LPCM threatens demo

Lerato Matheka

MASERU — The Lesotho People’s Charter Movement (LPCM), a group advocating free movement between South Africa and Lesotho, says it will soon take to the streets if the Lesotho government does not respond to its demands.

In May this year, the LPCM petitioned the government to allow Basotho to travel to South Africa without passports.

The group claimed it had managed to get signatures from 30 000 Basotho who support the cause.

They also demanded that the government should allow Basotho to be citizens of both Lesotho and South Africa.

The constitution of Lesotho prohibits dual citizenship.

The LPCM this week said it was frustrated that the government had not responded to its demands.

And if the government does not respond soon they might take to the streets, the organisation announced at a press conference on Tuesday.

“We are very disappointed that we haven’t received a reply from all the institutions we petitioned thus far,” said the LPCM’s Malimabe Motopela. 

“We are ready to apply more force to get answers. We are going to hold demonstrations and petitions to all parties involved in both Lesotho and South Africa if necessary.”

Motopela warned: “We are the people’s charter and the public’s fury will add more pressure to how fast things happen (sic),” he said.

Speaking at the same conference the LPCM’s publicist, Edith Molatelo-Dire, said they will not rest until section 41 of the Lesotho constitution is struck off (read side bar for details).

The section prohibits Basotho from having dual citizenship.

“We find section 41 to be inhumane,” Molatelo-Dire said.

“South Africa’s constitution allows their citizens to have any other citizenship from countries of their choice besides that of their own.”

“We are going to leave no stone unturned. We are ready to fight this battle and even if we have to involve international courts then so be it,” Molatelo-Dire said.

She said the unique economic links between Lesotho and South Africa justified their call for free movement between the two countries as well as dual citizenship.

“No Mosotho can move, eat or wear without help from South Africa,” she said.

Because Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa there must be a unique relationship between the two countries, she added. 

Motopela said they will continue to have public awareness campaigns so more people could join the movement and pressure the government.

He said an African Peer Review Mechanism’s 2008 report had found that the majority of people in Lesotho support the LPCM’s objectives.

According to the report 61.3 percent of Basotho want dual citizenship while 66 percent want identity documents similar to those of South Africa.

Another 63.8 percent said they wanted free movement between the two countries.

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