Mokhothu vows DC led Gov’t will free Basotho from hunger

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… says M1 billion must be set aside to fund local food production projects

By Mamello Mosaefane

Democratic Congress (DC) leader Mathibeli Mokhothu has last Sunday declared his party-led government will usher Lesotho out of hunger and poverty’s bondage through policies promoting local food production.

Mokhothu, the Deputy Prime Minister to the All Basotho Convention-led coalition government was addressing scores of party supporters attending a rally in the Matsieng constituency.

Mokhothu was in Matsieng to welcome new party members who defected into his DC with a majority fleeing the Alliance of Democrats (AD).

AD is a splinter party formed out of the DC by former Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki and has since been relegated to the opposition.

The DC leader also welcomed at his rally the conspicuous attendance of the AD’s proportional representation legislator hailing from the Matsieng constituency Mokhele Moletsane whose relations with party leader Moleleki have soured.

Mokhothu said the defectors joining the party heard the clarion call to join the party and were attracted by the stability and its good governance.

He said he is delighted to welcome new members who have heard DC’s call for people to join under its operation #HolisaDC (meaning “#grow DC”).

He said the major task is garnering support daily for the growth of the party and he liked the campaigning to a task that he said the Israelites were given by God when he said he would rebuild David’s house as he quoted the bible in welcoming new party members.

Mokhothu said the party’s national executive committee’s instruction has been that they must spread across the country and rebuild the congress movement in Lesotho that started its fragmentation in 1996.

“We should rebuild the congress movement that started to collapse and fragmented from 1996 to 2001. Fragmented further from 2001 to 2006 and to 2012 and to yesterday in 2015 and to when our congress movement split into pieces.

“The clarion call has been that we should come together as the congress movement and built a political party that shall be strong enough to run government efficiently and care for Basotho, the disabled, and the orphaned in Lesotho.

“A party that can observe rule of law in Lesotho and look into access to education and ensures that all is well in the education sector. We will see to it that our party manages to cobble together a government with enough numbers on its own.

“We must augment the pace with which we were building the party and strive to lessen factional fights within the party and in the grassroots structures,” said Mokhothu.

It is at this welcome event that Mokhothu told DC members of the strategies that the party will put to work as soon as it takes over the government.

Mokhothu asked if the youth attending the rally are cognisant of the suffering that the people of Lesotho are faced with and asked who would rebuild the Basotho Nation in a manner in which Moshoeshoe I did in the 1820s.

He said he wonders who can bring unity within the Basotho nation and ensure there is no hunger and poverty.

“Who shall ensure that peace and stability reigns within Lesotho. Who can ensure that our security agencies perform their duties professionally? To my unwavering thought is that no one but the Democratic Congress party can free Lesotho.

“If it is the DC, then it is you the party members as individuals who can rebuild the country’s economy,” said Mokhothu.

Mokhothu quizzed his party members at the Matsieng rally whether they are aware of how weak Lesotho’s economy is and how unable it is for the country’s economy to meet the needs of its people.

He also noted the levels of poverty in the country and asked what could be a source for such poverty?

“Our economy is unable to meet its people’s needs because it has become a market for other countries.

“When we take over government next year as we will take over the government and it is evident to all and sundry.

“When God has pointed and spoken no one can deny. Anyone who would try to deny this would be wasting their time. We will take over government in the next years my fellow DC members,” he said.

Mokhothu said the party has to first assess what are the major problems facing the country and come up with solutions.

He said the key solution for economic growth is for the country to promote doing business for its people and export into markets of other countries.

“Right now there is a much uproar over poor public services in the provision of agricultural inputs, especially seeds and fertilizers. On a yearly basis, we take more than M45 million and we spent it in another country where they produce seeds and fertilizers that we import into Lesotho.

“As the people of Lesotho are dependent on farming when DC assumes office it must not import seeds and fertilizers from another country. Those who produce seeds and fertilizers must come and do so from Lesotho,” said Mokhothu.

Mokhothu said the country must assess what it consumes and ensure that those goods and services are produced from within the country.

“My fellow DC compatriots we have to ensure that not less than M1 Billion is invested in the businesses focused on production in order to meet the local market demands and end up being able to export.

“It is improper that our country’s people are fed by other countries. Our nation’s founder (Moshoeshoe) used to say that he does not like people who cannot produce their own needs.

“We have ensured that we assess all things and ensure that we produce our needs within the country and empower local business. And private sector must be empowered to hire the many unemployed Basotho.

“The whole world over there is no government that employs all people and satisfies them. The people are employed by the Private Sector and a strong private sector is one whose vision is focused on production,” he said.

Mokhothu argued that is it wrong that Lesotho imports its vegetable needs, naming especially the importation of cabbage, potatoes, chicken eggs from the Republic of South Africa when the people of Lesotho could still produce such products locally with the government providing infrastructural support.

“Just like we have been building those factory shells where the Chinese just hobble in and manufacture clothes, in the same vein within the villages of Basotho government must install infrastructure for Basotho to use to produce.

“When we provide water supply to a village the same water must also pass to fertile land so that the people can produce food,” said Mokhothu.

Mokhothu said if the people of Lesotho are going to be bottling water, they must do so at a large scale.

“If we are going to be farming fish in those Lesotho Highlands Water Project dams, we must do so at a large scale and in the rivers of the country and held our people through the provision of Capital in order to exports our products to other countries.

“If we fail to do so we shall continue to be a poor country dependent on others economically. That’s the biggest thing that our government must look into,” Mokhothu said.