‘Maseribane preaches unity
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.