I’m sorry, says  Metsing

I’m sorry, says Metsing

MASERU – The Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Mothetjoa Metsing, says he is sorry that he was part of a government that deeply hurt Professor Nqosa Mahao.
Metsing was speaking a debating session organised by the Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) in Maseru last Friday.
“Professor (Nqosa Mahao) you were one of the people who was hurt by the process therefore I am asking for your forgiveness,” Metsing said.

Professor Mahao, who now leads a faction of the All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, has in the past accused Metsing and former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili of masterminding the assassination of his brother, Lt Gen Maaparankoe Maho, by some soldiers in June 2015.
Metsing was the deputy premier at the time of Mahao’s killing. There was also a general perception that Metsing held a huge sway within the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) then under the command of Lt Gen Tlali Kamoli.
Metsing’s deputy in the LCD, Tšeliso Mokhosi, was the Defence Minister.
This was the first time that Metsing had expressed regret at the killing of Mahao.
Professor Mahao did not refer to Metsing’s apology when he spoke at the session.
The Mahao family are suing Mosisili, Mokhosi and Lt Gen Kamoli in their personal capacities over the killing of their son.

Metsing said he was part of a government that had enraged many people and they need a forum where they will be able to tell the truth and plead for forgiveness.
He said the issue of political stability in Lesotho was so huge that it could only be addressed effectively by a Government of National Unity (GNU).
Metsing said Lesotho needs a Truth and Reconciliation Commission too because since 1970 some people were hurt but those issues were never addressed.
He said there is no need to say Basotho who are members of congress parties and those who belong to national parties cannot unite just as oil and water cannot mix.
“Lesotho is one country and Basotho are one,” he said.

He said there are soldiers who are in prison who are accused of perpetrating crimes but other soldiers who committed similar crimes were now at the helm of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF).
“Such issues also need to be addressed,” he said, arguing that only a GNU can resolve these issues.
He said a GNU can also be a transitional government.
Metsing said they are glad that the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) also wants a transitional government that will lead the nation to the reforms, although it does not specifically call it a GNU.
The LCD is the only party that has come out openly in its push for a GNU.

Metsing said some people want to perceive the GNU as an LCD ‘thing’ “but it came a long way”.
He said the 2012 coalition government was done just to dethrone the then premier Pakalitha Mosisili while the current one only wanted to replace the seven-party coalition government, still led by Mosisili.
He argued that the GNU should have a clear focus of things that should be prioritised instead of just being used as a tool to replace governments.
Metsing said a GNU happens when there is an understanding that some issues could not be resolved easily and also when there is a crisis in the country.

He said in a GNU, the government will just continue its work without elections taking place until the crisis is over or what is needed is achieved.
“The LCD agrees with the idea of a GNU but it should have consensus,” Metsing said.
He said in 2015 it was realized that party conflicts always affected government affairs.
“To solve the crisis we need a GNU as it will be more relevant and understood through debates and dialogue,” Metsing said.
Metsing said with a GNU in place it would be easy to review the country’s security institutions and deal with their problems once and for all.
And the GNU has to be ad hoc and be able to address the crisis because right now we are sitting on a time-bomb.

The deputy leader of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Professor Nqosa Mahao, said he could engage the topic of a GNU and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) each as a stand-alone topic.
“We need platforms to discuss such issues at length,” he said.
Prof Mahao said Lesotho is battling a socio-economic crisis which has deepened over the years.
He said the other problem was leadership, saying “Lesotho does not have leaders that focus on long termism but on short termism”.
“Lesotho lacks visionary leadership,” Prof Mahao said.
He said the political systems and structures made in the last 30 years are at the heart of the socio-economic challenges.

Prof Mahao said in the 1990’s there was structural adjustment where the country dispensed with the parastatals that it had.
“We had to throw people into the streets,” he said.
He said the funds that were supposed to be saved went into enhancing the political elites.
Prof Mahao said the current ministers’ salaries are way too much compared with those in the past.
He said in 1966 Parliament had 60 members and after Maseru was torched, the number was increased from 65 to 120.
“Our Cabinet is the biggest per capita,” he said.
He said three percent of the national budget is reserved to pay salaries and other commitments for 153 people being MPs, senators and ministers.

Prof Mahao said what triggers socio-economic crisis is the fact that politicians and those close to them aggregated the opportunities and funds and that is why job opportunities are scarce in the country.
He said the crisis is politically driven because politicians marginalize everyone else.
He said in this country alone, “only the political industry and traditional Sesotho beer grow because of lack of control”.
“Parties collapse because of poor governance and they also break away because that creates an economy for politicians alone,” he said.
“This is because after forming a party, one gets money.”
He said party leaders create wealth for themselves through entering parliament via proportional representation.

Prof Mahao said a grand coalition and the GNU could also be an option as the Constitution allows it.
He said reforms are not a big deal as it is a simple review of the Constitution and other laws.
He said reforms are simple and could be done without even making a lot of noise that is done now.
The Movement for Economic Change (MEC) deputy leader, Tšepang Tšita-Mosena, said they want a transitional government.
She said they are not happy with a GNU as it will remove the opposition which makes those in government accountable.

Nkheli Liphoto


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