Youths protest MPS’ loans

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

Pub­lic Works and Trans­port Min­is­ter Tsoeu Mok­eretla yes­ter­day promised “prompt re­sponse” to a pe­ti­tion pre­sented by a group of youths de­mand­ing that govern­ment should re­cover the M32 mil­lion the Min­istry of Fi­nance paid First Na­tional bank to set­tle loans taken by mem­bers of the Eighth Par­lia­ment.

The youths had de­manded that their pe­ti­tion should be re­sponded to within 14 work­ing days. The pro­tes­tors said the money should be re­cov­ered from the MPS, and also crit­i­cised the in­ter­est-free loan scheme for the leg­is­la­tors as “noth­ing short of cor­rup­tion”.

They ar­gued it is against “all known ba­sic prin­ci­ples of moral­ity, good gov­er­nance and le­gal­ity”.

The small group of pro­tes­tors had marched from the Race­course in Thet­sane to King Moshoeshoe i’s statue in the city cen­tre where they de­liv­ered their pe­ti­tions ad­dressed to the Se­nate Pres­i­dent, Na­tional As­sem­bly speaker, Min­is­ter of Fi­nance and Min­is­ter of De­vel­op­ment Plan­ning.

A huge con­tin­gent of po­lice of­fi­cers mon­i­tored the march. The pe­ti­tions read in part: “Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment are in­di­vid­u­ally en­ti­tled to an in­ter­est-free loan of up to M500 000 and the govern­ment acts as guar­an­tor.

“This means the in­ter­est is paid through tax­pay­ers’ monies and in the event an MP de­faults on re­pay­ments, the cap­i­tal amount is also paid out of pub­lic cof­fers.

“This is hap­pen­ing in a least-de­vel­oped coun­try where more than half the pop­u­la­tion lives on less than $1 per day, a coun­try that has the world’s se­cond-high­est num­ber of peo­ple in­fected and af­fected by HIV/AIDS.

“We elected the honourable mem­bers to par­lia­ment for the bet­ter­ment of us all, not to en­rich them­selves at the ex­pense of us all.”

youths protest over the M32 mil­lion paid to a lo­cal bank to set­tle MPS’ loans yes­ter­day.

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