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I’m ready to serve, says Mputi

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MAPUTSOE – FOR a long time, Mputi Steven Mputi toed the neutral line, refusing to be overtly associated with any political party despite being involved in many community projects — until the formation of the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) party.

Mputi is the RFP candidate for the Maputsoe constituency.

“As the saying goes: actions speak louder than words, then you are talking RFP,” he said.

“It is an action oriented political forum which is meant to take immediate action to ensure that the needs of Basotho are dealt with. The RFP advocates for the rule of law and this is one of the ethos, if appropriately upheld, that can bring about free and happy communities,” he said.

“Above all, the RFP advocates for meritocracy, which is a rule based on merit.

No other party in this country has ever exercised meritocracy, hence the stagnation of our country. A person has to be elected based on their abilities and capacities, not merely for occupying a particular position of power without any merits.

Meritocracy has positively benefited other countries with vast growing economies such as China and Rwanda,” he added.

Maputsoe, a textile industrial hub, is likely to be one of the fiercely contested constituencies in the elections slated for next month.

Mputi says he was propelled to join politics by his desire to see the community prosper.

“My hunger for the development of communities has resulted in me joining politics,” he said.

“I have already served my community in different ways. To mention a few, I was the secretary of a local community football team, Roaring Lions, which eventually was promoted to the premier league while I was only at high school. I am also the co-founder of the small businesses association called Tycoon Business Forum which is meant to enhance such businesses.

I had a call to serve my people and despite having the opportunity to stay and work in South Africa I listened to the call,” he said.

On being a candidate for the RFP, Mputi says he has realised that the RFP is one of the few political parties which still upholds the issue of ethics in its structures.

According to him, some political parties appoint leaders solely based on one’s financial status and disregard values which such people possess.

The major challenge which the residents of Maputsoe are faced with, as identified by him, is the high poverty rate driven by lack of jobs and security.

Due to the high crime rate in the area, Maputsoe has since been dubbed a crime hub that has stirred twenty-four hour security operations at the border.

“It’s true that an idle mind is the Devil’s workshop. Quite a number of people in this area are unemployed and they are easily dragged into activities of crime because there is nothing positive they can make of their lives,” he said.

In order to reverse these sordid conditions of the constituency, Mputi is of the opinion that there has to be strong laws which need to be put in place to ensure people’s safety and the safety of their property.

The government should aid Basotho to engage in business to alleviate poverty, he said.

“It’s in the RFP manifesto that a development bank has to be set up in order to make it easy for Basotho to access loans in order to establish themselves in business. This has happened in India and it has yielded good results, so it’s inevitable that we also adopt it in the country. We need to have nationalised banks which can perform a positive role in boosting the economy,” he said.

Mputi also believes “it’s high time that the mindsets of Maputsoe residents be reconditioned into being pro-business”.

They should also be trained in strong ethics for business, he suggested.

“People need to be made aware that since they are part of the problem, they can also be made to be part of the solution by taking strides to remedy their problems.

We have to come together and work together as one in order to sufficiently tackle our challenges. Maputsoe loses a lot of potential income of traders to Ficksburg since they would prefer to live there and commute daily here for work. A lot of wealth is lost in the process,” said Mputi.

Mputi stressed the need for certain businesses to be localised to make sure that they are reserved for Basotho.

Patriotism is a cornerstone for success, he said.

“People need to be trained to love their country. Youths should undergo incubation programmes intended to promote responsible citizenry. A lot of our economy has to be in the hands of young people. We should strive for generational wealth, which will keeps on accumulating,” he said.

The model of leadership which Mputi advocates for is stewardship; entails that leaders become the servants of their subjects to eliminate vices such as corruption and nepotism.

Mputi was born and bred in Maputsoe, having spent his childhood on the banks of Mohokare River, which is a gateway to and from South Africa.

He was raised at Ha-Chonapase and went on to pursue his primary education at St Luke Primary school and later went to St Boniface High school for his secondary education.

Professionally, Mputi was initially trained as a teacher and he has obtained several qualifications in this trade having undergone post-graduate studies.

He also has vast experience in teaching locally and abroad.

“I was trained as a teacher at the National Teachers Training College (NTTC), the now Lesotho College of Education (LCE), where I obtained a Diploma in Secondary Education.

I went on to work as a teacher at Butha-Buthe High School before I could proceed to further my studies at the Central University of Technology in South Africa, where I studied towards a degree in Education in

Technology as well as a Master’s degree in the same field. After that, I had since been a student development practitioner there from 2005 to 2014,” he said.

Whilst still a student at tertiary level, Mputi served in different portfolios as a students’ representative.

This was perhaps where he took his first leap into politics.

“I was a leader and an activist during my days at CUT. I was the president of the Lesotho Students Association which was responsible for the welfare of Basotho students there for two consecutive terms.

Being elected for the second term showed that I had the capability to lead,” said Mputi.

Once Mputi accomplished his studies there, he was given a role to train and produce student leaders and also to ensure that students possessed sound leadership qualities.

It was during this time that Mputi also got into business, facilitating residence permits for Basotho students in Bloemfontein.

“My students’ residence business was flourishing in the early days. However, with time, the business collapsed due to the failure by the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) to promptly pay students’ housing allowances.

“I had to shut it down completely as it was no longer viable. I later invested in construction, which needed much support from the government but due to government problems it did not get a good market and it had to close,” he said.

Calvin Motekase

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[BREAKING NEWS] Lebona sets curfew

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MASERU– In an effort to curb the rampant increase of homicides in Lesotho, the Minister of Police Lebona Lephema has announced a 10:00pm-4:00am curfew, effective Tuesday May 16, 2023. Failure to comply with the curfew attracts a 2 years imprisonment or a fine.

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Two nurses deleted for misconduct

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MASERU – A Kolonyama midwife, ’Mamalibeng Ralenkoane, who allegedly neglected a woman during labour has been deleted from the nurses’ register for the next six months.

The woman went on to deliver her baby by herself without professional assistance.

In another case the secretary-general of the Lesotho Nursing Council (LNC), ’Mamonica Makhoswonke Mokhesi, has also been deleted for violating a patient’s privacy.

The LNC’s disciplinary chairman, Advocate Rapapa Sepiriti, said Ralenkoane had committed an act of serious misconduct and deserved severe punishment.

Advocate Sepiriti ruled that Ralenkoane “should not be seen anywhere attending (to) patients”.

Ralenkoane was working as a midwife at the Little Flower Health Centre in Kolonyama, Leribe, when ’Mateboho Letlala was admitted there for labour in August 2020.

Letlala told the panel that Ralenkoane took her to the examination room and later left her despite that there were signs that she could give birth anytime.

“At 19:00 pm Ralenkoane examined the patient but left her unattended and the patient had to deliver on her own,” Advocate Sepiriti said in his verdict.

“Clearly the blame has to be put at the door of Ralenkoane,” he said.

Adv. Sepiriti ruled that she should be deleted with immediate effect for 12 months, half of which was suspended.

“During these six months period, Ralenkoane is prohibited in any way from attending patients and this judgment should be delivered at her place of work,” he said.

Letlala in her testimony said by the time Ralenkoane arrived, she was already having severe labour pains and was told to go to the labour ward for assessment.

She said when she stepped down the labour bed Ralenkoane said to her: “Ua seke ua tatela ho hema empa molomo oa popelo o buleile ka 3cm’ (meaning she seemed to be in a hurry yet the cervix had opened by 3cm only).

“I was so surprised because I could feel I was very close to delivering because this was my second child and I could say I have experience,” she said.

She said she told the nurse that she needed to use the toilet but was instructed to use a pan instead.

“As she left me on the bed pan I could not stand from the pan as the pains were severe. I called for help but to no avail,” she said.

She said the moment she got energy to stand from the bed pan she saw blood, she called her but there was no response.

“Ralenkoane promised to come after two hours but there were no instructions on what to do in case I needed help prior to two hours,” she said.

“I wheeled myself to the bed and sat on it, still calling to no avail.”

She said while still alone, her membranes raptured and the time of birth came and the baby was delivered.

“The child did not fall as I was able to hold him,” she said.

She phoned her aunt who told her to find s scissor to cut the umbilical cord.

She said she bled a lot and ran out of energy, then Ralenkoane arrived at around midnight.

“When she came in she asked where the baby was and I pointed to where I had put him where he clamped the cord,” she said.

She said it was then that she got assistance.

The investigator for Professional Conduct Committee (PCC), one Nteso, told Advocate Sepiriti that his findings were that “the mother’s life was in danger as she was found having bled heavily and tired and the baby’s life was also in danger from prolonged exposure which could lead to hypothermia and brain damage”.

“Ralenkoane was not there for the mother until she delivered in the absence of the midwife, this is a case of negligence,” he said.

However, in mitigation Ralenkoane said this was her first time to appear before the panel and has been a nurse for more than nine years.

She said she has two children to support and she has already been punished by the clinic as she was dismissed and that she has policies and loans.

She pleaded with the panel to have mercy on her.

In another case Mokhesi who was the Secretary General of LNC was also deleted from the register for two years after she was found guilty of sharing a patient’s picture on social media without their consent.

She was accused of defamation of character and violating the patient’s privacy by posting pictures of the injuries he had incurred.

’Malimpho Majoro

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Nurses back at work

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MASERU -NURSES who have been on strike since Monday are set to resume work this morning after the government started paying their salaries.

The nurses went on a go-slow last week but escalated to a full-fledged strike on Monday after the government delayed their salaries. Some nurses claimed they had not been paid since March.

Morephe Santi, the secretary general of the Lesotho Nurses’ Association (LNA), said they have started telling members to go back to work after the government said the salaries will start reflecting in their accounts last night.

The strike has inflicted huge reputational damage on Prime Minister Sam Matekane’s government which came to power on promises of efficiency.

Minister of Public Service Richard Ramoeletsi blamed the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) and the Human Resource Management System (HRMS) for the delay in April salaries.

Ramoeletsi told parliament last week that the two financial management systems were unable to reconcile, leading to delays in salaries.

But that explanation was little consolation for patients who bore the brunt of the strike.

At least 20 expectant mothers at Machabeng Hospital in Qacha’s Nek were told to go home because nurses could not help them.

Some of the women were later admitted at Tebellong Hospital, a facility under the Christian Health Association of Lesotho (CHAL).

“We were staying at the hospital’s roundavel awaiting our time to go to labour but on Thursday afternoon (last week we were called by the nurses and they told us to go to other hospitals or go back home,” said Maretlotliloe Mpeli, who is heavily pregnant.

She said the nurses told them that they could not work on empty stomachs.

’Matlotla Poling, 19, from Ha-Rankakala said she had to call her parents because she did not have any money to either go back home or to Tebellong Hospital.

The Machabeng Hospital management declined to comment, referring thepost to the ministry’s headquarters in Maseru.

Ministry of Health spokesperson, ’Mateboho Mosebekoa, said Machabeng Hospital “did not expel the expecting mothers but merely sent them back home”.

“Due to the ongoing strike by doctors countrywide …they decided to take those women to the places where they would get help,” Mosebekoa said.

There was similar anguish at Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital.

“The strike has affected all the departments including the kitchen, maternity, and emergencies, but the managers are on duty,” said ’Makananelo Sepipi, the hospital’s spokesperson.

Sepipi said managers were forced to hold the forte “because some sections cannot be left unattended utterly due to their importance”.

“The operations are happening in the emergency section, even though they do not operate in a normal way.”

She said patients whose operations were scheduled for this week were sent back home.

Santi, the LNA’s secretary general, blamed the government for the chaos caused by the strike.

Santi said as much as the government likes to call them an essential service they do not prioritise their ministry.

“They do not appreciate us, it is like they do not see the importance of our job,” Santi said.

“The government turns a blind eye to the fact that our working environment alone can put us at risk of contracting diseases.”

“Now we are not able to buy food and other necessities.”

Nkheli Liphoto & Thooe Ramolibeli

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