Amer­i­cans visit Le­sotho over aid

Lesotho Times - - Front Page - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

A THREE-MEM­BER Amer­i­can del­e­ga­tion from the Mil­len­nium Chal­lenge Cor­po­ra­tion (MCC) is in the coun­try to meet with Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili over a de­ci­sion taken by its Board last month to de­fer a vote on pre­sent­ing Le­sotho with a new five-year Compact.

the MCC Board on 16 De­cem­ber 2015 in­def­i­nitely sus­pended fund­ing to Le­sotho cit­ing the coun­try’s poor gov­er­nance.

Le­sotho re­ceived its first five-year MCC grant or Compact in July 2007. the $362.5 mil­lion Compact, among oth­ers, helped fund the con­struc­tion of Me­to­long Dam, as well as the Pres­i­dent’s emer­gency Plan for AIDS Re­lief (PEP­FAR) to mit­i­gate the neg­a­tive eco­nomic im­pact of poor ma­ter­nal health, HIV/AIDS, tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and other dis­eases.

The coun­try was ex­pect­ing its se­cond Compact this year, but the Board de­cided not to vote on the is­sue be­cause of gov­er­nance con­cerns.

how­ever, the Le­sotho Times es­tab­lished that the MCC Depart­ment of Pol­icy and eval­u­a­tion vice-pres­i­dent Beth Trit­ter ar­rived in Maseru on tues­day this week along­side two other un­named MCC of­fi­cials. the three, to­gether with United States Am­bas­sador to Le­sotho, Mathew Har­ring­ton, met with Dr Mo­sisili yes­ter­day at his Govern­ment Com­plex of­fices.

Part of the del­e­ga­tion fur­ther met with Fi­nance Min­is­ter ’Mam­phono Khaketla and trade Min­is­ter Joshua Setipa, among other min­is­ters, as well as mem­bers of the op­po­si­tion.

Both min­is­ters con­firmed the meet­ings to the Le­sotho Times but could not give de­tails of the agenda.

Dr Khaketla said: “I am not in a po­si­tion to tell you ex­actly what the MCC of­fi­cials will be dis­cussing with the prime min­is­ter. Ac­tu­ally, they are vis­i­tors to the prime min­is­ter. I only met with some of the del­e­gates and not head of del­e­ga­tion (Ms trit­ter). I am hop­ing that the prime min­is­ter will in­form cab­i­net about this visit and the agenda to­mor­row.”

Dr Khaketla, how­ever, said she be­lieved the visit had some­thing to do with Board’s de­ci­sion to sus­pend vot­ing on a se­cond Compact.

“I can only guess the del­e­ga­tion is here to ex­plain last month’s de­ci­sion on aid to Le­sotho. Pos­si­bly, the dis­cus­sions will be about the way for­ward, but I am just guess­ing,” she said.

On his part, Mr Setipa said he met the del­e­ga­tion yes­ter­day morn­ing. “I can only con­firm that the del­e­ga­tion is here, but I am not in a po­si­tion to tell you about other de­tails.”

the Prime Min­is­ter’s press at­taché, Mo­tumi Rale­joe, also con­firmed to the Le­sotho Times the del­e­ga­tion had met with the premier. “They held closed dis­cus­sions, which I can only say went well. The del­e­ga­tion was in the com­pany of the United States Am­bas­sador to Le­sotho.”

Mr Rale­joe added the del­e­ga­tion fur­ther met with four more lead­ers of the seven par­ties form­ing the coali­tion govern­ment, and op­po­si­tion party rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

Ba­sotho Na­tional Party deputy leader Joang Mo­lapo con­firmed meet­ing the del­e­ga­tion at the US em­bassy but also re­fused to give de­tails.

“We met with the del­e­ga­tion this af­ter­noon at the US em­bassy as op­po­si­tion rep­re­sen­ta­tives. the MCC del­e­ga­tion is here to meet with rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers. I can­not go into de­tails but all-in-all this is about work­ing re­la­tions be­tween Amer­ica and Le­sotho in far as the MCC fund­ing is con­cerned,” Chief Mo­lapo said.

Mean­while, in a let­ter dated 15 June 2015 and ad­dressed to Dr Khaketla, Ms trit­ter noted the MCC part­ner­ship with Le­sotho

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