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The business of ice-cream



MASERU – WITH just M150, Tšitso Moshoeshoe started a small-time business selling ice cream from a bucket on the streets in 2016.

Today, he sees himself graduating into the big time and becoming an ice cream entrepreneur of note after moving his business into a big building.

Moshoeshoe is the founder and the manager of Big Belly Ice Cream located in Khubetsoana.

The business has diversified from serving simple ice cream flavours in the streets to a variety of ice cream flavours that include chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and Neapolitan.

The Big Belly Ice Cream does not only come in various flavours, it also entices customers by providing for their desired personal tastes ranging from sour to sweet.

“I proudly tailor-make flavours to suit my customers’ desired tastes,” said Moshoeshoe who grew up in Leribe.

The business also has a mobile division, serving at events such as kids’ festivals.

Moshoeshoe said he was lucky to be hired at one of the Ocean Basket branches from 2012 to 2014.

This was after he completed his Cambridge Overseas School Certificate (COSC) at Leribe High School in 2012 from Leribe High School.

“It was during that time at Ocean Basket that I was privileged to work in different departments. I got the opportunity to work as a bartender where I was mixing drinks, milkshakes and also adding some toppings on desserts.

I was quite good at it,” recalled Moshoeshoe, who enrolled at IBC College in 2013 under a Business studies programme.

He said he used his job at Ocean Basket to execute what he was learning in class in terms of customer service.

“It helped a lot. It evoked my passion for selling,” said Moshoeshoe.

Moshoeshoe says he ventured into a partnership with one of his friends to run a car wash business called Ching Chillas in 2015 after obtaining a Diploma in Business Studies.

The following year, he decided to start something independent of his friends.

“We had about M300 from the car wash business which we had to share among the three of us.”

“I then sat down and thought hard about what I would do next, I had to come up with a plan that would generate income as a newly unemployed graduate,” said Moshoeshoe.

He said he then remembered how people used to like ice cream while he was still working at Ocean Basket.

“After doing my research I found out that there were a few people selling it,” he said, adding that one of his major motivations to establish a business was to avoid being idle since he was not ready to be employed.

“It has been my dream to run a business that creates jobs,” he said.

“Through the research I conducted, I found out that I would need a product which would not limit me.

I then looked through products which had a broad target market, one that would accommodate every gender regardless of age. So ice cream seemed to be perfect for me,” he says.

Moshoeshoe says he then invested his last M150 to stock 2 litres of farmhouse ice cream from Shoprite and 5 litres from Econo.

He said he has been selling his ice cream at Khubetsoana Lerakong stop for the past six years, adding that the market was receptive when he started his business.

“Everyone wanted to have my ice cream,” said Moshoeshoe, adding that he was also privileged to be a member of Nala market where he gained a lot of popularity.

He said he would store his stock in his home fridge and go with just a few litres to his selling space since he was working from an open space.

He said it was challenging to take his stock to his working space and take it back home every day.

“My friends would sometimes help me while sometimes I would have to take the stock on my own.”

“I would run the whole day to collect the ice cream from my home when I ran out of stock,” he said, recalling his challenges as a street vendor.

He said he would sometimes lose customers as a result, fuelling his dream to operate from a building.

“It was not a stroll in a park but I refused to give up on my dream. My ambition and skills on spending habits have been the pillar to my business success. As small as it was, I knew that I had to separate the business and my personal wallet.

We have to separate ourselves from the business and its assets,” he said.

Through this business, Moshoeshoe says he was able to pay himself a salary which would cover most of his living expenses and allow the business to make savings.

He says through the business savings, he was able to buy a vehicle which made his work even easier as he was able to deliver ice cream to events.

“I was also able to pay lobola through this business and now I have a family of my own,” said Moshoeshoe proudly.

He said he has witnessed massive growth in his business, as he is not only serving individual customers, but is also contracted by big companies such as Vodacom and Letshego when they have functions.

As one of his longtime dreams, Moshoeshoe says he managed to employ a permanent employee.

He says he is also seeking to help idle high school boys to help them avoid getting involved in criminal activities by running errands for him during weekends or during school holidays.

Despite his achievements, Moshoeshoe says the major challenge in his line of business is that it is seasonal.

He says the business is very slow in winter because some people don’t eat ice-cream when it is cold.

Regarding the future, Moshoeshoe dreams of manufacturing his own ice cream and exporting it to other countries.

“I want to see my business grow to become an ice cream franchise as well as establish a candy shop,” he said.

Refiloe Mpobole

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MP defies party, backs opposition



MOHLOMINYANE Tota, the only MP for the United for Change (UFC), has defied the party’s order to stop voting with the opposition in parliament.
Tota, the UFC’s deputy leader, told thepost this week that he will vote, guided by his own conscience, and not the party’s instructions.

His defiance comes after the party publicly chastised him for voting with the opposition in parliament.
A fightnight ago, Tota angered his party when he sided with the opposition to vote against the government’s motion to continue discussing the reforms’ Omnibus Bill despite that it was being challenged in the Constitutional Court.

The government however won with 57 votes against the opposition’s 50.
The UFC issued a statement reprimanding Tota for defying its decision to always vote with the government.
But Tota told thepost this week that he was unfazed by the party’s warning.

“I will continue to vote with the opposition where need be, and I will also vote with the government where need be,” Tota said.
He said he respects the party’s position but “I also have a right to follow my conscience”.

This, he added, is because “it is not mandatory for an MP to toe the party line even when his conscience does not allow it”.
He said whether he will vote with the government or the opposition will depend “on the issue on the table”.
He said his conscience would not allow him to vote with the government on the Omnibus Bill motion.

“It was wrong,” Tota said.
“I will do the same again given another chance.”

Tota’s response comes three days after the UFC issued a statement distancing itself from his stance in parliament.
The party said its national executive committee had an urgent meeting over the weekend to discuss Tota’s behaviour.
It said its position is to always support Prime Minister Sam Matekane’s coalition government.

“‘The issue has caused a lot of confusion in the party and among Basotho at large,” the statement reads.

The party also said Tota did not bother to inform the national executive committee about his decision so that he could get a new mandate.

“He did not even inform the committee before voting,” the statement reads.
“The national executive committee held an intensive meeting with Tota about the matter because the purpose of the party is to support the government,” it reads.
The UFC said where the government goes wrong “the party will continue to confront it with peace and not with a fight” (sic).

“We have confidence in the current government because it was voted in by Basotho.”
The UFC’s statement makes it clear that the party “will not support anything against the government”.

Nkheli Liphoto

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Inside plot to oust Matekane



THE plot to topple Prime Minister Sam Matekane thickened this week amid allegations of brazen vote-buying ahead of the opposition’s planned vote of no-confidence.

The opposition is said to be ready to push out Matekane when parliament reopens sometime in September. They accuse Matekane’s government of incompetence, nepotism, corruption and using the security forces to harass opposition MPs.

But as the lobbying and touting of MPs reaches fever pitch, there are now allegations of each side using bribes to secure votes crucial in the vote to remove the government.
Democratic Congress leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, this week accused the government of bribing its MPs to defeat the motion against Matekane.

Mokhothu, who made the allegations at the opposition’s press conference yesterdday, did not give further details or names of those bribed and those bribing.
But on Monday, the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) MP, Puseletso Lejone, told thepost that Mokhothu offered him a M2.2 million bribe to support the opposition’s motion to upend the government.

Lejone said Mokhothu made the offer at a secret meeting, attended by almost all opposition leaders on August 14, at Monyane Moleleki’s house in Qoatsaneng.
The Thaba Moea MP said the leaders claimed that 60 MPs were supporting the motion against Matekane and wanted his vote to make it 61.

“The money was to come directly from Mokhothu,” Lejone said.
“They asked me to provide them with my bank account so that they could transfer the money.”
Mokhuthu denied the allegations, saying he wondered if Lejone “was smoking socks”.

Lejone repeated the same allegations on the sidelines of yesterday’s press conference where Matekane assured Basotho that his government has enough numbers to fend off the opposition’s attempt to push him out.
He said apart from Moleleki and Mokhothu, other political leaders who attended the meeting were Lekhetho Rakuoane, Machesetsa Mofomobe, Nkaku Kabi, Professor Nqosa Mahao, Teboho Mojapela, Tefo Mapesela and Tšepo Lipholo.

He said the leaders gave him a document showing that six RFP MPs had pledged to support the vote of no confidence. Lejone however refused to name the RFP MPs, saying he still wants them to remain in the ruling party.
He said four MPs from parties in the RFP-led coalition had signed.

They are Mohlominyane Tota (UFC), Reverend Paul Masiu (BAENA), Mokoto Hloaele (AD) and Motlalepula Khahloe (MEC).
The deal, Lejone said, was that Mokhutho would become prime minister and be deputised by Dr Mahali Phamotse.
He said the RFP’s faction was going to be rewarded with 10 ministerial seats for their role in toppling Matekane.
Nearly all the political leaders mentioned by Lejone denied attending the meeting at Moleleki’s house.

“By the living God, I have never been in a meeting with that man (Lejone),” Mokhothu said, adding that Lejone’s allegations are “defamatory”.

Mahao said he last visited Moleleki’s house, which is up the road from his, 22 years ago. Mofomobe said Lejone is lying about the meeting because he wants to curry favour with Matekane, whom he had been criticising for months.
Mofomobe said all his meetings with Lejone were at the BNP Centre and their agenda was toppling Matekane.

“We were discussing his (Matekane) incapability to rule this country,” Mofomobe said.

Rakuoane and Mapesela said they have never been to Moleleki’s house.
So did Kabi who implied that Lejone could have smoked something intoxicating “to talk about a meeting that never happened”.
Lipholo, Rev Masiu, and Tota said they were not at that meeting while Moleleki said he had “no comment”.

Staff Reporter

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Matekane abusing state agencies, says opposition



THE opposition has accused the government of weaponising security agencies to harass and intimidate their MPs.
The accusations come as the opposition plots to push a vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Sam Matekane when parliament re-opens in September.

Opposition leaders told a press conference yesterday that the government has resorted to using the army and the police against its MPs because it is afraid of the motion.
Democratic Congress (DC) leader, Mathibeli Mokhothu, said the security bosses have been willing tools for the government because their bosses are desperate for Matekane to renew their employment contracts.

He was talking about Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli, army boss Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela and National Security Service (NSS) boss Pheello Ralenkoane.

“Employment contracts for the security agencies’ bosses are the ones causing these problems because the commanders end up working towards pleasing the government for their contract extension,” Mokhothu said.

He said the army has also started setting up roadblocks closer to parliament to search MPs. Mokhothu said the army searched Nkaku Kabi and Advocate Lebohang Maema KC at the parliament premises last week.

“The government is now bringing back the security agencies into party politics,” Mokhothu said.
“This was the first time the army entered the parliament premises to search members and other people there. It is an embarrassment.”
“The responsibility of our soldiers is to guard the borders and ensure security, not to enter politics or set up roadblocks on the parliament roads.”
“They are now running the country like a shop or a company.”

Basotho National Party leader, Machesetsa Mofomobe, alleged that Matekane had a meeting with the security bosses in Teya-teyaneng to discuss how they could use their institutions to clip the opposition’s wings.

“The LDF, LMPS and NSS boss’s contracts have expired, and now they are using the institution to get extensions,” Mofomobe said.
“The LDF and LMPS are doing this deliberately to protect the government.”
thepost could not independently verify this allegation.

Tefo Mapesela, the Basotho Progressive Party leader, said Matekane’s government is taking Lesotho back to 2014 when the army was wooed into politics.
He warned that officers who allow themselves to be used as pawns in political fights might find themselves in jail while their political handlers enjoy freedom.
He referred to Lieutenant General Tlali Kamoli who has been in remand prison for seven years as he faces charges of murder, attempted murder and treason.
Mapesela however said the opposition will not be intimidated because it is their democratic right to bring a motion of no confidence against the government.

“When there is time to enter a motion of no confidence it is time, it is written in the law, there is nothing wrong there,” Mapesela said.
“I once launched a motion of no confidence in the previous parliament, but I was never arrested or threatened.”

“We do not owe Matekane anything. When the time has come he has to go. We will lobby others as it is not a crime.”

The Basotho Action Party’s Nqosa Mahao criticised the police for issuing a press statement with political undertones.

In a controversial statement last week, Commissioner Molibeli said the police were aware that some MPs were coercing their colleagues to support their plot to topple the government.
Molibeli also said they were aware that such MPs were surrounding themselves with armed groups.

“Police warn those perpetrating these acts to stop immediately to avoid action that could be taken to protect the country,” Molibeli said.

Matekane made the same allegations at his press conference yesterday.
Professor Mahao said the statement shows that the police have now been entangled in politics.

“Every time parties experience internal problems the leaders conspire with the security agencies,” he said.
“The opposition leaders are now being harassed because the government wants to stop them from exercising their rights.”

The opposition’s charge sheet against Matekane

  •  Filling of statutory positions despite the reforms aiming to change the system.
  • Corruption
  • Nepotism
  • Using security agencies to deter MPs from ousting Matekane.
  • Job losses.
  • Lack of job creation.
  • Failure to fulfil campaign promises.
  • Protecting mining companies’ interests at the expense of Basotho.
  • Incompetence and lack of communication skills.
  • Arrest of MPs by the police.
  • Cherry-picking reforms that insulate his government.

Staff Reporter

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