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Metsing pledges to implement reforms

by Lesotho Times
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Bereng Mpaki

LESOTHO Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader and deputy Prime Minister, Mothetjoa Metsing has pleaded with voters to ensure they win a resounding majority in next week’s national elections to enable them to complete the reform agenda aimed at creating the stability that is needed for socio-economic development in the country.

Mr Metsing made the plea at a joint LCD- Democratic Congress (DC) rally that was attended by approximately 5000 supporters in Hlotse in the Leribe district early this week.

The elections, which be held on 3 June, were announced in March by King Letsie III in the aftermath of the no confidence vote that was passed that same month by the opposition against the seven parties’ coalition government headed by DC leader Pakalitha Mosisili.

The dissolution of parliament put on hold the multi-stakeholder reform process the country had started in 2016 on the recommendations of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and other development partners including the European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA).

The reforms cover governance, security sector and other areas and are aimed at deepening democracy and creating last stability which is conducive to economic growth.

The EU and USA are on record as saying they expect the reform process to resume immediately after the elections regardless of who wins and they have warned that development assistance to Lesotho would be predicated on the implementation of the reforms.

And on Sunday, Mr Metsing told supporters that despite its commitment to the reforms, the outgoing government was hamstrung by political developments which saw it lose the majority in parliament which was critical for driving forward the process.

“We are at a crucial point as a nation having celebrated our 50th independence anniversary last year and now we are left to deliberate on what foundations to put up in order to improve the lives of the people for the next 50 years’ journey,” Mr Metsing said.

“This is what the government was involved in when we were widely heckled about not having the required numbers in parliament to carry out that reform process.

“So we are asking you to elect the congress (parties) in large numbers so that when we engage in national discussions we will have a leg to stand on in order to effect the changes that will ultimately improve the people’s lives.”

The LCD and DC have since agreed on an election alliance meant to avoid splitting votes by the congress parties and the deal also includes the Popular Front for Democracy (PFD).

In terms of the electoral agreement, the parties will field one candidate for each of the country’s 80 constituencies.

The DC will contest in 54 constituencies while the LCD was allocated 25.

The parties will also vote for PFD leader, Lekhetho Rakuoane, in his Qalo stronghold in Butha-Buthe.

Mr Metsing expressed gratitude for the huge turnout at the rally and urged the supporters to ensure they won resoundingly to give them the mandate to continue the reform process without hindrance from the opposition.

“I am overwhelmed by what my eyes see here today. If we can go to the voting as we have come here in large numbers then the congress will win the elections on 3 June by a very high margin.

“I am sure they are very scared over there (at ABC rally which was also in Hlotse) when they look in this direction. Something like this has never been seen before except during the final star rallies.”

He said the huge turnout also put to rest any lingering doubts about the strength of the congress alliance heading into the elections.

“We came here to dispel any lingering doubts about our support. We successfully canvassed and today we came here to showcase the fruits of our hard labour.”

He however, called for an even bigger turnout at this Sunday’s joint final rally, adding all they needed to do afterwards was to maintain vigilance against possible acts of vote rigging.

“I want us to triple this number on the 28th of May when we hold the final rally at Ha Foso.”

Turning to other issues, Mr Metsing said his post-election government would immediately erect 16 factory shells in Ha-Belo (Butha Buthe) which would create 30 000 to 40 000 jobs.

He said this estate was meant for heavy industries including an assembly plant for tractors.

Mr Metsing also said in addition to supporting farming to enhance food security, they would also build a dam in Leribe to supply the district and Teyateyaneng.

He said they would also construct a secondary powerline from Mazenod to Quthing which would supply power to all villages in those areas.

He also said a wind-driven power generation project would be implemented in Mafeteng while the towns would be linked by tarred roads.


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