MOVEMENT for Economic Change (MEC) leader, Selibe Mochoboroane, says service delivery and economic development would rank high on his party’s list of priorities if elected into power after the 3 June 2017 elections.
Addressing the MEC’s first rally in Maseru on Sunday, Mr Mochoboroane reiterated his call to thousands of supporters in Thetsane to ditch veteran politicians in favour of fresh blood when the country goes to the polls.
Mr Mochoboroane formed the MEC last month after leaving the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) of which he was secretary-general.
The youthful politician parted ways with the LCD after being suspended by party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing for mobilising support for the MEC while still being part of the governing coalition party.
Mr Mochoboroane was also fired from Small Business minister post by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili after leaving the LCD.
He told the gathering that mostly consisted of youths that the MEC had been carrying out surveys to ascertain the needs of Basotho. The surveys, Mr Mochoboroane said, would be the bedrock of the MEC’s elections manifesto.
“It came to our attention, while formulating our manifesto that Basotho have similar demands in their diverse communities and what comes first is speedy service delivery through decentralisation of services to local government structures that are well resourced with adequate personnel, vehicles and financial resources,” he said.
“It also came to our attention that many villages do not have access to electricity and we shall make this one of our priorities.”
Mr Mochoboroane also spoke of the need for Basotho to access clean water, saying many villagers continued to rely on unprotected water sources.
He said under an MEC government, there would be clear maintenance plans for all roads as well as speedy construction of access roads and bridges for communities far away from basic services like health care facilities.
An MEC government would also prioritise the empowerment of Basotho-owned businesses through the transformation of the Post Bank into a development bank that would finance small to medium and macro enterprises, Mr Mochoboroane said.
It was time, he declared, for young people to grab the leadership baton from elderly politicians “who had mismanaged the affairs of the country for far too long”.
Mr Mochoboroane said one clear indicator was the failure by Dr Mosisili’s seven-party coalition government to present the 2017-2018 budgetary estimates to the National Assembly after they lost a no-confidence motion that prompted the upcoming snap polls.
He said Dr Mosisili’s administration could not expect to present to parliament its own 2017-2018 programme of action when it had lost control of the National Assembly.
“Democracy is about rule by the majority, and the majority are the ones who can be trusted to represent the interests of the public and not a government that lacks majority support.
“Basotho are saying it is time for change; it is time to end political rhetoric and it is a time for the politics of transformation for development.
“We should accept that indeed we are going for snap elections after legislators passed a vote of no-confidence in the government.
“That no-confidence vote was a success because it is time for change. That had to happen so that this country can forget past politics that were characterised by polarisation and insulting one another.”
Although he agreed with the no-confidence motion sponsored by the four-party opposition alliance, Mr Mochoboroane said he was “shocked by their attempt to install prime ministers who would succeed each other after 18 months in office”.
This was in reference to the 2016 deal hammered by the opposition bloc that would have resulted in Alliance for Democrats (AD) leader Monyane Moleleki assuming office for the first 18 months after the deposition of the Dr Mosisili-led administration. Thereafter Mr Moleleki would be succeeded by All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane for another 18 months.
The plan was however thwarted when King Letsie III acceded to Dr Mosisili’s advice to dissolve parliament in the aftermath of the 1 March 2017 no-confidence vote.
“I did not agree with the opposition on the 18-month term of office for the prime minister. There is no way a government can have policies with the best interests of the country when it is led by a prime minister who will last for 18 months,” said Mr Mochoboroane.
“We hold the view that if this were to be tolerated, we would see in the next 10 years, a scenario where we would have created about five former prime ministers and all of them living on government expenses. Our economy would not bear such costs.
“We did not care whether it was Ntate Moleleki or Ntate Thabane in office, but our major bone of contention is that this would not be in the best interests of a fragile economy such as ours.”
He said such arrangements was further evidence why the old guard should just retire.
Dr Mosisili, the MEC leader said, had his chance to rule for more than 10 years and many other opposition leaders had also been ministers in his cabinet.
“Ntate Thabane has worked with Ntate Mosisili for more than 10 years as a minister.
“The same goes for Ntate Monyane Moleleki and Ntate Metsing who also worked with Ntate Mosisili for more than 10 years.
“What kind of changes can we expect them to come up with today? So we are saying that it’s time that we respectfully humble them and retire them graciously by not voting them into power once again.”
He said while they acknowledged their contributions, it was however, time for new thinking, new programmes and policies “as opposed to those of the past years that have failed us”.