No to MPs salary hike

No to MPs salary hike

WE are not surprised that there has been a fierce backlash from the public following the disclosure that the government was mulling doubling the salaries of MPs.
Prime Minister Thomas Thabane says he has ordered Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro to set up an inter-ministerial task force to look into a new salary structure and perks for MPs.
If the proposal is endorsed, as it is likely to, MPs will earn a mouth-watering M74 000 a month.
That would be obscene by any measure.

The MPs are also demanding that they be entitled to pensions after serving two-year terms, down from the current five years.
In a country battling chronic poverty where the majority lives on less than one United States dollar a day, we find the proposal to increase MPs salaries highly imprudent if not downright offensive.
What the proposal does is to project the government as insensitive to the plight of its own people.
It will also open up the government to vicious attacks that they are in power to line up their own pockets while giving scant regard to the welfare of their own people.
That criticism will sting.

But our MPs and the government need to be reminded about their commitment to improving the welfare of the people when they took the reins last year.
This government has been in the forefront in preaching a message of austerity. It must live up to its own promises.
Finance Minister Majoro has been at pains to express concerns about government profligacy. He has also eloquently spoke about the need for belt-tightening.
That must start with our MPs.

We are fully aware that Lesotho’s civil servants, who include teachers, police officers and prisons’ workers, have over the last couple of months been up in arms demanding salary increases.
The wobbly explanation from the government was that there was no money.
It would send a very wrong message to the public were the government to suddenly find money somewhere to double the MPs salaries.The damage to the government’s squeaky clean image would be immense.

At M37 000 a month, our MPs are no doubt among some of the best paid individuals in Lesotho. If they cannot live within their means, then tough luck.
We hope Finance Minister Majoro will be able to gently persuade his colleagues in government to reverse this ill-advised proposal.
If that proposal stands Lesotho risks sending the wrong message to its international partners who have stood with the country during trying times.
Instead of being driven by narrow personal interests, Basotho expect our MPs to come up with creative ways to fight the rampant poverty and rising inequality in Lesotho.
How do we create jobs for the thousands of our jobless youths?

How do we get Lesotho working again so that we stop relying on food handouts from international relief agencies?
These are the issues that our MPs must focus on to get Lesotho going.
While this debate is raging, it has been met with deathly silence from the opposition. We would have expected them to have quickly denounced the proposal.
Yet, they too have been quiet. The reason?

They too stand to benefit from this unexpected windfall.
So much for the vacuous state of our politics.

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