Mokhothu slams Matekane

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Bongiwe Zihlangu

. . . says tycoon not telling truth about why he entered politics

DEMOCRATIC Congress (DC) leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, has slammed business tycoon Sam Matekane saying the latter was not being truthful to Basotho on why he made his unexpected foray into politics.

Implying that the businessman was being driven by an agenda to protect and promote his interests, Mr Mokhothu warned Basotho against being fascinated by the riches of Mr Matekane and his Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) party.

Addressing thousands of DC supporters in Tsikoane, Leribe, Mr Mokhothu said joining the new political outfit, “whose agenda was not clear”, was tantamount to mounting oneself on a leopard to get devoured in a forest.

He urged Basotho not to be impressionable and get carried away by the riches of a political novice out to protect his interests and get more wealth for himself. The agenda of the DC was to ensure that as many Basotho as possible got rich through various empowerment projects.

Mr Matekane formed his party late last month. Several luminaries who had previously shied away from politics, including former Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara, are among its founder members. In just three weeks of its existence, it has welcomed high-profile defectors from other parties including former Alliance of Democrats (AD) stalwarts, Mahali Phamotse, Tlohelang Aumane, Batlokoa ‘Makong and ‘Manthabiseng Phohleli. (See story below).

Addressing a rally last week in his home turf of Mantšonyane, Thaba-Tseka, Mr Matekane said he had never imagined himself in politics but was forced to take the plunge after witnessing how nepotism and corruption had bred a host of social ills including poverty, gangsterism, rampant killings and other crimes in the country.

Mr Matekane said he had patiently waited for the political leaders to address the challenges facing the country but when they did not, he was left with no option but to take the plunge into politics to achieve the opportunity to implement the changes he believes are necessary to fix the country.

But Mr Mokhothu is unconvinced by the businessman’s reasons for venturing into politics. He believes there are other motives that are not at all altruistic for Mr Matekane’s unexpected plunge into the rough and tumble of politics.

Mr Mokhothu told his supporters to be always suspicious of new political parties.  “Whenever a new party is formed, the first thing you should do is ask yourselves tough questions, such as the motive behind the move”.

“I plead with DC supporters to be vigilant and ask themselves tough questions when new parties are being formed. You should seek to understand what their agenda is and guard against being impressionable.

“Only political parties founded on the congress ideology understand the people’s plight and their needs. People should not be taken by the wave of a new political party whose intentions are not noble.

“Be cautious. Be vigilant. Don’t ride on a leopard’s back because it will speed of with you to the forest where you will meet your demise. Look carefully around you and question why some parties are being formed. Lesotho is at a crossroads. The old Sesotho adage says that you cannot place your harvest of sorghum on an immature donkey lest it fall and spill your food.

“We need to support a political party that is familiar with governance and administration. One that is familiar with the laws of this country and has direction. It is for these reasons that we urge you to lend the DC your votes. Elect us into power. All DC cadres must go back home and launch a door-to-door campaign to win hearts in Leribe.”

When the loud cheers and ululations subsided, the youthful Mr Mokhothu again went on the offensive, saying he was surprised that men in their 70s were busy forming political parties and promising “change that they failed to bring in their youth”.

“I am surprised by people as old as 70 forming political parties, saying they can bring change in Lesotho. Where have they been all along? These people have been among us, and we have been watching as the ageing process took a toll on them. Now they say they can make a difference? They must get lost. They should just go away,” said the 45-year-old Mr Mokhothu.

It is not clear whether this was in reference to Mr Matekane, who is 64 years old, or Professor Nqosa Mahao who formed the Basotho Action Party (BAP) in April 2021. Prof Mahao is said to be in his early 70s.

Mr Mokhothu confidently predicted a DC victory in the forthcoming elections. In a clear jibe at Mr Matekane, he said they would win “regardless of the presence of the so-called wealthy among us”.

“DC is going to win. It doesn’t matter that we have the so-called wealthy people among us. I hear that there’s a political party that’s become fashionable because it is led by wealthy people. Their presence doesn’t really matter. I can assure you that the DC is going to win the elections.

“Our government will grow this county’s economy and ensure that the wealth is shared equally between the haves and the have-nots. We will produce far more wealthy people than we have now. Remember, the current government which we are part of, came up with the policy on small-scale mining to enable you to mine your own country’s diamonds to generate income. You must have shares in our mines. Those diamonds are yours.

“We also want Basotho to own shares in the textile factories and be involved in their administration.  We need to work towards utilising Lesotho’s natural resources to our advantage. That means we need to start capacitating entrepreneurs if we are to achieve this dream.

“We will also introduce a National Youth Service, wherein our youths will work in different companies while getting paid by the government. This will enable them to gain experience which will serve them well in the future.

“First, we must seek guidance and the blessings we yearn for from God. Those who seek victory ask for it from God. Only God can grant all our desires and enable us to achieve our goals. We know that God will bless Lesotho through a DC government,” Mr Mokhothu said.

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