Rantšo blasts govt on vaccine saga

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RCL Leader Keke Rants’o

Limpho Sello

REFORMED Congress of Lesotho leader, Keketso Rantšo has accused outgoing Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and his coalition government partners of paying lip service to welfare issues resulting in the otherwise preventable deaths of Basotho citizens.

Ms Rantšo said it was time Basotho voted out  parties like Dr Mosisili’s Democratic Congress (DC), promising her party would prioritise the welfare concerns of Basotho if they are voted into office in the 3 June elections.

Ms Rantšo was speaking at an RCL rally early this week at Matukeng in the Leribe district ahead of the June polls which were announced last month by His Majesty King Letsie III in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Ninth Parliament which followed a successful no confidence motion against the Dr Mosisili-led seven parties’ coalition government.

Ms Rantšo said although the security issue in Lesotho was very serious matter, some Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and DC supporters had booed her when she sought to speak about the issue on Saturday at the funeral of Rammapane Maleke who had remained with the LCD after Ms Rantšo departed to form the RCL in 2015.

“When I raised the security situation in this country I was booed and they didn’t even want me to finish my sentence,” Ms Rantšo said, adding, “I immediately remembered that ntate Monyane Moleleki told us that the same government employed LCD and DC followers in the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) and Lesotho Mounted Police Services (LMPS)”.

“For this reason, the security situation in this country will not change for the better as long as the DC leader remains the Prime Minister and the LCD leader (Mothetjoa Metsing) remains the Deputy Prime Minister.

“They have taught their supporters not to be concerned about the killings of citizens because they are not their supporters and those who deserve to die are not their supporters.”

She therefore urged the electorate to “go and make a positive change and remove dictators who have suppressed this country and its people for a long time and promoted the killings of innocent Basotho.”

Ms Rantšo also took a swipe at government and Health Minister Molotsi Monyamane over the on-going measles and rubella vaccine saga where four children have reportedly died from the adverse effects of the immunisation programme.

The Ministry of Health embarked on a nationwide measles and rubella vaccination campaign in February targeting children aged from 9 months to 14 years. The 14-day campaign immunised 533 546 children which represented 79 percent of the targeted children.

However, hundreds of parents have since claimed their children were adversely affected by the vaccines with side-effects that include severe body rashes, high fever and coughing.

Four children have reportedly died from the side effects, with the latest dying at Queen ‘Mamohato Memorial Hospital a week ago. However, there has not yet been any postmortem confirming the virus as the cause of death.

“It is only yesterday when our children were vaccinated for measles and rubella and soon after that there was an outcry by parents whose children were seen to have various side effects that were believed to be caused by the vaccines,” Ms Rantšo said.

“Following the concerns from the parents the Minister, Dr Monyamane alleged that pictures of sick babies that were posted on social media were of white people and foreigners, instead of doing the most decent thing of apologising.

“Surprisingly, the pictures were of children admitted at Tšepong Hospital and one would wonder whether there is Tšepong hospital overseas and a whole minister stands there to humiliate the parents when he was supposed to come up with an explanation,” Ms Rantšo said.

She said Dr Monyamane’s attitude suggested that he took other people’s illness for granted and perhaps government officials’ children were vaccinated at hospitals outside Lesotho “while we are stuck here with our children”.

“Ntate Monyamane make an introspection of yourself and understand that you are a minister paid from taxes paid by the same parents you humiliated.

Ntate Mosisili and Ntate Metsing make an introspection of yourselves as well. We are tired because if it is not gun-related killings it’s the measles outbreak.

“These children are cared for by their grandparents,” Ms Rantšo said.

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