Matekane slams corrupt, nepotistic leaders

Lesotho Times
7 Min Read
Revolution For Prosperity (RFP) Sam Matekane
  • vows to fight rampant killings, tackle poverty
  • says he is opposed to coalition governments

Moorosi Tsiane

BUSINESS mogul Sam Matekane has reiterated he had never imagined himself in politics but was forced to take the plunge after witnessing how nepotism and corruption had bred a host of social ills including poverty, gangsterism, rampant killings and other crimes in the country.

Mr Matekane said he had patiently waited for the political leaders to address the challenges facing the country but when they did not, he was left with no option but to take the plunge into politics to achieve the opportunity to implement the changes he believes are necessary to fix the country.

He said this while addressing a bumper crowd which turned up for his maiden rally as leader of the newly-formed Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) party in his home turf of Mantšonyane, Thaba-Tseka, early this week.

Mr Matekane also voiced his opposition to coalition governments saying they inhibited a party’s ability to implement its policies. He thus urged his supporters to vote overwhelmingly for his party to give it a majority to govern alone and hence an opportunity to implement its own agenda without being constricted by the need to accommodate the views of coalition partners.

Mr Matekane launched his party a fortnight ago at his Mpilo Boutique Hotel in Maseru. Some of the senior officials in the new party are prominent personalities and technocrats who have tended to shy away from politics over the years.

They include former Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) governor, Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane; former Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara and Moshoeshoe Walk organiser, Thabo Maretlane. Former Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) head of investment promotion, Mokhethi Shelile, prominent businessman Lephema Lebona and former Accountant General, Sam Mphaka, are also part of Mr Matekane’s team.

There is widespread speculation that seasoned politicians will be beating the path to join the new party in the coming days, weeks and months before the elections which are due anytime from October this year.

Already, Mahali Phamotse and Tlohelang Aumane, the secretary-general and treasurer of the Alliance of Democrats (AD) respectively, have joined Mr Matekane’s fledging party. (See story on page 2)

The duo was among thousands of people who turned the 10 000-capacity Bocheletsane Stadium into a sea of white, green and purple- the colours of the RFP- on Sunday.

The multitude cheered and ululated while others broke into song and dance when Mr Matekane took to the stage on a bright Sunday afternoon.

Addressing the huge crowd, the business tycoon, who has bestridden Lesotho’s business landscape like a colossus over the past few decades, said never in his wildest dreams had he ever imagined himself a politician.

But the continued deterioration of service delivery and the resultant poverty and escalation of crime under the watch of what he said were nepotistic and corrupt political leaders meant he could no longer stand by and watch, he said.

He said the government was filled with corrupt people who gave out jobs to their friends and relatives. Other politicians had been helping themselves to the public purse for far too long, he added.

“I had never seen myself venturing into politics but I realised that if I do not act now the country would continue to deteriorate,” Mr Matekane said.

“I joined after I realised that the nation was suffering and living miserably. I’d been patient for a long time hoping that things will get better. But this was all in vain. I then decided it was time I entered the fray in order to bring about the change we all want to see. I used to believe that as a businessman, mine was just to give back and help in our communities but we have now reached a stage where we have to act and change things.”

Mr Matekane said stock theft, human trafficking, burglary, rape and murders of the elderly, children, police officers and soldiers were increasing at an alarming rate in the country.  All these crimes were the result of poverty that people were enduring and that has to change.

“Our government hasn’t been performing well. Nepotism and cronyism are influencing the manner in which jobs are given out. Crime is rampant. Government monies are being stolen while stock theft and burglary are on the rise. Lately, there have been numerous cases of people being murdered, both old and young; soldiers and police officers are not being spared the killings.

“While the country was still trying to get to grips with the (criminal) Famo gangs, we saw the emergence of Manomoro (juvenile criminals) youths.

“All these things are the consequences of a nation living in poverty. We intend to change all this once we get into government.”

Mr Matekane said the country had abundant natural resources which would help improve people’s lives if put to good use.

“If the diamonds and other resources like wool and mohair were put to good use, they would improve our economy and we won’t have thousands of unemployed youths roaming the streets.

“I am certain that I’m going to win here in Mantšonyane but we will also need to win in other constituencies to form the government we want. We don’t want a coalition government because we will not be able to deliver on our promises,” Mr Matekane said.

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