I am ready

I am ready

MASERU – Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro, are you interested in becoming the prime minister in the event that the incumbent leaves office and you are nominated for the position?
The announcement of plans by our Prime Minister, Ntate Tom, to retire as the Prime Minister, has galvanised the new National Executive Committee, the ABC Parliamentary caucus, and ABC membership, and others to apply their minds to the issue of succession of Ntate Thabane as the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Our new and united NEC has led the way to consider this matter and is presently consulting the Parliamentary Caucus, including how the selection of candidates will be conducted.
I have previously communicated my interest to be part of finding solutions for Lesotho’s governance and economic challenges and will accept any such opportunity to serve.
I will work closely with the newly appointed NEC, the parliamentary caucus, and other ABC structures, as well as consulting the wider Basotho nation at all stages will ensure that the ABC restores trust it may have lost during the difficult times.

How would you rate your support among MPs for this position?
Until this process has reached some definitive conclusion, and it is difficult to know when, it is very difficult for me to rate the level of support.

What qualities do you think the next prime minister should have to take this country to another level?
Lesotho is experiencing considerable political, security, crime and economic difficulties. Ntate Thabane has contributed considerably and decisively to finding solutions to these problems as the Prime Minister, but as he has indicated, he has decided that someone younger should lead the process of continuing to find solutions.

Leading government would require the ability to persuade Lesotho’s political class to place the nation first, to make it the priority, both in the short and long term, to reduce and tamper the frictions that are so fraught in Lesotho’s political movements; and to observe and promote principles of good governance.
Cultivating consensus and leading on the need to complete Lesotho’s reform programme should be key amongst the qualities the future Prime Minister should have.
But the Prime Minister, no matter how talented he or she may be, will not succeed to transform this nation without maintaining a close relationship with the political structures that have placed their faith in them. Such a close relationship will be the source of the credibility and authenticity a future Prime Minister must possess.

Do you think you possess those qualities?

What are the major problems facing Lesotho at the moment?
I have already outlined these problems, but key amongst them are economic challenges that emanate from past policy mistakes, outside factors that Lesotho has absolutely no control over (SACU and Economic Developments in South Africa), political instability, as well as long-term structural challenges that make it difficult for Lesotho to adapt to short-term challenges. Every Mosotho should live a healthy and knowledgeable life.

These aspirations are entrenched in the National Vision, but both Lesotho’s political and economic structures are challenged and cannot deliver this goal unless there are considerable structural changes, drastic reforms as well as a more consultative and inclusive approach to policy.

What have we done wrong and what will it take to put this country back on the path to prosperity?
Lesotho has not, for more than half a century, really addressed its core problems of dependence on livelihood sources it does not control (mining remittances as well as SACU revenue). Likewise, pervasive poverty and hunger have created volatile politics that have fostered political and economic instability.

Poverty and hunger create short-sighted leadership which in turn breeds more poverty and hunger. Collective leadership encompassing the Prime Minister, our NEC, Parliamentary Caucus, and our coalition partners should break this dangerous cycle to chart a new path to real solutions to both bread and butter issues and strategic goals.

What will be your first major decisions if elected as Prime Minister?
This question is truly really putting the cart before the horse. Briefly, though, the immediate task for any Prime Minister of Lesotho now should be to restore confidence in the policy integrity and execution in the economy.

Completing the reform agenda and delivering public services (growing food, providing water, maintaining and breaking new roads, connecting electricity to schools, clinics and households) should be the priority for any Prime Minister in 2020.  Consultation and agreement with coalition partners will be critical to any successful implementation of this programme. That said, the contributions and views of coalition partners should not be ignored.

You are on record as having said the economy is in a bad shape. What policy changes would you implement if elected?
Yes, the Lesotho economy in the last two and half years has undergone unprecedented challenges driven in part by the inability of the small and fragile domestic economy to cope with negative regional external factors. But notwithstanding the political and economic challenges, the outlook for the next two years is promising.

On the jobs, the pipeline for new jobs in the near-to-medium term projection stands at more than 40 000 new jobs in manufacturing, agri-business and construction.
With appropriate reforms and new governance and regulatory institutions, the cannabis industry is likely to create more than 60 000 alone in the next two years. I should also indicate that interest in new investments has continued despite the challenges already cited.

The ABC looks like a fractured political party at the moment. What measures will you implement to unite it?
The responsibility to unite ABC will be the task of all members of the ABC led by the NEC, working in consultation with and directing all other structures of the ABC. The unprecedented step by warring factions of the ABC to unite the party is a step in the right direction but it will not be enough.
The deep fissures created in the last 12 months will not be easy to heal quickly. The structures should recognise this, and patiently work to heal the wounds.

Staff Reporter

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