Why the youth should vote in the elections
ELSEWHERE in this edition, Government Secretary Moahloli Mphaka has revealed that the issue of the four Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) members allegedly arrested in South Africa while on a mission to “finish off” their two colleagues hospitalised in Bloemfontein was not discussed in the meeting between coalition government leaders and South African President Jacob Zuma.
This revelation is surprising considering the seriousness of these allegations which Acting Communications Minister Joang Molapo made following the gun battle that ensued a fortnight ago.
The shootout, which took place near the Royal Palace, claimed the life of a private security guard, Mohau Qobete, who was on duty at the nearby Ministry of Education and Training head-office.
Two of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s bodyguards were also shot and wounded in the melee and have since been recovering in a hospital in Bloemfontein.
Chief Molapo had claimed last Friday that the four LDF officers had been arrested by South African police before they could neutralise Dr Thabane’s bodyguards, although South African police are yet to confirm the reports.
Said Chief Molapo: “The would-be-assassins were heavily armed when the South African police caught them at the Bloemfontein hospital where the two soldiers were being treated. We expect the suspects are going to appear in the South African courts soon.”
However, the issue’s conspicuous absence from the agenda of the meeting between Mr Zuma and the coalition government leaders speaks volumes considering its seriousness. The meeting had been attended by Mr Zuma’s deputy, Cyril Ramaphosa, All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Deputy Prime Minister Mothejoa Metsing, and Basotho National Party (BNP) leader Thesele ‘Maseribane and other senior South African government officials.
To put the allegations into context, in 2010 the South African government recalled its ambassador to Rwanda following a diplomatic fallout over the assassination attempt of General Faustin Kayumba Nyamwasa, a critic and rival of the east African country’s President Paul Kagame.
Frankly, it sounds more like a storyline from a Hollywood blockbuster than anything the LDF could conjure up. If the LDF had indeed sent assassins to Bloemfontein, it would be an unprecedented move on their part with dire consequences on the perpetrators.
However, Chief Molapo has been accused of milking the shooting at the Royal Palace for all its worth in a bid to delay the 28 February election.
He submitted a report to the African Union Summit held in Ethiopia on behalf of the ABC and BNP side of government which cast aspersions on the readiness of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to hold credible elections only weeks before Basotho decide on their next leaders.
Meanwhile, Mr Metsing has come out strongly in dismissing Chief Molapo’s story of the LDF assassins, saying it was a ploy by the ABC-BNP alliance to postpone the elections.
Ultimately, it is as clear as day that the road to elections is now irreversible, and cannot be derailed at this stage given what is at stake.
The country has been hogging the limelight for the wrong reasons in recent years and regressing economically while the rest of the southern Africa region, bar a few, is registering growth.
The perpetual instability which has left Lesotho many a time on the brink of civil war needs to end to ensure this country’s economic and social advancement. Added to this, government departments have been virtually on a standstill as politicians have been busy canvassing for votes to the detriment of service delivery.
And while our coalition government has been shuttling from pillar to post in their never ending squabbles, Lesotho overtook Botswana in having the second highest HIV/AIDS infection rate, with Swaziland taking the ignoble prize.
Our leaders owe it to this nation to be good stewards of the reins of power and do their utmost to ensure the political crisis that has bedevilled this nation becomes a thing of the past. IN every nook and cranny of the country, the images of party leaders and their manifestos have been hoisted on the billboards as part of the 28 February 2015 election campaign.
The streets are bustling with young people talking about elections; be it be on social media or youths’ hang out spots or even in public transport.
However, there is still a percentage of the youth which does not believe in voting and, instead, takes voting as a boring exercise best reserved for elderly people and idle minds.
Nonetheless, the very same young people are the ones who complain that the government is not delivering on its promises.
So, isn’t it time that the youth woke up an elected the government of their own choice?
Many young people today complain that they will never vote as politicians are just ponzi-schemers hiding behind the so-called representative democracy.
Although there might be an element of truth to this, apathy should not be an option, as by not voting, the youth are actually giving away votes to the wrong party which will then win leaving them to continue complaining about poor service delivery time and again.
Considering the fact that the youth constitutes about 34.8 percent of the approximately two million people in Lesotho, it should also be borne in mind that the youth unemployment rate is 34 percent in a country where the people below the poverty datum line constitute a massive 57.3 percent.
Added to this, the HIV prevalence rate is 23.2 percent (the second highest in the world); it would be expected of the youth to be on the forefront of debates during the election season so that they vote for the government of their choice.
Over the years, there has been a consistent group of youths who have been voting in every election but still complain that they do not see any change.
Although it is sad but ultimately true, some of them may have been self- ishly voting alone and needlessly holding on to the past.
So what if the youth of today can mobilise their families, neighbours, friends and strangers? Wouldn’t that make the party of their choice win and subsequently attain their desired results?
Some youths may even argue that they are not paid anything after voting but there is no bigger payment than voting for the party of your choice which subsequently achieves what you aspire and hope for.
Judging by the dynamic way our education has evolved to become, and the manner in which the youth can access information, it is safe to assume that once the party of their choice is in power, young people can ensure their elders keep their promises of good service delivery.
Even when the government goes off track in terms of what it promised to do, the youth can be the ones to put it back on the right track since it would be an administration they would have voted into power.
Politically inactive as some youths maybe, the fact that we all need the government of the day to deliver services will always remain and we therefore need to vote in our numbers.
The youth also need to bear in mind that the strategies employed today can be implemented tomorrow, which will be either affecting us positively or negatively in our twilight years.
As they say that the power of life and death is in the tongue, the socio-economic progress of this nation and the ability to take it to new developmental heights lies in the hands of our young people.
To young people I say that the government that delivers all that you dream and aspire for can only become a reality if you take the step to create and nurture it.
Your vote gives you the power but if you decide not to vote, you inadvertently give power and the prerogative to those who stand to go the opposite route to the direction you want the nation to take.
Every single vote counts and it only takes one vote to make the changes we need to make in this country and the bulk of that power lies in the young people.
Also remember that if you don’t vote, you are leaving others you don’t necessarily agree with to vote on your behalf, who might end up making the wrong choice for you.
I, therefore, urge the young and old alike to invite their family, friends, colleagues as well as neighbours so that you can all vote for the government of our choice. Gone are the days when youths were referred to as the leaders of tomorrow. Now we are the leaders of today and we should make the choices that define our future.