Majoro’s handling of Covid crisis attacked

Majoro’s handling of Covid crisis attacked

MASERU-PRIME Minister Moeketsi Majoro has been accused of maintaining “an impervious indifference” in the manner he has handled the Covid-19 pandemic.
That withering criticism was coming from Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader, Mothetjoa Metsing.

In an open to Majoro, Metsing expressed “utter shock and disbelief” at the “manner you have captained the sinking Covid-19 ship”.
“The Government you head took a deliberate decision to allow over one hundred thousand Basotho to cross into the Kingdom without Covid-19 tests – a matter you could have easily addressed by deploying Health Officials and LDF personnel at all Land Ports of Entry (Border Posts) to administer the rapid Covid-19 test,” Metsing said.

“That number of people, who rightly had to return home, went straight to the villages where they met loved ones. But the strange thing is that even on that day when the whole world watched that calamity of a comic return home in disbelief, Your Excellency, did not ponder a plan for their return to South Africa,” he said.

“You failed to issue a warning for their integration into the villages and how they could protect themselves and their loved ones. I do not even want to ask how local authorities were engaged to monitor that unfortunate situation and the state of readiness to prepare our people for their return to work in South Africa.”

Metsing said South Africa has opened its doors wide open for Basotho, “but the rate of infection in that country imposes a heavy responsibility to intensify protective measures for their people and hence their alertness at the various Ports of Entry and surely we can’t fault them for that, especially when they watched the manner we treated our returning residents just before Christmas”.

“Today our people spent days at the border just to access a Covid-19 clearance before they cross. Our Ministers are shell-shocked at the humanitarian crisis at the border posts.”
“What did they expect? But more poignantly what did you expect Prime Minister after the manner you allowed our people to enter the country for their well-deserved Xmas recess without testing?”

Metsing also expressed concern over the dire shortage of oxygen in hospitals across the country.
He said Covid-19 is a communicable respiratory disease and consequently “it should never have been a knotty affair to understand as even a layman does, that oxygen is intrinsic and inextricably bound up with respiration”.
“It therefore boggles one’s mind that our people are dying because of lack of oxygen in our health facilities,” he said.

“Can you, (Your) Excellency, with a clear conscience watch this debilitating situation and go to sleep peacefully at night, wake up in the morning and go about your daily routine as if nothing has happened, as Prime Minister?”
Can you, Excellency, proudly bequeath such a legacy to posterity, he said.
He asked Dr Majoro what measures he has put in place to ensure that simple things like oxygen is not hard to access.

“We see the rising numbers around the urban areas where communication is fast through social media. What about the men and women in the villages on whose behalf you occupy that hallowed seat? Do you even know what’s happening in such places?”
He said Majoro should “choose the right time to communicate with the nation” and not when many people who have fallen asleep.
“Midnight can never be an appropriate time to address the nation on such important matters.”

Metsing said when the National Emergency Command Centre was dissolved because it was not functioning optimally, the expectation was that Nacosec would not only work like a well-oiled machine but that government ministers would display team-work in their approach to the pandemic.
“Sadly, this is not the case.”

He said there is no indication that the government wants to enforce Legal Notice No 135 of December 15, 2020 which requires the cleaning and disinfection of public places and places of business.
“It is a double tragedy, the government is not honouring its undertaking to clean and disinfect the public places especially under its jurisdiction and it is doing nothing to ensure that those who should clean and disinfect their enterprises or businesses do so at all times,” he said.

“The government has thus far responded in a half-hearted and reactive manner in very sporadic events.”
Metsing tabulated six points which he said Dr Majoro should prioritise as a matter of urgency.
He said access to oxygen is a matter of urgency.
“Please expedite the availability and access to oxygen in all health facilities, availability of oxygen is sacred in this fight,” he said.

He also said Dr Majoro should “expeditiously and prudently explore the possibilities of oxygen concentrators”.
With regard to ventilators, he said “we are made to believe that friends of Lesotho and other benevolent people have donated machines and other important health supplies like ventilators and PPE but they have not been distributed to health facilities and health professionals”.

“Publishing the total amount of inventory and the total amount of monetary intervention and the expenditure thereof, will quell the suspicions and improve the confidence of front-line workers,” he said.
Metsing also said Dr Majoro should “shed light to the nation about the government’s preparedness to distribute the vaccine, to educate and to sensitise the public”.

Efforts to contact the Prime Minister’s office for a response failed last night.

Staff Reporter

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