to women eman­ci­pa­tion through de­vel­op­ment projects that are also on-go­ing across the coun­try and we see in­vestors are now in­ter­ested in com­ing to invest their funds in such projects, which are mostly poul­try, pig­gery and tai­lor­ing. We also have an agree­ment with the south african sports min­istry to col­lab­o­rate in the de- vel­op­ment of sport in Le­sotho,” he said.

“again, our party was very vo­cal in con­demn­ing cor­rupt ten­den­cies in the pub­lic ser­vice, and we will con­tinue call­ing for those who are cor­rupt to be brought to book.

“We can­not have more than 300 000 or­phans and vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren who are poverty-stricken and go to bed hun­gry and with­out know­ing whether or not they would get a meal the next day. The rea­son why this is the case is due to politi­cians who cor­ruptly use state re­sources for their own per­sonal gains.”

Politi­cians, he added, were denying chil­dren their rights due to cor­rup­tion and the plun­der of state re­sources that should have been used to de­velop the coun­try for the ben­e­fit of Ba­sotho at large.

“I was quite trou­bled when a decision was re­cently taken to sus­pend the prin­ci­pal sec- re­tary in the Min­istry of Fi­nance (Mos­ito Khethisa) who was be­ing charged with and ac­cused of cor­rup­tion.

“The disturbing thing was not the sus­pen­sion, but com­plaints by some of our coali­tion part­ners, who ar­gued that the decision to take such ac­tion was wrong. We don’t need such be­hav­iour es­pe­cially when there is a crim­i­nal case that is on-go­ing be­fore the courts. We need to sus­pend such peo­ple and keep them away from the pub­lic purse, un­til they have been cleared of any wrong­do­ing by the courts,” said Chief ‘Maserib­ane.

The BNP leader in­sisted his party would, apart from preach­ing unity and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, be firm on the need to curb cor­rup­tion and en­sure any­one charged with cor­rup­tion is not al­lowed to oc­cupy pub­lic of­fice un­til he or she has been cleared by the courts of law.

Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) leader Chief th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane.

south african high Com­mis­sioner Rev har­ris Ma­jeke puts a wreath dur­ing the 1982 De­cem­ber 9 Maseru Mas­sacre re­mem­brance at sea Point Ceme­tery on tues­day.

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