Mo­sisili vows to avoid Tha­bane’s ‘blun­ders’

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Keiso Mohloboli

PRIME Min­is­ter-elect Pakalitha Mo­sisili says the past two years he was in the op­po­si­tion af­forded him the chance to learn from the “many” blun­ders which were be­ing made by the coali­tion gov­ern­ment led by All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) leader Thomas Tha­bane.

Dr Mo­sisili was elected pre­mier on Wed­nes­day last week by a coali­tion of seven par­ties, namely his Demo­cratic Congress (DC), Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD), Mare­mat­lou Free­dom Party (MFP), Ba­sotho Congress Party ( BCP), Na­tional In­de­pen­dent Party (NIP), Le­sotho Peo­ple’s Congress (LPC) and Popular Front for Democ­racy (PFD).

The nom­i­na­tion fol­lowed the an­nounce­ment of the re­sults of the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 gen­eral elec­tions which once again pro­duced a hung par­lia­ment, and ef­fec­tively ended Le­sotho’s first coali­tion gov­ern­ment.

The DC won 47 of the 120 par­lia­men­tary seats on of­fer, while the ABC clinched 46. Since none of the 23 con­test­ing par­ties won the min­i­mum 61 seats needed to form gov­ern­ment on its own, the “Congress move­ment” banded to­gether and formed gov­ern­ment.

In an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times this week, Dr Mo­sisili said he had watched “closely” the op­er­a­tions of the Dr Tha­bane-led coali­tion gov­ern­ment dur­ing the 33 months he was in the op­po­si­tion, and was tak­ing note of the “many blun­ders” be­ing made in or­der not to re­peat the same mis­takes once he re­claimed the throne he sur­ren­dered in June 2012.

Dr Mo­sisili had been Le­sotho pre­mier since 29 May 1998 when he handed over the reins to an ABC, Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) and Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) al­liance on 8 June 2012 af­ter the DC had failed to win the req­ui­site out­right ma­jor­ity seats to re­main in power.

How­ever, per­sis­tent squab­bling over Dr Tha­bane’s lead­er­ship style led to the col­lapse of the al­liance and a South­ern African Devel­op­ment Com­mu­nity-bro­kered snap elec­tion on 28 Fe­bru­ary, which re­turned Dr Mo­sisili to power.

Ac­cord­ing to the DC leader, he would not al­low his coali­tion gov­ern­ment to col­lapse be­fore com­plet­ing its five-year term be­cause of lessons learnt from Dr Tha­bane.

“First of all, I have learnt from the many gov­er­nance blun­ders made by our first coali­tion gov­ern­ment and prom­ise not to fol­low that route,” said Dr Mo­sisili.

“Ba­sotho should be con­fi­dent that dur­ing my ten­ure, prin­ci­ples which make a coali­tion gov­ern­ment work will be re­spected by all the seven par­ties in the al­liance.

“I be­lieve that trust and re­spect are core el- ements to build­ing a sta­ble coali­tion gov­ern­ment. I am proud and glad to as­sure Ba­sotho that this time, the coali­tion is go­ing to be a suc­cess.”

Dr Mo­sisili added all the part­ners in the coali­tion un­der­stood they needed each other for them to re­main as the ma­jor­ity in par­lia­ment, adding they would not an­tag­o­nise each other un­like the out­go­ing gov­ern­ment.

“In as much as we would be ex­pected to obey the con­sti­tu­tion and rule of law in this coun­try, as part­ners, we should abide by our coali­tion agree­ments and not con­sider them as mere pieces of pa­per,” said the 69-year-old for­mer uni­ver­sity lec­turer.

“We should em­body the say­ing ‘ Ma­hata ‘moho’ which sim­ply means peo­ple who get along in unity.”

On the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion in the coun­try, Dr Mo­sisili said sta­bil­is­ing the Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ser­vice, Le­sotho Cor­rec­tional Ser­vice, Le­sotho De­fence Force and Le­sotho Mounted Po­lice Ser­vice would be a ma­jor pri­or­ity for his gov­ern­ment.

“Sta­bil­ity within the se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tions should be treated as an ur­gent mat­ter im­me­di­ately af­ter our coali­tion of seven par­ties takes over gov­ern­ment (on 17 March 2015 when he is sworn in a pre­mier),” he said.

“We will also not over­look the fact that our public ser­vice needs as­sis­tance to be­come more in­de­pen­dent and pro­fes­sional. Politi­cians come and go but the public ser­vice serves the na­tion.

“Un­der my watch, all the coali­tion part­ners will work to­gether to­wards en­sur­ing the public ser­vice re­mains apo­lit­i­cal.”

Asked what his gov­ern­ment would do to com­bat cor­rup­tion, Dr Mo­sisili said no leader could be proud of lead­ing an immoral gov­ern­ment, as­sur­ing Ba­sotho the Di­rec­torate on Cor­rup­tion and Eco­nomic Of­fences (DCEO) would con­tinue with its man­date to nip the vice in the bud.

“The DCEO will con­tinue with its man­date to elim­i­nate cor­rup­tion in our so­ci­ety,” he said.

Dr Mo­sisili vowed to en­sure the an­ti­cor­rup­tion body re­mained au­ton­o­mous and ad­e­quately equipped for it to be ef­fec­tive. He also re­vealed dis­cus­sions are un­der­way on the new cabi­net which is ex­pected to be sworn-in on Thurs­day next week.

“The process of hir­ing cabi­net mem­bers is not yet com­plete and the out­come will def­i­nitely be made known to the na­tion as soon as it is com­pleted,” said Dr Mo­sisili.

FROM left: LCD leader Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing, DC leader Pakalitha Mo­sisili and ABC leader Thomas Tha­bane share a lighter mo­ment dur­ing the open­ing of the 9th Par­lia­ment on Tues­day.

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