MASERU — The youth league of the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party two weeks ago wrote a letter to Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili urging him to fire incompetent ministers.
The letter was handed over to LCD secretary general Mothetjoa Metsing for transmission to the prime minister.
In the letter the youth said Mosisili should reshuffle his cabinet and fire non-performing ministers.
Last week the president of the youth league, Mosala Mojakisane, disowned the letter saying the league had not written any letter to the prime minister.
Political observers said Mojakisane’s statement suggested a rift within the LCD youth league and the party in general.
The Lesotho Times has since got hold of the confidential letter dated 6 June 2009 which was sent to the prime minister. We produce the letter translated from Sesotho below:
To the Right Honourable Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili
Sir, as the youth of the LCD movement, we greet you with all the respect from the bottom of our hearts. May God always be with you and watch over you.
Sir, we are gathered here at the party’s office with sad, heavy hearts. In that case we decided to write you a letter to share with you the source of our pain.
You have always reminded us that the youth are the eyes and ears of the LCD movement. Therefore we humbly request that you carefully pay attention to what we have to tell you.
We see problems emanating from some of your ministers, who seem to be dragging their feet and failing to properly execute the duties you assigned them to carry out.
There is a public outcry of poor service delivery and claims that LCD has failed the Basotho nation despite our party having clear policies. Our fear is that this will lead to us failing to garner majority votes in both the upcoming 2010 Local Government Elections as well as the 2012 general elections.
Currently local radio stations and newspapers are busy broadcasting and publishing how LCD has failed to deliver basic services to the nation. We must confess that most of the issues they talk about are actually what we as the youth see, along with the multitudes who sacrificed their votes for an LCD-led government.
In that case we humbly ask that you make changes in the following ministries:
(1) Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security
According to the budget speech presentation in parliament, the agriculture ministry falls among ministries allocated a lot of money which does not serve the nation’s best interests, let alone Lesotho. If anything, the standard of agriculture seems to be deteriorating at an alarming rate year in and year out.
The worst part is that agriculture is the backbone of our people’s livelihood, more especially because our country has inefficient job creation due to our weak economy. We find it unnecessary that taxpayer’s money should be misused despite utter hunger, poverty and incurable illnesses.
As LCD youths, we humbly request, Sir, that you relieve the minister of agriculture, his assistant minister and permanent secretary (PS) because we firmly believe that they bluntly refused to carry out the duties they were allocated to enable the nation to be self-sufficient and escape from the clutches of extreme poverty.
A living example that we can give among many, is that of the agriculture assistant minister who uses public property solely for the benefit his own ‘Maliepetsane (50) constituency.
This is an indication that the agric minister and his assistant do not share the same views; this is because the assistant minister has used this property via his own authority, which include tractors which were once used by the military as well as the money which he would tell commercial farmers that the government did not have.
He (has) misused public funds to enhance his popularity in his own constituency in order to win the 2012 elections; instead of carrying out his duty of working for the benefit of the whole Basotho nation.
The question we have is where did he get the money? Do poor farmers need to be part of his office to be able to farm? Who was block-farming meant for, ministers or destitute members of the public?
(2) Ministry of Health and Social Welfare
Sir, the health ministry is huge and looks after the lives of all Basotho. It is one ministry which needs a minister, a humble, loving, dedicated, brave and patient person; someone with an in-depth knowledge of people; a humane individual who has lived and been exposed to people from all walks of life. A person who has deep congress roots and has been an LCD supporter all their life and been active within LCD.
Sir, government hospitals are lacking in basic facilities. There is no medication, wheelchairs, trolleys, blankets and many other basics.
But the worst part is the bad manner in which patients are treated and the number attended to on a daily basis. Government mortuaries nationwide are in a shocking state. Sir, this situation will undoubtedly influence Basotho to one day turn their backs on us.
Other problems arise from the unfair dismissal of personnel, while in some cases workers are threatened by being told that they were hired by the previous health minister.
Until now we have not seen any progress, but mountains of problems which disgruntle the nation and force people to lose hope in LCD; more especially because LCD is currently working tirelessly to retain the constituencies it lost in the 2007 elections.
For these reasons, Sir, we appeal to you to come to our rescue. We also propose that since this is a huge ministry, plans be made to divide it into two functional ministries.
Or at best be assigned an assistant minister.
(3) Ministry of Home Affairs, Immigration and Public Safety
Sir, as the youth of LCD, we see serious problems brought about by this particular ministry. The Lesotho Mounted Police Service has failed in its task of protecting Lesotho and Basotho.
Testimony to this was when we were forced to just look on as the police failed to protect public property inclusive of buses which were attacked and stoned whilst passengers were still boarding them.
People were forced out of the buses by criminals in the presence of law enforcement officers who simply failed to protect the people and restore stability following the Rothe by-elections where All Basotho Convention (ABC) supporters blocked the release of ballot boxes which caused riots which could have resulted in the unnecessary loss of lives.
We have again detected the weakness of our police force during the ABC stay-away campaigns whereby they failed to protect businessmen who opted to forgo the stay-away by opening their businesses as usual.
The very cops who were supposed to protect the vulnerable members of society encouraged them to close their shops, telling them, “You had better close your shops because there will be no one to come to your rescue or protect you when the criminals strike.”
We were also forced to witness when the police force refused to offer security to taxi owners who were willing to let people use their taxis at the height of stay-away campaigns. This helped strengthen the ABC’s campaigns during the stay-away.
These are a few examples. At the national conference, the national executive committee’s report highlighted that the police force had failed in its duty to investigate the death of prominent individuals including the senseless slaying of the prime minister’s son.
The main problem is that members of the police force do not wear their name tags, which results in us failing to identify them.
This is an indication that members of the police are involved in questionable conduct.
We have tried to find a solution to the passport crisis without solution. The crisis at the passport office emanates from the corruption within the immigration department with workers enriching themselves by fraudulently issuing passports to foreigners.
Sir, could you please help Basotho get passports, instead of foreigners who stand a good chance to have passports issued to them because of their ability to offer bribes to immigration personnel?
We were hoping that since this ministry boasts a minister and an assistant minister, there would be no major complexities and that it would be in a position to better serve this nation.
(4) Ministry of Gender, Youth, Sports and Recreation
Sir, this ministry whose main duty is to directly cater for the needs of the youth has failed dismally to deal with our issues. As the youth of the LCD movement we are not given opportunities, but the opportunities are instead passed on to youth belonging to opposition parties.
An example is that of a very important post given to one Holo ‘Nyane, who happens to be very popular for fighting and discrediting our government’s policies. Everyone knows him; he belongs to the LESOTHO YOUTH FEDERATION.
Again there is a lot of discrimination taking place regarding issues of development. Development projects are only taking place in Mafeteng where the minister in this ministry originates from as well as in Mokhotlong where the ministry’s permanent secretary hails.
Due to this discrimination, we would not be shocked if all members of parliament were to scramble in a race to become ministers, for the sole purpose of developing their own constituencies at the expense of others.
Sport in this country is faced with numerous challenges, we have so suitable and standard sporting grounds and the spirit of supporting sports has immensely deteriorated.
In our villages sporting competitions and tournaments were the order of the day, but now we do not see that happening anymore.
Young sporting hopefuls are not longer given jerseys for free but are now forced to buy them.
It is tough on us, Sir, which is why we once again appeal to you to come to our rescue. What hurts the most is that as the youth of the ruling party, we have never heard of any plans to establish a National Youth Council and how it would operate once it has been created.
Our greatest fear is that people like Holo ‘Nyane will always be given opportunities while we are sidelined.
Sir, you made a promise that you would divide this ministry so that youth issues would be dealt with appropriately. We are waiting for the dawn of that day.
(5) Ministry of Local Government and Chieftainship
This ministry also falls in the category of huge ministries with serious problems. Sir, it is undoubtedly one ministry whose leadership played a special role in LCD losing elections in all Maseru constituencies.
Its leadership is the main reason why civil servants did not vote for LCD, as a result of the bad treatment they received, which very unfortunately had an adverse impact on us as a whole.
We appeal to you to act immediately to correct matters within the ministry. Could you also please appoint an assistant minister for the ministry. Moreover, we ask that the employment of district attorneys be handled by you directly in the same manner you do with permanent secretaries.
(6) Ministry of Natural Resources
Sir, the minister in this particular ministry, putting aside the fact that his issues have been discussed in depth in previous conferences, we realise that the controversy surrounding him simply refuses to go away.
He still has tremendous ownership, control and influence on some of the youth, MPs and members of our party. This makes his style of service delivery partial.
The distribution of resources such as water and electricity is limited to particular constituencies; regions dominated mainly by his supporters.
Services from his ministry are received only by people who support him.
Only youths who declare loyalty to the minister are guaranteed jobs within the ministry.
This is particularly the case regarding students from the National University of Lesotho (NUL).
As for those who do not declare loyalty to him they may as well forget about getting jobs (in the ministry). Some of us still have not secured any jobs until now.
This nature of discrimination creates bad blood and divisions among the youth. We end up calling each other names.
We seek your immediate intervention.
(7) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Sir, this is one ministry in which we as the youth of the congress movement, understand without doubt that there are clear policies of employing trustworthy and loyal members of our party.
But we are now shocked to see Lesotho being represented internationally by people who are not members of LCD.
The second issue that affects us directly as the youth is that of scholarships for us to study abroad. We request that you pay attention to this matter.
As youth we need to develop and progress academically for the benefit of Lesotho and Basotho.
1. We humbly recommend, Sir, that our pleas be seriously considered. This can bring real transformation to our country.
2. We appeal to you to pay attention to the issues raised and watch with a hawk’s eye, Sir, at the door through which individuals not officially elected from their constituencies enter the Senate. That door has the potential to let in people who will ultimately create a host of complications for us; people who do not care about problems that ordinary people face as they are never exposed to the hardship of fighting an election.
3. Sir, we are grateful that the Proportional Representation seats from our alliance with National Independent Party (NIP) made the elections much easier for us.
4. However, our understanding is that this PR format was not structured properly since it was applied according to individuals’ academic achievements as opposed to their in-depth knowledge of congress politics.
Our firm belief is that for one to become a minister, academic qualifications are not a basic necessity.
What is important is for an individual to have love coupled with an in-depth knowledge of congress politics.
One good example can be drawn from the late Mofelehetsi Moerane (may his soul rest in peace) against whom no minister up to this point can contest.
5. All constituencies with PR candidates are clouded by shocking conflicts and divisions which now characterise our party. This is due to the fact that PR candidates waiting in line to become MPs end up as members of constituency committees despite them not knowing anything about the structures of the congress movement.
6. Sir, ministers who are appointed to office due to their relevant skills, lack compassion for their LCD colleagues because of the fact that they are not from congress movement background. We therefore humbly urge you, Sir, to pick from within the party when you construct your cabinet.
We are not dumping instructions on you, Sir. We are only kindly asking that you come to the rescue of Lesotho and Basotho.
As the youth of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), we promise with all sincerity, Sir, to always sweat and labour hard so that this country does not become a worst enemy to its own inhabitants because of people who have no care in the world for the well-being of their fellow humans, especially those who sacrifice their votes for democracy and good governance. We also long for the improvement and growth of our economy and the improved quality of life for all Basotho.
EA FOFA NONYANA
KA ‘NETE, TOKA LE KHOTSO
BACHA BA LEKHOTLA