DEPUTY Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing says attempts by some “detractors” to sabotage his visit to the United Kingdom to solicit for investment fell flat as the trip was a success.
Addressing a press briefing on the outcome of the tour yesterday, Mr Metsing said their objective of wooing investors in the European nation was achieved despite letters written by people claiming to represent Basotho “which sought to tarnish the country’s image”.
Mr Metsing led a delegation consisting of government officials and business executives from 4-6 April 2016 in a tour dubbed Lesotho Investment Forum 2016. Among the sectors for which investment was sought were mining, tourism, agriculture and infrastructure.
However, a person claiming to represent Basotho and using the name David Ndlovu wrote letters to the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council and the Polish Chamber of Commerce warning them not to invest in Lesotho “for their safety”.
Dated 4 April 2016, the letters allege that the government was not upholding the rule of law and that the army was not submissive to civilian authority. They also claim that the “deteriorating political and security issues” in the country had resulted in the European Union withdrawing budgetary support to the Mountain Kingdom.
However, Mr Metsing said the letters had no effect on their investment drive as it was a resounding success.
“The reception we had was as though Ndlovu had never written those false statements,” he said.
“Letters such as those written by Ndlovu are not in our country’s best interests because they spread false information about the state of governance in Lesotho. In fact, such letters can make investors uncertain about Lesotho.”
The deputy premier said patriotic Basotho should continue to protect the image of the nation, adding that the media had a responsibility to help build the nation.
“What I find shocking is that there are people who circulate such evil correspondence with their identities concealed, yet the media ends up falling prey to these plots by broadcasting and publishing such statements,” said Mr Metsing.
“The media will end up getting into trouble. We all have a responsibility to promote the nation. We might not always see issues from the same perspective, but we have to fulfil our roles.”
He expressed hope that the identity of the author of the letters would be revealed.
“We hope that those who are supposed to make investigations are doing so and all other defamatory statements would be attended to satisfactorily,” Mr Metsing said.
The deputy premier also said he held discussions with the newly-elected Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland.
“We urged the Commonwealth to be ready to step in and assist our country on issues of constitutional and public service reforms among others,” he said.