By Maleshoane Ratsebe
The Democratic Congress (DC) deputy leader, Motlalentoa Letsosa has, for the first time, unveiled the party’s campaign manifesto to a score of journalists gathering for a press club at MISA Lesotho on Thursday.
The DC is the second major ruling party after the All-Basotho Convention (ABC) in the current grand coalition government. The government’s tenure ends this year, ahead of the 2022 National Assembly elections slated around September.
Now, following the launch of the DC manifesto for the coming elections in Berea a few days back, MISA Lesotho invited the party leader to come and unveil it before the journalists at the press club.
Speaking at the event, Mr Letsosa highlighted the following as some of the key areas of focus by the DC that informed their manifesto; decentralisation of government, empowerment and improvement of working environment for community leaders, commercial farming, trade, education, security, health and media.
Mr Letsosa said the solution to a plethora of challenges related to service delivery in Lesotho, was to fully implement decentralisation of government to ensure services are closer to the people.
“The best way to ensure Basotho’s immediate needs are met is to ensure that impeding challenges are addressed at the core,” he said, adding where the government is decentralised “services are closer to the people and this solves many challenges faced by our communities”.
If voted back into power, Mr Letsosa promises that the DC will empower and improve working environment for area chiefs and community councillors.
“It is embarrassing to observe the working conditions for area chiefs. Some of them use the same room they sleep and use for other home chores as their office. A villager who needs services from the chief is required to bring along a pen and page for that because office of the chief cannot afford those,” Mr Letsosa charged.
He was asked by the journalists how the DC would fix this and many other promises the party is promising when they had failed to address the challenges in the current regime.
Mr Letsosa himself is home affairs minister in the current administration that followed 2017 elections.
“In the current regime, the DC has solved several challenges that we promised to address when we were in the opposition. For example, we had promised to solve the wool and mohair fracas where farmers were being robbed of their product daylight by the then government working together with a Chinese businessman.
“Today, those farmers have been paid what was due to them. We, the DC, ensured that government paid those farmers who being owed by Stone Shi (the Chinese businessman). Stone Shi now owes the government for that. He will eventually pay back the government himself,” Mr Letsosa said.
He continued: “Even the promises we make today, we will ensure to live to fulfil them after the elections, if we are voted into power”.
MISA Lesotho is funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) under the programme that focuses on access to information ahead of the 2022 elections.
Mr Lekhetho Makhanya Ntsukunyane, the National Director for MISA Lesotho, has indicated that they are focusing on political party manifestoes by pressing the parties vying for the elections make them easily accessible to voters.
Mr Ntsukunyane said plans for national development were entailed in political party manifestoes, “and if those manifestoes are not availed and made easily accessible to voters, the voters may cast their votes uniformed, leading to voting for a wrong government that the national itself cannot be able to hold it accountable tomorrow”.
MISA Lesotho intends to hold a series of press clubs hosting other political parties ahead of the elections.