MASERU — The Basotho National Party (BNP) on Sunday said it will use funds generated from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) to support employment generating projects if it wins next month’s election.
BNP leader, Thesele ‘Maseribane told about 500 supporters in Mahobong in Leribe, that they would create a Development Fund to alleviate poverty in the country.
‘Maseribane said they would equip farmers with skills to turn them into commercial farmers and make the country self-sufficient in food production.
For the first five years farmers would be encouraged to concentrate on food production and thereafter embark on commercial farming, ‘Maseribane said.
He said a BNP government would also help farmers secure markets for products such as asparagus and canned fruit.
He said his government would use the M50 million that Lesotho receives every month from South Africa through the Lesotho Highlands Water Project to revive irrigation schemes.
The funds would be channeled towards producing commercial crops like butternuts.
This should be practical and feasible because Basotho have land and the country is blessed with abundant water that it sells to South Africa, Maseribane said.
He urged Basotho to elect the BNP on May 26, reminding them how the party’s founder and former Prime Minister Dr Leabua Jonanathan used to assist farmers to get good yields from their lands.
He said unlike the present government which embarked in block farming with farmers, the BNP would directly negotiate with land owners.
“We are not ashamed to tell you that in our manifesto we have embraced the food self-sufficiency programme,” he said.
He added that the party is determined to work hard and perpetuate the good legacy left by Jonathan.
The 51-year-old party had experience in government and its record is well known, he said.
“Our history is that we have improved Lesotho and our history is that we were toppled from power and were cheated at the elections,” ‘Maseribane said.
“We have come to a stage today where we say we must say we forsake the politics of violence.”
The BNP leader said he wished he was standing before the DC and LCD members not the BNPs, so that “I could be asking them what they have done for the Basotho nation to deserve being elected into power”.
They had failed to serve the interests of the country, he added.
He asked party supporters to vote for the general good of the entire nation.
“The delivery of public services like health care is in shambles while institutions of higher learning are on the brink of collapse,” he said.
‘Maseribane appealed to the people of Mahobong to elect the party’s candidate, Khethisa Molapo.
He noted that he was appalled that the government was headed by the Congress parties had dominated Lesotho’s politics over the past 18 years.
On foreign policy, ‘Maseribane said they are not ashamed to go to Pretoria and negotiate with South Africa about the problems Basotho are facing in that country.
BNP deputy leader, Joang Molapo, said in the first democratic election in 1965 the Mahobong constituency was won by the BNP.
He urged the youth to work hard to win it again on May 26.
Molapo also rejected charges that BNP supporters were part of the mob that was involved in skirmishes with DC supporters in Ha Thetsane last Thursday.
He also lashed out at Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili for doling out goodies and cash to poor people during his house-to-house campaign in Maseru two weeks ago.
“Since when did he realise that people were starving,” he asked?