‘MPS should rise above party pol­i­tics’

Lesotho Times - - News - ’Marafaele Mohloboli

MEM­BERS of par­lia­ment (Mps) have been called upon to rise above the po­lit­i­cal fray and pri­ori­tise the na­tional in­ter­est for the ben­e­fit of their elec­tors.

Qaqatu #60 con­stituency Mp, Lethu­sang Kompi, said leg­is­la­tors should not be used by the lead­ers of their po­lit­i­cal par­ties to en­gage in ac­tiv­i­ties that are detri­men­tal to the in­ter­ests of the elec­torate.

The demo­cratic Congress (dc) Mp made the re­mark dur­ing an in­ter­view with the Le­sotho Times on the side-lines of a round ta­ble meet­ing on women em­pow­er­ment and gen­der equal­ity at the High-level Midterm Re­view of the Im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Is­tan­bul pro­gramme of Ac­tion (Ipoa) in An­talya, Turkey.

The con­fer­ence sought to, among oth­ers, find ways to over­come the struc­tural chal­lenges faced by least de­vel­oped coun­tries (Ldcs) in or­der to erad­i­cate poverty and achieve in­ter­na­tion­ally-agreed de­vel­op­ment goals.

Is­sues of gen­der equal­ity were de­lib­er­ated on dur­ing the con­fer­ence to as­sess the progress Ldcs made in im­ple­ment­ing a com­pre­hen­sive set of ac­tions to­wards women’s em­pow­er­ment.

Mr Kompi said op­po­si­tion Mps were mis­guided in dis­rupt­ing the tabling of a re­port on child mor­tal­ity by the united na­tions pop­u­la­tion Fund (unfpa) last month.

The Mps — from the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion, Ba­sotho na­tional party and Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho – had de­manded the safe re­turn of their lead­ers from ex­ile and for the govern­ment to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions of a SADC in­quiry into Le­sotho’s in­sta­bil­ity.

How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Mr Kompi, the leg­is­la­tors were pan­der­ing to the in­ter­ests of their party lead­ers and not of their elec­tors when they dis­rupted par­lia­men­tary pro­ceed­ings.

“I asked some of the hon­ourable mem­bers why they acted that way, and some of them told me that they were di­rected to do so by their lead­ers,” he said.

“Mem­bers of par­lia­ment should rise above their po­lit­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tions for the bet­ter­ment of the lives of the peo­ple who voted them into par­lia­ment. Once we are Mps, it means we rep­re­sent Ba­sotho and not our par­ties.”

Mr Kompi, who is also a mem­ber of the par­lia­men­tary port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on the So­cial Clus­ter, said while Le­sotho had made a lot of progress in terms of gen­der par­ity, a lot more needed to be done to em­power women.

“As a coun­try, we are on the right track on women em­pow­er­ment is­sues, but we still need to do more. We need more women in po­si­tions of au­thor­ity to en­sure their needs are catered for.”

He said men should be more at­ten­tive to women’s sex­ual and re­pro­duc­tive health needs.

“Men should be more un­der­stand­ing of their part­ners and lis­ten to their con­cerns, es­pe­cially dur­ing preg­nancy. If more men sup­port their wives dur­ing preg­nancy, the in­fant mor­tal­ity rate would be re­duced since a num­ber of ex­pect­ing mothers die dur­ing child­birth be­cause of stress,” the Mp said.

He said ac­cess to health fa­cil­i­ties was an­other chal­lenge for many women in Le­sotho since they had to travel long dis­tances to get as­sis­tance.

“Those women who man­age to reach the health cen­tres some­times en­counter the chal­lenge of poor ser­vice de­liv­ery. The poor ser­vices fuel the high mother-in­fant mor­tal­ity rates as some of the ex­pect­ing mothers opt to de­liver in their homes to avoid be­lit­tle­ment and dis­crim­i­na­tion,” said Mr Kompi.

“We need to ur­gently im­prove our health de­liv­ery sys­tem to save more lives and grad­u­ate from the least de­vel­oped coun­try sta­tus.”

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