DEMOCRATIC Congress (DC) leader and Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili says his party will prioritise the welfare of senior citizens and persons living with disabilities if they are re-elected to government.
Dr Mosisili said this at a rally early this week in Kolonyama constituency in the Leribe district to drum up support for his party ahead of the 3 June elections.
The elections were announced by His Majesty King Letsie III in the aftermath of last month’s successful parliamentary no confidence motion by the opposition bloc against the seven parties’ coalition government.
Approximately 1200 mainly DC supporters attended the rally together with a sprinkling of Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) members.
The LCD, whose leader, Mothetjoa Metsing is deputy Prime Minister, agreed to an electoral alliance with the DC aimed at ensuring the two congress parties win enough seats to forge a coalition government.
Dr Mosisili spoke of the need to explore ways of improving the welfare of senior citizens including increasing their monthly pensions which are currently as low as M450.
“We are looking at ways to increase the elderly’s pension and I am saying to those who will be elected to form a congress government that one of the few things that we can do other than increasing their pension is to give them cards which will allow them to board public transport without paying,” Dr Mosisili said.
“The transport owners will be taken on board in this initiative where they shall record that they ferried an elderly passenger and later claim from the relevant ministry with the corroboration of the evidence gathered from the card.”
He said the initiative would also be extended to the disabled and “government shall see to it that there are grants readily available”.
He said the visually impaired who had skills would also be given priority in job placements “because it is said that in order for one to eat they shall have to sweat”.
He said a better life could only be achieved if the electorate voted for the congress parties, adding, “Voting for the nationals (nationalist parties) is as good as voting for death”.
One of the DC supporters, 90 year old Majoro Majoro expressed confidence in Dr Mosisili’s leadership, adding, “I believe that even now he is not just making empty promises by saying we shall be issued cards to board public transport for free”.
“It is time we were appreciated as the senior citizens of this country,” said Mr Majoro, who is also the councilor for Manka village in the constituency.
He further stated that the free transport initiative would be a welcome solution to the financial constraints that had often made it difficult or impossible to visit some of his relatives.
Another senior citizen, 82 year old ’Maboitumelo Moramang expressed gratitude to Dr Mosisili’s administration for providing them with pension grants, saying this had made life bearable.
“I don’t know what my life would be like were it not for Mosisili’s money.
“I can now afford a decent meal and save a bit though it’s not enough, but honestly who else would have given it to me when my own kids have only seen me as a burden over the years. I am going to vote for Mosisili come hail or sunshine,” Ms Moramang said as she wiped her eyes with a snuff-soiled handkerchief.