Metsing pleads for unity

Metsing pleads for unity

MASERU – THE late Dr Ntsu Mokhehle, founder of Lesotho’s oldest political party, Basutoland Congress Party (BCP), has been described as salt that seasoned local politics.
This was said by one of his political descendants, the leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) Mothetjoa Metsing at the centenary celebration of his life last Saturday.

Metsing said he had hoped that Prime Minister Thomas Thabane would attend the celebration for them to start building national unity together under the spirit of what he described as Mokhehle-ism.
He said it is his hope that the nation can unite after years of destructive polarisation over political affiliation.
He said there would always be one of Dr Mokhehle’s descendants in every government.
“He is salt to our politics,” Metsing said.

Metsing, who returned to Lesotho from exile in South Africa last week to take part in the celebration, claimed that failure by the government to provide him with official security showed the lack of unity as espoused under the spirit of Mokhehle-ism.
This was the second time that Metsing had returned to Lesotho.
He first came back home in November last year and returned to South Africa during the same week.
He had earlier spent over a year in exile after he ran away shortly after the current government took power in June 2017, claiming his life was in danger.
Metsing said he had attended the celebration without any security despite promises by the government that he would be provided with security during the day.
He said he had informed both Thabane and his deputy Monyane Moleleki of his travel plans in advance.
Metsing said in furtherance of the qualities of Mokhehle, there should be a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) “because no one would be insulted in politics”.

He said the TRC would map the way forward and bury the past, although he insisted that he was not avoiding facing charges in the courts.
“We want justice,” Metsing said.
Metsing is facing fraud charges after the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) said it suspected him of stealing public money when he was still deputy prime minister under Thabane.
Metsing said the TRC was established in many countries leading to acts of forgiveness, citing the example of South Africa were a TRC was formed after the end of Apartheid.

He said the commission should also determine issues of payment of compensation for those who would have been wronged.
“All over the world during reforms, the exiled return home while the jailed are released from the prisons. Why are we not doing the same here?” he said.

Metsing said Lesotho’s problems were rooted in the lack of collective thinking, collective actions and collective access to resources.
These problems, according to him, are created by individuals “so we really have to change our thinking”.
“God gave us a chance to reform our country but since we lack collectivity, it is not going to be possible at all. We need to heal our country,” he said.

Metsing asked for forgiveness where he wronged LCD members.
He criticised the African National Congress’ erection of a monument of Lesotho’s former premier Leabua Jonathan.
He asked “when are they going to talk of building Mokhehle’s monument?”
Metsing returned from exile on November 25 and was given two army officers as his bodyguards as part of an agreement between government and the opposition.

Metsing has insisted on being granted state security as part of his conditions to return to Lesotho to participate in the reform process.
Speaking at the same occasion, a former leading luminary in South Africa’s Pan Africanist Congress of Azania, Motsoko Pheko, said Lesotho’s history should be told truthfully.

“It should not be distorted or manipulated,” he said.
He said Mokhehle was born in a comfortable family. His father, Cicerone Mokhehle, was the head man of Teya-Teyaneng Ha-Mokhehle where Mokhehle was born on 26 December 1918.
“His father was also a teacher of high calibre and class. He became one of the earliest Lesotho school inspectors,” Pheko said.
Mokhehle’s mother was ’Maseeeng Mokhehle.

Pheko said Mokhehle later married ’Maneo Mokhehle, who was a nurse by profession.
They were blessed with two daughters Topollo and Mosonngoa and a son Tšeliso.
“He was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He lacked nothing and while at Fort Hare University, he obtained his Master’s Degree in Science with distinction,” he said.

He said Mokhehle easily got jobs with good salaries both in Lesotho and South Africa and he was courageous and fearless.
He said as a result of his love to see African people liberated from colonialism, he was expelled from Fort Hare in 1942 but was later allowed to complete his studies.

“In 1954 he was fired from the Basutoland High School where he was teaching. The British colonial government disapproved of his political beliefs for this country and for Africa as a whole,” Pheko said.
Basutoland High School is now called Lesotho High School.

“The ultimate measure of a great man or woman is not where he or she stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he or she stands in times of insecurity and danger,” Pheko said.
He praised Mokhehle as a nation builder with a passion for education citing Basutoland Congress Party’s history of organising scholarships for many Basotho to rebuild Lesotho.
“He was the first political leader in Southern Africa to meet leaders such as President Ahmed Sekou Toure of Guinea and Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere. He said Mokhehle always fought to preserve the legacy of King Moshoeshoe I.

Nkheli Liphoto

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