ABC fights hits poverty  reduction scheme

ABC fights hits poverty reduction scheme

MASERU – THE ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) party’s internal fights have spilled over into its poverty reduction projects as factions haggle over access to resources, thepost heard this week. Members who are aligned to the Professor Nqosa Mahao faction are claiming their constituencies are now being sidelined in the allocation of resources.
The government runs a poverty reduction programme in rural constituencies which provides temporary employment in which villagers are paid M1 000 after 28 days of work.
The project hires villagers to either build access gravel roads to their villages, prevent soil erosion through tree planting or filling up gullies.
In some households this is the only way they earn any income during the year.

MPs and local government councilors have a strong influence in how workers are recruited and in all projects there are personal appointees of a minister to “oversee the work”.
All ministers who were in the Mahao faction have been fired.
Now, the Likhoele constituency MP Molefi Phamotse told thepost that some of his people in his constituency who wanted to work on the poverty reduction schemes have been blocked by the Ministry of Forestry.

He said he handed over a list of people to be hired but “the ministry brushed that list aside and took the one from the constituency chairman and his deputy”.
He said he then went to the ministry to confirm if it was true that the list had been changed.
“They asked for that list again as they claimed it was lost by mistake,” Phamotse said.
He said his secretary then took the list to the minister, Leshoboro Mohlajoa, “but to my utter dismay the list was not used”.
“They approved their own list and took those people to training programmes secretively,” he said.

He also said after knowing that some names had been cancelled some Likhoele community members went to the ministry to stop the ministry from dropping their names.
“They did not succeed because security stopped them from entering,” he added.
“The minister then said a mistake had been committed so those members on my list would be passed to the nursery (department) to solve the issue,” he said.
He said the Ha-Raliemere community refused saying those who had been trained should go to nursery not the untrained ones.
He said it is well known that there are two factions in the party.

He said he is backing the newly elected committee.
“I am against people who refuse to respect the choice of the people. They elected their own committee so they should be respected for that,” he said.
He also said the minister was backing a faction linked to Thabane.
“This is just sabotage to make people see how weak we are compared to them,” he said.
“They want to show that they have resources and power so that the people can turn against us.”

Responding to Phamotse’s accusations Mohlajoa said “the list was not given to me personally”.
“There is no way we can be in poverty reduction scheme preparations,” Mohlajoa said.
He also said Phamotse does not have to be working on the issues of job allocation in the constituency because that is the job of local government councilors.
“Both of us do not have power to give out lists,” he said.

He also said he never accepted that there was a mistake in hiring people.
“There is a nursery in Mafeteng district and it also offers the same salary as the scheme,” he added.
Mohlajoa said the relevant committee in a constituency has full rights to prepare the hiring list not the MP.
“We have to abide by the rules as Members of Parliament,” he said.
Similar complaints have also been raised in Koro-Koro constituency over a water catchment project to promote irrigation.

People were trained to build the catchments but some were allegedly never called despite their names being on the lists.
“We are aware that we are being punished because we supported Professor Mahao’s candidacy in the national executive committee,” one supporter said.

Nkheli Liphoto and Senate Sekotlo


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