Youths bay for Mosisili’s head

Youths bay for Mosisili’s head

Staff Reporter

MASERU – DEMOCRATIC Congress (DC) youths, opposition parties and some civil society groups yesterday called on Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili to step down.
The bold call is yet another vivid illustration of the bitter internal wrangling rocking the DC, the biggest party in the coalition government.

Addressing a joint press conference in Maseru yesterday, the youths and the civil society groups said Mosisili had failed to rein in corruption in his government.
They also accused Mosisili of putting at risk Lesotho’s eligibility to continue benefiting from AGOA which provides duty-free access to the US market.

If AGOA is cancelled it could result in the loss of over 40 000 jobs in the textile sector.
The youths said they were also not happy that Mosisili had not fired Finance Minister ’Mamphono Khaketla whom they accused of corruptly handling a government fleet tender deal.
Khaketla has since denied that she was corrupt and has instituted legal action against the DC youth league leader Thuso Litjobo.

The DC youth league secretary general, Chafotsa Letuka, and his counterpart from the All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, Selimo Thabane, told the press conference that Mosisili and his government must resign for failing to uphold the rule of law, prevent extensive corruption and to reduce poverty.
They said the government’s failure has put Lesotho’s qualification to benefit from AGOA in jeopardy.
They said when Lesotho attained eligibility for AGOA 15 years ago its private sector was strengthened and that trade and investment flows into Lesotho were boosted.

The youths alleged that Lesotho had lost about M7 billion worth of investment from the US’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) “due to poor governance”.
“The Government of Lesotho must fully meet the terms and conditions stipulated by the US government in order to save AGOA,” Thabane said.

“Had the indices of good governance been respected, the status quo would not be as such,” he said.
Thabane said they are concerned that prospects for the renewal of AGOA provisions for Lesotho are limited in light of poor governance, which will have dire implications on workers, the economy and society in general.
He said AGOA has created about 40 000 direct jobs, 110 000 indirect jobs and accounts for around 50 percent of total exports. He added that Lesotho is earning over US$330 million (M4.4 billion) in export revenue.

Thabane said the manufacturing sector had grown by 27 percent from 17 percent before AGOA was ushered in.
Speaking at the same conference, the DC youth leader Thuso Litjobo said the government had shown over time that it was not interested in fighting corruption.
“I have concluded that our problems are caused by our rulers,” Litjobo said.
“They must go home so that we are ruled by new ones. The law is supporting us that we can lawfully change our government. We must have a new Prime Minister.”

The secretary general of the National Clothing, Textile and Allied Workers Union (NACTWU), Sam Mokhele, said trade unions’ calls for the government to improve issues of governance to ensure they remained eligible for AGOA were ignored.
Mokhele said now that Lesotho is likely to lose eligibility on December 1, “now is the time to stand together and fight for that eligibility”.

Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s spokesman Motumi Ralejoe said the government is doing its utmost to address all AGOA issues for the benefit of all Basotho.
Ralejoe said: “This is a government elected by the people and it has a mandate to represent them and do all things to be seen to represent them.”
“The government under the leadership of Prime Minister Mosisili is trying its best to convince the United States government to continue with the AGOA provision,” he said.
As for the youth’s claim that there is no rule of law, Ralejoe said “these youths are the best demonstration of rule of law in Lesotho hence they are able to convey their messages against the government freely without fear of reprisals”.

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