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High unemployment a ticking time bomb: Mahao

by Lesotho Times

’Marafaele Mohloboli

The high levels of poverty and youth unemployment in the country are a ticking time bomb which will explode soon if nothing is done to correct these ills, Basotho Action Party (BAP) leader Nqosa Mahao has said.

Addressing an estimated 5000 crowd at a weekend rally in Hlotse, Leribe, Prof Mahao said his newly formed party was working on addressing the high unemployment and poverty levels.

He said youths were angered by the lack of opportunities and one way of ensuring they had decent livelihoods was to help them start cooperatives which would be involved in various sectors of the economy.

This was his second rally since the formation of the BAP last month. Prof Mahao formed the party after leaving the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) where he had been deputy leader for the past two years. His first rally was held in home area of Koro-Koro, Maseru last week.

Prof Mahao dumped the ABC allegedly to preempt a plot by Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, ABC leader and former premier Thomas Thabane and ABC secretary general Lebohang Hlaele to oust him from the party. All three have denied the allegations and have instead accused Prof Mahao of seeking to unprocedurally oust Mr Thabane.

Addressing his well-attended second rally over the weekend, Prof Mahao said the party had been formed by men and women who were committed to freeing the country from the shackles of poverty and unemployment.

“Every nation goes through its share of sufferings and Basotho are no exception,” Prof Mahao said.

“Lesotho is sitting on a time bomb that’s ready to explode any minute. It is a bomb of unemployment and abject poverty for in most families. These factors have already led to major revolts in other countries.

“But we are living in the time of change where the people have decided to take a new route. It is evident that you are thirsty for change and the time has come to change to change the medicine to get you the desired results. That new medicine to give you the desired results is the BAP.

“As BAP, we are an action-driven party. We are not even waiting to be in government to start delivering. Here in Leribe, we have started a youth project to create jobs and empower youths. We intend to start similar income generating projects nationwide even where youths lack formal education.

“We will also help the youths set up cooperatives to enable them to generate income and support their families from the proceeds,” he said.

The Lesotho Times observed that youths had already started making and selling various products including fruit juices with the help of the BAP. The products were on sale at the rally.

Prof Mahao also took a swipe at the government for its poor handling of its botched solar power deal with German company Frazer Solar.

Government assets have now been seized to pay off more than M856 million damages to Frazer Solar for allegedly breaching the contract aimed at providing Lesotho with solar water heating systems, 20 megawatts of solar power capacity, LED lights and solar lanterns over four years.

“We are very sad to hear of reports that Lesotho’s assets in other countries have been seized to pay off damages for a botched corrupt deal made by some of individuals in government. This is equal to 20 percent of the national budget,” Prof Mahao said.

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