Rakuoane blasts Thabane over pensions

Rakuoane blasts Thabane over pensions

MASERU – POPULAR Front for Democracy (PFD) leader Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane has accused Prime Minister Thomas Thabane of backtracking on his electoral promise to award old age pensions to 60-year olds.
Rakuoane said this in his keynote address at a birthday party for exiled Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader Mothetjoa Metsing in Ladybrand on Sunday.

Rakuoane said the nation was hoping that people who had turned 60 years old would be included in the Old Age Pension with effect from this year’s financial year.
“But the (finance) minister did not utter even a single word about the inclusion of 60-year-olds in his budget speech last week,” Rakuoane said.
“Who said people from the age of 60 years would get the pension?” he asked.
“It is Ntate Thabane,” he said.

He said people in villages are asking questions and MPs from opposition parties are having a tough time trying to explain issues as they were not the ones who made the electoral promise.

During his campaigns for the June 3 general election, Thabane told his supporters that if elected into power his government would lower the age for qualifying pensioners to 60 years. The Old Age Pension scheme in Lesotho starts at the age of 70.
Each beneficiary earns M700 per month.

“Some people thought the money would fall from heaven as manna,” Rakuoane said.
He said the country is going through tough economic times.
“Today people should know that the money comes from them,’’ he said.

Rakuoane appealed to those in exile to return home so they could deal with Lesotho’s political challenges “collaboratively”.
He said they are struggling on the issues of governance in the absence of those in exile.
Metsing and his deputy, Tšeliso Mokhosi, fled Lesotho last year claiming their lives were in danger.

Mokhosi says he was brutally tortured by the police in connection with the killing of a police constable, Mokalekale Khetheng, a charge he denies.
Rakuoane said the exiled leaders should return home so that the blatant excesses taking place in the country can come to a gentle stop.
Hundreds of LCD supporters attended the birthday celebration.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman, Thabo Thakalekoala, could not be reached for comment last night.
The government’s spokesperson Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane said people should not generalise when they talk about national issues.
He said politicians must be able to distinguish between statements from the government and from political parties.

Chief ‘Maseribane, who is also the leader of Basotho National Party, said there is nowhere where their coalition government said it would slash the Old Age Pension from 65 to 60 years.

Majara Molupe

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