We’ve nothing to celebrate: Theko

We’ve nothing to celebrate: Theko

Justice Maqelepo

MASERU

THE Principal Chief of Thaba-Bosiu, Khoabane Theko, says Lesotho has nothing to show for its 50 years of independence.

Chief Theko was speaking in the Senate during a motion to reflect Lesotho’s successes and failures 50 years after independence.

The chief, who is also the Senate’s chief whip, was particularly damning in his assessment of what he calls the congress parties failures. He said the parties had failed to walk in the footsteps of their founder, Ntsu Mokhehle.

Theko blamed the present political leadership for the country’s slow economic development. He said the congress movement destroyed the good initiatives of former Prime Minister Leabua Jonathan. He said during Jonathan’s rule Lesotho had milk and candle factories.

Theko complained that today there are no more projects like Mantša-tlala (poverty alleviation) which was famous for producing grain in large quantities.

“We had (our own) Lesotho Bank… these congress people are so cruel that they wanted to destroy everything that was started by Leabua Jonathan,” Theko said.

He told the Senate that there is no success story for Lesotho since independence.

“Even dictators like North Korea, dictators like China, when they say they celebrate 50 years, you can see what they are celebrating,” he shouted.

Instead of focusing on what they are voted for politicians are concerned about themselves while the majority suffer, he said.

“The Kamoli case is one of those struggles,” he said, accusing Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili of failing to explain why he is willing to shield army commander Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli at all costs.

He said Lesotho should trim its army to one that can focus on developmental projects like building clinics.

“We are a shameful country; we are a shameful territory,” he said.

He further accused the congress movement leaders of claiming to be Mokhehle’s followers but doing the opposite.

Mokhehle is widely regarded as the father of the congress movement in Lesotho.

He was the first democratically voted Prime Minister and ruled Lesotho from 1993 to 1997 with his BCP and later its break away, Lesotho Congress for Democracy.

Theko said Mokhehle never stole from the public purse like some in the present leadership of the congress movement.

He commended Mokhehle for expelling one corrupt minister for offering his firm a tender to supply goods to the government.

That minister, Theko claimed, was appointed back into the Cabinet after Mosisili succeeded Mokhehle.

“Ntate Mokhehle died without a car of his own. He is different from these people claiming to cherish his values,” he said.

Speaking during the session the Principal Chief of Likhoele, Lerotholi Seeiso, said the royalties Lesotho get for supplying water to South Africa can transform lives if they are given directly to community councils.

“Let the people be in the forefront to lead on budgeting this money,” Chief Seeiso said, criticising the central government for dictating how councils should budget their funds.

The royalties amount to M700 million per year, according to Water Affairs Minister Ralechate ’Mokose.

Government spokesperson, Communications Minister Khotso Letsatsi, rubbished Theko’s comments as baseless and politically charged.

Letsatsi said Lesotho is currently ruled under democratic principles hence people like Theko are free to air their opinions against the government.

He said it is well known that Theko “does not want this government like some of his friends do”.

“I don’t mean the chiefs, but I mean those people who have the same political mentality with this chief,” Letsatsi said.

“As for us, we are working overtime to ensure that Basotho are liberated from poverty. However, this will not happen overnight,” he said.

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