M5000 fuel allowances must fall

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…Majoro and Mokhothu must build a nationally-funded agency for Youth Ideas funding and incubation.

The Reflector

Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and his Deputy Mathibeli Mokhothu must revoke the M5000 fuel allowances and reallocate the funds to fund youth ideas and you will see a different Lesotho in the next few years.

I write in my personal capacity as a young Mosotho in my early thirties, and I write this with a heavy heart. I abhor being a bearer of bad news, but I must hasten to say that My heart bleeds for my fellow countrymen and women in our beloved Kingdom of Lesotho.

Today, as I had hoped for good news, news that the M5000 fuel allowance had been revoked, our never disappointing inept representatives dealt us the youth yet another blow, added salt to injury with an insulting smokescreen report purportedly offering the youth a positive answer, but not today.

In their Special report on the petition to revoke members of parliament (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations of 2020, the portfolio committee on the Prime Minister’s Ministries Cluster says the youth must wait for a parliamentary Service Commission to deal with their grievance over the M5000 fuel allowances.

The point that Hon L. Hlalele led committee mises is that the Youth want these M5000 fuel allowances revoked yesterday not tomorrow or never as he told the National Assembly today in the report he tabled before the house today.

The eighteen-member committee had the simplest jobs, to tell the august house in one sentence that the youth want them not to put their filthy hands in the cookie jar and for a change prioritize their needs.

But these bunch could not hear a thing and decided to tell their comrades in the house “ We can go ahead and continue sucking dry the public purse, what the youths are asking for needs us to establish an office and hire some of our friends so that they can come to tell the people that their friends and cronies just took a pittance and deserved more amid the public outcry.”

What is further baffling is that Hlalele’s report to the house rightly points to the Concerned youth Group’s presentation which raised the following concerns:

  • Members of parliament Salaries (Amendment of Schedule) regulations, 2020 should be revoked as a matter of urgency; and
  • The parliament should consider enacting the independent commission for remuneration of the Public office-bearer Act that will provide for the establishment of the independent Commission for the Remuneration of Public Office-bearers to make recommendations concerning the salaries, allowances, and benefits of Public Office Bearers.

But what Hlalele and his committee did was to downplay the youth’s cries and insult them for speaking out in their report to the house.

Hlalele and his committee must have told the house that it was wrong to have passed the M5000 fuel allowances and must have recommended the house revoke the regulations in their entirety.

Not only have the members of parliament forgotten their mandate but they have forgotten the electorate that voted into office four years ago and they also forget that elections are upon them.

However, my heart bleeds for the youths for they also quickly forget and will be the first in the morning hours queueing to vote the same cabal of crooks that had their hands in the cookie jar for their corrupt self-enrichment when they were supposed to be leveling the playing field and creating an enabling environment for the youth of this country to have a better life today.

With the impact of covid-19 having wreaked havoc to all economies across the world and more impact of the effects of the pandemic felt by the youths, one would have thought parliamentarians would convene to save the day. In fact, I am wrong for they have never not unless I may be reminded of any day they ever did anything heroic.

These are the same people who said nothing when Parliament could not convene and decide on how the country should navigate the Covid-19 pandemic times and allowed with impunity from former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s cabinet to go on a thieving frenzy in the name of Covid-19. Parliament allowed the cabinet to run amok without oversight and the cabal run from State House went on to empty the public purse and gifted lucrative tenders to their family, concubines, cronies, and party cadres while the youth languished in hunger.

It’s only shocking that Prime Minister Majoro does acknowledge to the World that the planet he was discussing with other world leaders at the 26th Conference of Parties in Glasgow, Scotland belongs to the Youth.

In fact to quote him directly, “the future of the planet which we are discussing at the occasion of this COP26 belongs to young people.

“They will inherit the climate of the future for which our decisions today will determine. Is it not important that they be in the room? That they share our vision of that future? That they are equipped with the capacity to adapt and mitigate global warming? After all, it is now their planet”.

But the biggest problem is that Dr. Majoro and his administration presided over the making of this M5000 fuel allowances and other emoluments as though there was no covid-19 or climate change crisis and in fact, they were the worst affected.

Our leaders speak in tongues like the mushrooming churches and offer no leadership in their actions.

If, Majoro and his deputy Mathibeli Mokhothu represent the best interest of the people of Lesotho they must show that they enjoy the support of the majority votes in the National Assembly and admit they were wrong and revoke the Members of Parliament Salaries (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations, 2020. Majoro and Mokhothu must admit that their timing was wrong and must ask for forgiveness from the youth of Lesotho and the nation at large.

I say this because much as the youth have a national manpower development secretariat that provides them with scholarships, we know the challenges that riddle this institution and we now know that the key problem that faces the youth is access to capital.

Access to capital or finance for small, micro, medium enterprises is what Lesotho’s members of parliament and Cabinet of Ministers must be making a reality through the powers bestowed on them by the people.

It’s not rocket science, just revoke the M5000 fuel allowances and other allowances and have the funds utilized by if need be a new Agency that will both incubate and fund small, micro, and medium enterprises of the youth.

Mr. Prime Minister the answer to many of the youth problems is having an agency that will fund and incubate their dreams. Of 1000 ideas funded, there will be 10, yes ten (10) that will be a success and they will create enough revenue to create a revolving fund that would fund youth projects. For heaven’s sake, we do see the good things coming out of the National University of Lesotho’s innovation hub but there is a lack of funding.

Such an agency if formed I believe if it were to work as a revolving fund as NMDS should have been would work under strict stewardship of men and women of integrity who can both finance and incubate best ideas from Basotho youth.

This is not just about asking the government to fork out money for youth and not MPs fuel, but it is about asking the government to create an enabling environment for the Youth, innovation, and business to thrive in our time through innovative ways.

When an Agency is created, venture capitalists and various funding mechanisms could be used to roped into fund youth ideas, but without the government taking a leading role as claimed in election manifestos and taking us to the promised land our Youth are doomed.

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