By Bongiwe Zihlangu
MASERU — Lesotho’s coalition government partners should not walk on eggshells when dealing with fundamental governance issues as this would be tantamount to compromising the policies and principles that guide them, says official government spokesperson, Communications Minister Ts’eliso Mokhosi.
“We’re not in it for crazy, passionate love. People should be able to separate governance issues from friendship. We execute our duties based on principle and policies,” Mokhosi said.
“Whether we love one another or not is beside the point. If we don’t align ourselves with our principles and policies, we will not be able to execute our duties as is expected of us.”
Mokhosi was responding to main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) deputy leader Monyane Moleleki who on Sunday alleged that coalition government leaders Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing and sports minister Thesele ‘Maseribane had “fallen out of love” with each other because the foundation of their love was to spite DC leader and former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.
All the parties forming the coalition government, Mokhosi said, have principles which neither one of them is expected to compromise.
“Our government policy and coalition agreement were formulated for the sole purpose of accommodating one another and we’re compelled, but without compromising ourselves, to abide by them,” Mokhosi said.
“Those documents are the bond that keeps us together, the adhesive to the coalition government.”
Mokhosi added that Moleleki’s assertions were based on what he might have heard on the streets and but conceded that “there are challenges everywhere”.
“There will always be challenges but what matters the most in the midst of it all is how you deal with them,” Mokhosi said.
Responding to the question of failure to deliver on promises made by the three leaders during post election campaigns, Mokhosi said as government they were operating based on their policy and coalition agreement documents “which form our roadmap”.
“Indeed we might have said some things during election campaigns, but if it’s not in our policy document, then we will not do it because we align ourselves strictly with that document,” Mokhosi said.
“In that document we infused all our three parties’ manifestos to come with one comprehensible document on things to be implemented while at the same time accommodating all the coalition partners.”
“If the issue pertaining to foregoing big cars for smaller ones and so forth does not appear in our policy document, then obviously it won’t happen.”
Mokhosi further argued that government had indeed increased old-age pensions and social grants for children as promised adding that “we did what we could based on funds available to us”.
However, Mokhosi sarcastically added that he could not hold a grudge against Moleleki because the DC deputy leader was probably desperate to hold onto his party’s followers and give them hope that they would retain government power.
“I would do the same if I were in his shoes. He has to find means to retain support for his party and one way of doing that is convincing them that there’s trouble in the coalition,” Mokhosi said.
Meanwhile Daniel Maraisane of the Factory Workers’ Union (FAWU) has refuted Moleleki’’s allegation saying all Thabane said was that workers’ unions should exhaust all avenues open to them and factory owners and that “we should approach government when all else has failed”.“Ntate Thabane said when all else has failed, we should approach all relevant government ministries to intervene and that the intervention would be subject to limits set out by the law,” Maraisane said.
“But I’ve heard other people trying to give what the PM said a different meaning to what he actually meant.”