MASERU — Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili on Sunday promised to create thousands of jobs and education opportunities for Basotho youths.
Mosisili made the remarks while addressing the Democratic Congress (DC)’s maiden rally at Ha-Foso in Berea that was attended by an estimated 20 000 supporters.
The rally was seen as a litmus test whether Mosisili, who broke away from the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party on February 28, still retains the backing of the grassroots.
But analysts who spoke to the Lesotho Times yesterday said people should not read much into the numbers as the future of Lesotho will be decided in the privacy of ballot box on May 26.
Mosisili however appeared to read the mood differently claiming this was the biggest political rally ever witnessed in Lesotho.
“To you journalists, I say go and report honestly. Report that you’ve never seen a rally this big since you were born,” Mosisili said.
“No political party has ever seen a rally this big. Go and report truthfully.”
Mosisili said if elected on May 26, the DC will strive to advance the youths’ interests by creating jobs, education opportunities and advancing technology.
“DC will work hard to give Basotho youths all available opportunities to explore and exploit their God-given talents,” he said.
The venue, at the foothills of Thaba-ea-Mali Mountain, is of historical significance as it was here that revered statesman and Basotho Congress Party founder, Dr Ntsu Mokhehle, held his first rally in 1992 upon his return from a 20-year exile.
What was particularly striking was that the majority of the people at the rally were youths between the ages of 18 and 35 from all the 80 constituencies.
Mosisili was flanked by his deputy Monyane Moleleki, secretary general Ralechate ‘Mokose, other members of the interim national executive committee, cabinet ministers and his wife ‘Mathato Mosisili.
Also present to entertain the crowds was a famo music group as well as prominent local artiste Stlofa, who mesmerised the crowds from a red and black stage erected for the purpose.
The atmosphere was laid-back and relaxed, as was Mosisili’s speech which was a departure from the vitriolic tirades that had come to characterise his political rallies during his tenure in the LCD.
A conciliatory Mosisili urged DC supporters to desist from confrontation with the opposition, particularly the LCD.
“Stay away from your peers who remained with the LCD. Refrain from arguing with them or responding to their taunts. We left peacefully and left them in peace,” Mosisili said.
“If they confront you in a bid to start an argument, do not engage them or allow yourselves to be susceptible to their taunts. Just walk away.”
Mosisili blamed his former colleagues in the LCD for causing the split adding they had insisted there was “no way the LCD could be salvaged”.
“They said that in front of the church leaders who had called us in a last bid to save the LCD. They said they saw no solution in sight and that we should leave them in peace,” Mosisili said to cheers from the crowds.
“But they are now crying over spilt milk. Leaders who do not listen to the nation, block its path and disrespect it are playing with fire. People leave them to wander alone in the wilderness.”
“Hey boys, how is it today? You have been exposed,” Mosisili said.
“The founder of the congress movement in Lesotho, Ntsu Mokhehle, used to teach us that those who rule should take orders from the governed. We’re heirs bred from that wisdom,” Mosisili said.
“Let God’s light emanate from you and attract more members to the DC merely with the power of the things you say. Do not say things to shame and embarrass others.”
Mosisili told the crowd that their hope for a brighter future was in the DC because the party upheld democratic principles.
“To the youth gathered here in large numbers today, you are the future generation of leaders. We’re simply holding fort for you, to some day pass the baton to you,” Mosisili said.
“We’re in leadership for the advancement of the youth in Lesotho. Your hope is in the DC. Our manifesto elaborates clearly how the DC intends giving a bright future to you.”