AD tar­gets youth vote

Lesotho Times - - News - Lekhetho Nt­sukun­yane

BUTHA-BUTHE — Al­liance of Democrats (AD) leader Monyane Moleleki says his party has won the sup­port of the youth through at­trac­tive poli­cies to pri­ori­tise their wel­fare.

Mr Moleleki said this while ad­dress­ing thou­sands of the AD sup­port­ers, mainly youth at Ha-marak­abei in the Butha-buthe dis­trict this week.

The rally was meant to drum up sup­port for the party ahead of the 3 June na­tional elec­tions in the four elec­toral con­stituen­cies of Mechachane No.1, Hololo No.2, Motete No.3 and Butha-buthe No.4.

The AD is an off­shoot of the Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili-led Demo­cratic Congress (DC) which was formed in De­cem­ber 2016 after Mr Moleleki, then DC deputy leader un­suc­cess­fully sought to wrest con­trol of the party from Dr Mo­sisili.

He sub­se­quently formed the AD, tak­ing with him a sub­stan­tial num­ber of DC ex­ec­u­tive com­mit­tee mem­bers, leg­is­la­tors as well as mem­bers of the youth and women’s leagues.

Mr Moleleki com­bined with other op­po­si­tion par­ties in a vote of no confidence against the Dr Mo­sisili-led gov­ern­ment in par­lia­ment last month and this led to the dis­so­lu­tion of par­lia­ment and His Majesty King Let­sie’s call for fresh elec­tions on 3 June.

And while some ob­servers have at­trib­uted the large turnout of youths at AD ral­lies to the fes­tive at­mos­phere of catchy mu­sic and danc­ing, Mr Moleleki said the re­al­ity was that they were at­tracted by the party’s poli­cies which em­pha­sised their pri­macy in the so­cio-eco­nomic and po­lit­i­cal growth of the coun­try.

“The fact of the mat­ter is that AD is sup­ported by the youths in large num­bers and that is be­cause youths are the main pri­or­ity in the AD,” Mr Moleleki said, adding, “You may want to in­crease pen­sions for the el­derly but if your gov­ern­ment has not in­vested in the youths to in­crease rev­enue through tax­a­tion you will not achieve your tar­get”.

This was in ap­par­ent ref­er­ence to Dr Mo­sisili’s pledge to pri­ori­tise the wel­fare of se­nior ci­ti­zens. Dr Mo­sisili made the pledge at a DC rally in Kolonyama con­stituency in the Leribe dis­trict on Sun­day.

“We, in the AD, pride our­selves in in­vest­ing in young peo­ple be­cause that’s the only way our el­ders will re­ceive large sums as pen­sions.

“If you in­vest in youths, you build the econ­omy fast. After beat­ing Ntate Mo­sisili and his cronies in the com­ing elec­tions, the AD will not sleep un­til the youths are well equipped to start their own busi­nesses and em­ploy oth­ers.”

He said the high rates of youth un­em­ploy­ment would be a thing of the past, adding the AD had al­ready iden­ti­fied two youths and sent them abroad to study how to grow cot­ton so that upon their re­turn they would ini­ti­ate cot­ton grow­ing to boost the coun­try’s tex­tile in­dus­try.

“We al­ready have a num­ber of tex­tile fac­to­ries and we don’t need to be im­port­ing cot­ton from other coun­tries,” he said, adding their de­ci­sion was in­formed by the find­ings of a 2004 fea­si­bil­ity study which con­cluded that “good cot­ton” could be grown in Le­sotho.

He urged the elec­torate to vote out Dr Mo­sisili and his al­lies, say­ing the coun­try could not af­ford to con­tinue wait­ing on their false prom­ises.

He said his party sup­ported the train­ing of the youths with the help of ex­ter­nal part­ners, rather than that of gov­ern­ment.

“For a long time Ntate Mo­sisili has been promis­ing the peo­ple of Butha-buthe that he would fix the road from Ha-marak­abei and Qho­laqhoe to no avail.

“We solemnly prom­ise the peo­ple of Butha-buthe that once in power we will fix that road as a mat­ter of ur­gency.

“The AD will also give you elec­tric­ity, even to the poor­est house­holds and un­like Ntate Mo­sisili, I am not mak­ing empty prom­ises.”

After join­ing forces with the Thomas Tha­bane-led All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) and other op­po­si­tion par­ties, it had been widely ex­pected that the AD and ABC would forge an elec­toral pact in the same man­ner that out­go­ing coali­tion gov­ern­ment part­ners DC and the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) have done.

But Dr Tha­bane said his party would go it alone and only forge a coali­tion agree­ment after the elec­tions.

How­ever, Mr Moleleki down­played the par­ties’ fail­ure to present a united front in the elec­tions, say­ing the AD and ABC were on the same side.

He said in any event, the AD had be­come the coun­try’s sec­ond largest party after the ABC and could de­feat the DC-LCD al­liance on its own.

“The AD al­ready com­mands a com­mend­able sup­port base and only the ABC has more mem­bers.

“As for Ntate Mo­sisili’s DC and his cronies, we can beat them on our own even if they com­bine and cob­ble up an elec­tion pact. There­fore, the so-called al­liance of congress par­ties forged be­tween Ntate Mo­sisili’s DC and Ntate Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing’s LCD is fake be­cause they left out other congress par­ties.”

The AD leader al­leged the Ba­sotho Congress Party leader, Ad­vo­cate Thulo Mahlak­eng was al­ready cry­ing foul after hav­ing be­ing left out in the cold by Dr Mo­sisili and Mr Mets­ing “who claim to have re­vived and brought to­gether the congress par­ties”.

Ntate Mo­sisili and his cronies are sim­ply a bunch of thugs. He claims to have forged an al­liance with some­one (Mr Mets­ing) whose party is fin­ished. He is adding one plus zero and ex­pects the an­swer to be two; how ironic.”

How­ever, LCD spokesper­son, Te­boho Sekata dis­missed Mr Moleleki’s ut­ter­ances say­ing the part­ner­ship in­cluded all par­ties in the out­go­ing gov­ern­ment.

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“To show how trans­par­ent this al­liance is, all par­ties in gov­ern­ment were con­sulted and they are party to this de­ci­sion. They are all part of the strat­egy as our pri­mary goal is to build a sta­ble gov­ern­ment that will last five years after the elec­tions,” Mr Sekata said.

He said the al­liance was twofold with the first part be­ing the part­ner­ship of three par­ties, namely DC, LCD and PFD. He said the DC would con­test in 54 con­stituen­cies, the LCD in 25 while PFD would con­test in one con­stituency.

“In the sec­ond part of the pact, we agreed that the other par­ties in gov­ern­ment will field can­di­dates in all 80 con­stituen­cies so that they will be able to col­lect enough to add to pro­por­tional seats.

“We an­tic­i­pate that each of these par­ties will col­lect at least one seat as we are go­ing to need those seats to strengthen our gov­ern­ment. We will form the gov­ern­ment to­gether with them,” Mr Sekata said.

He also de­scribed Mr Moleleki as “Le­sotho’s num­ber one thug,” adding he had been a prob­lem­atic politi­cian sow­ing di­vi­sions in the congress move­ment.

“To show that Ntate Moleleki is the great­est thug, he has just been ac­quit­ted from cor­rup­tion charges un­der very sus­pi­cious cir­cum­stances where all of a sud­den there was no longer ev­i­dence against him.

“We all know that there was enough ev­i­dence in the past such that he faked ill­ness to avoid jail. Now, the ev­i­dence against him is no longer there,” Mr Sekata charged.

AD leader Monyane Moleleki greets sup­port­ers dur­ing a rally in Ha-marak­abei, Butha-buthe.

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