‘MPs should rise above party politics’

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MP for Qaqatu # 60, under the Democratic congress-DC,  Lethusang Kompi
MP for Qaqatu # 60, under the Democratic congress-DC, Lethusang Kompi

’Marafaele Mohloboli

MEMBERS of Parliament (MPs) have been called upon to rise above the political fray and prioritise the national interest for the benefit of their electors.

Qaqatu #60 constituency MP, Lethusang Kompi, said legislators should not be used by the leaders of their political parties to engage in activities that are detrimental to the interests of the electorate.

The Democratic Congress (DC) MP made the remark during an interview with the Lesotho Times on the side-lines of a round table meeting on women empowerment and gender equality at the High-level Midterm Review of the Implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) in Antalya, Turkey.

The conference sought to, among others, find ways to overcome the structural challenges faced by least developed countries (LDCs) in order to eradicate poverty and achieve internationally-agreed development goals.

Issues of gender equality were deliberated on during the conference to assess the progress LDCs made in implementing a comprehensive set of actions towards women’s empowerment.

Mr Kompi said opposition MPs were misguided in disrupting the tabling of a report on child mortality by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) last month.

The MPs – from the All Basotho Convention, Basotho National Party and Reformed Congress of Lesotho – had demanded the safe return of their leaders from exile and for the government to implement the recommendations of a SADC inquiry into Lesotho’s instability.

However, according to Mr Kompi, the legislators were pandering to the interests of their party leaders and not of their electors when they disrupted parliamentary proceedings.

“I asked some of the honourable members why they acted that way, and some of them told me that they were directed to do so by their leaders,” he said.

“Members of parliament should rise above their political affiliations for the betterment of the lives of the people who voted them into parliament. Once we are MPs, it means we represent Basotho and not our parties.”

Mr Kompi, who is also a member of the parliamentary portfolio committee on the Social Cluster, said while Lesotho had made a lot of progress in terms of gender parity, a lot more needed to be done to empower women.

“As a country, we are on the right track on women empowerment issues, but we still need to do more. We need more women in positions of authority to ensure their needs are catered for.”

He said men should be more attentive to women’s sexual and reproductive health needs.

“Men should be more understanding of their partners and listen to their concerns, especially during pregnancy. If more men support their wives during pregnancy, the infant mortality rate would be reduced since a number of expecting mothers die during childbirth because of stress,” the MP said.

He said access to health facilities was another challenge for many women in Lesotho since they had to travel long distances to get assistance.

“Those women who manage to reach the health centres sometimes encounter the challenge of poor service delivery. The poor services fuel the high mother-infant mortality rates as some of the expecting mothers opt to deliver in their homes to avoid belittlement and discrimination,” said Mr Kompi.

“We need to urgently improve our health delivery system to save more lives and graduate from the least developed country status.”

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