QACHA’S NEK-A Basotho National Party (BNP) government would seek closer ties with South Africa to ensure Lesotho citizens benefit more from their wealthy neighbour, party leader Thesele ‘Maseribane has said.
Addressing a BNP rally in Qacha’s Nek on Sunday, Chief ‘Maseribane also said peaceful coexistence among Basotho would also be a priority should his party become government after the 28 February 2015 snap elections.
“As you are aware, peace and stability are very important in promoting economic development in any society. Without political stability, there is no progress and development hence the BNP is fully committed to peaceful coexistence among Basotho,” said Chief ‘Maseribane, who is also the Minister of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation.
Security and stability, he added, are reflected in the economic development of a nation.
“This is why security and stability have direct, long-term effects on the creation of a sound, competitive economic environment that has a positive impact on the citizenry and society as a whole.
“A BNP government is going to ensure this is possible, hence you should vote for the party on 28 February.”
Chief ‘Maseribane recalled how former BNP leader and Prime Minister, Leabua Jonathan, was friends with African National Congress leader, Oliver Tambo, during South Africa’s apartheid era.
Chief Jonathan led Lesotho from 7 July 1965 until he was topped by the military on 20 January 1986.
However, Chief ‘Maseribane told Sunday’s rally the friendship which existed between Chief Jonathan and South Africa’s anti-apartheid leaders should benefit Lesotho’s current and future generations as Basotho paid a very high price for the relationship.
“The relationship that our leader, Chief Jonathan, had with Tambo, should be revived so that our people benefit from the South African economy. For South Africa to be where it is today, our people contributed immensely to its struggle against oppression.
“Some of our people died because of that fight against apartheid, which only ended with independence in 1994.
“To make sure our people also benefit from South Africa’s economy, we will negotiate for the labour laws of our two countries to be harmonised. This will make it easier for our people to work in South Africa without being subjected to exploitation because of lack of proper documentation,” Chief ‘Maseribane said.
Meanwhile, the BNP leader also said tourism would be one of the cornerstones of Lesotho’s economy under his government.
“Tourism is increasingly becoming an important tool in promoting economic growth, alleviating poverty, and advancing food security.
“First of all, it represents an opportunity for economic diversification, particularly in marginal areas with few other export options. Tourists are attracted to remote areas with high values of cultural, wildlife and landscape assets that our country is endowed with,” he said.
Chief ‘Maseribane further said the BNP government would value food security in order to have a healthy nation capable of contributing to the wealth of the country.
“Childhood and adolescence are periods of rapid physical, social, cognitive and behavioural change.
“Adequate nutrition during this time is essential for the maintenance of growth and good health. The dietary requirements of children and young people are different to those of adults and constantly change as individuals grow and develop.
“Establishing good nutrition and physical activity patterns in childhood contributes to good health throughout life. The values and habits developed during this period often influence behaviour in adulthood. In addition, there is emerging evidence that health, during childhood and adolescence, impacts on a person’s welfare during adulthood.”
According to Chief ‘Maseribane, the country has to ensure the prevention of stunting in children since this leads to adverse intergenerational patterns of impaired growth and development, propagated by poverty and disease.
Chief ‘Maseribane added the BNP led government would educate shepherds on the importance of protecting the environment and natural resources for sustainable land development and management.
“Shepherds should be taught the importance of range and land management so that our lands sustain us,” he said.
The BNP leader further told the rally that the election was coming two years early after the LCD—one of the three partners in the coalition government also comprising the BNP and All Basotho Convention (ABC)—decided to form an alliance with the Democratic Congress.
“You should turn out in great numbers to make sure such an unholy alliance does not happen again.”