Setipa ventures into politics

Setipa ventures into politics

…former LNDC boss to stand for LCD in next year’s parliamentary elections 

Letuka Chafotsa

Former Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) boss Joshua Setipa—one of the Kingdom’s most prominent business faces—has  decided to take  the plunge into fulltime politics and will stand for a parliamentary seat on a Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) ticket  in the 28 February 2015 general election.

The political rumour-mill has been rife with information that Mr Setipa had sought to join the Democratic Congress (DC) and would seek a parliamentary seat on former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s party.

In fact, a recent report dispatched to media houses by national news agency, LENA, alleged that Mr Setipa (46) had contested DC parliamentary primaries and lost before deciding to jump onto the LCD bandwagon.

But Mr Setipa has vehemently denied this claim.

“I have always been a member of the LCD and at no stage did I ever seek any dalliance with the DC.  That is pure fabrication….,” Mr Setipa told the Lesotho Times from India yesterday, where he is travelling on business.

He was nevertheless non-committal on whether or not he would stand for Parliament on an LCD ticket, only preferring to say: “I will issue a statement about my political future in the LCD when I return home from my trip……..”

However, the Lesotho Times has also established that Mr Setipa never stood in any DC primaries but will instead, contest LCD primaries for the Maseru Central Constituency (Number 32).

DC Secretary General Ralechate ‘Mokose also dismissed information that Setipa had contested the party’s primaries. “We had only three candidates and there was no Mr Setipa in our primary elections for  Maseru Central #32 constituency.”

On the other hand, LCD acting secretary-general, Tšeliso Mokhosi, said he was not yet in a position to confirm whether or not Mr Setipa was contesting the seat on an LCD ticket.

“The LCD primaries are still underway at branch level and I will only be able to comment  on Mr  Setipa’s candidature, if he will indeed stand, when I have received a report from the constituencies,” said Mr Mokhosi.

But the Lesotho Times can categorically state that Mr Setipa has entered fulltime politics and will contest LCD primaries in the constituency where he lives.

Information that Mr Setipa was seeking to represent the DC in the snap election could have been prompted by the fact that he is widely perceived to be very close to Dr Mosisili, whose government appointed him to the LNDC in the first place.

Mr Setipa hit news headlines when he was initially suspended from the helm of the LNDC—the  country’s premier trade and investment promotion showcase—by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s coalition government late last year.  This after running the venerable organisation for two years beginning January 2012, after joining it from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) where he had held a senior post as an advisor to the WTO director-general.

Both the LNDC and Mr Setipa subsequently announced that they had reached mutual consent to amicably part ways early this year.

An LCD official who refused to be named said Mr Setipa’s candidature would be good for both his party and Lesotho in general.

“It’s good for us to have people who first cut their teeth in business and respectable international organisations joining  fulltime politics….,” said the official.

“Part of the problem with Lesotho is we are run by career-politicians whose first jobs were in politics and have no exposure to the outside world. Some would not even have run a tuck-shop before getting senior posts, resulting in the monumental ineptitude that so often saddles this country ……”


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