This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Matekane vows to claw back Lesotho into greatness

By :Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – Maseru and many parts of the country were a hive of activity on Friday as the country celebrated the inauguration of the incoming Prime Minister (PM) Rt. Hon. Ntsokoane Sam Matekane.

Following the October 7 general elections, Matekane’s Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) won 56 constituencies and they formed a coalition government with the Alliance of Democrats (AD) and the Movement for Economic Change (MEC).

When accepting the baton, the incoming PM has set the tone for his administration as it was also filled with developmental undertones. He promised to catapult Lesotho onto “new horizons, higher and more ambitious levels of development”.

 “For me, this address represents a social contract in which I promise to make Lesotho great again. Recent research shows that Lesotho’s macroeconomic position has been deteriorating since 2015. Our economy has been in recession since 2017. Lesotho’s public spending has increased over the last few years, and has reached 65% of GDP in this financial year.

“Today 86% of Lesotho’s national budget is absorbed by government consumption, particularly public wages that are estimated at 32% of our GDP. Public procurement, which is roughly 35 percent of GDP, is key in determining the effectiveness of government in delivering essential services, programmes and projects; but it is arguably the worst managed,” he said.

The PM further bemoaned the government speeding saying it is not a good saving model as its recurrent budget far surpasses the capital budget.

He tabulated six areas that have investment potential to uplift the economy calling for the investors to “explore and invest” in the country. Those are renewable energy which includes hydro power, wind energy and solar energy, agro industry, manufacturing, infrastructure and construction, mining and tourism.

“I promise that I will spearhead the process to right our country’s historical wrongs and

make Lesotho great again. We are equal to this task, and we will not be found wanting. It would be naive of me if I were to imagine that the road ahead will be smooth. Certainly not. But change is a binding imperative in our present situation.

“The absence of a rigorous system of monitoring and evaluation can easily foster a culture of impunity, in which there are no consequences for poor performance and wrong-doing.

The new Government will increase accountability in the public sector by creating a system in which performance, 

expected of all public officers, will be transparently stated and reported upon; and there will be social engagement around what performance has been achieved and what services have actually been delivered.”

He hits the ground running, with his speech punctuated by the timelines-attached directives to the Government Secretary (GS) to roll out a 20 point programme and also setting goals to achieve in the first 100 days in office.

Goals within 100 days

  • Drawing of the performance contract and those of the incoming Ministers to be signed in 30 days and made public.
  • Principal Secretaries are expected to sign performance contracts in 30 days and those will be made public.
  • The standardized performance reporting system and “reflection” for the whole government, including the District Administrators (DAs) and Local Authorities will be developed in the 100 days period.
  • Mounting of the system through which citizens can monitor and report on the public sector performance and will be recorded and addressed. This is expected within the 100 days period.
  • Deployment of relevant public officials to the DAs and District, Urban and Community Councils in 100 days. The GS is also tasked to ensure that they are held accountable in ensuring the rolling out of the government’s programme of action and service delivery.
  • Development and implementation of a plan to cut “unnecessary government spending” on fleet management and fuel consumption within 100 days.
  • Development of a plan of how government should capacitate the Institution of Chieftainship for improved service delivery, accountability and good governance, targeting chiefs who serve their communities 24/7.
  • Stocktaking of all government vehicles in 100 days, rationing and allocating a single vehicle to each local authority “to enable them to conduct the business of government”.
  • Report on the ongoing government’s project is expected to be drawn in 30 days stating what projects should be “closed down, which should continue, and redesigned for maximum impact”.
  • A plan for enhancing aid and donor coordination and the meeting with all development partners in 10 days with the PM.
  • Outstanding allowances of the village health workers to be paid in 100 days.
  • The reporting plan for all state-owned enterprises will be developed in 30 days and made public.
  • PM to meet DAs and Council Chairpersons in 10 days.
  • Meeting between PM, media houses and civil society organizations in 15 days.
  • A crime control programme will be developed, published and implemented in the first 15 days.
  • Establishment and publication of a corruption, theft and embezzlement amnesty programme in 30 days.
  • Preparation of the report of all companies that government hold shares in, stating the companies that remit dividends, those that do not and why, such a report should be prepared in 30 days. 
  • In 30 days a list of all people who are owed money by government and recommendations to be drawn.
  • Areas of public wastage are to be identified and recommendations should be made on what course of action to be taken in 60 days.
  • The sexagenarian has also urged Basotho in diaspora to return to invest their skills at their home country.

The Premier promised that his government will create jobs and open new markets and industries in line with the national objective to diversify the industrial base; improve skills and productivity of the workforce and nurtures local business supplier; support knowledge and technology transfer and diffusion and improve quality and accessibility of infrastructure.

Mantšonyane No. 72 Member of Parliament (MP) said his led government will pursue the key strategic goals as already outlined in the National Strategic Development Plan II 2018/2019-2022-2023. They talk of enhancement of the inclusive and sustainable economic growth and private sector job creation; strengthening of the human capital; building an enabling infrastructure; strengthening the national governance and accountability systems for improved service delivery; strengthening the climate risk management resilience and adaptation and also strengthening the public financial management.

Matekane however did not attach the timeframes to these promises neither did not specify where the money that will enable the realization of these aspirations come from.

Taking stock of the national reforms that are still hanging, he committed to ensure their passage saying: “I promise to expedite the successful completion of the national agenda, a journey towards the Lesotho we want”.

He noted that he is “fully aware of the profound nature and deep seriousness of this responsibility, and I don’t take it lightly”.

The business mogul joined politics earlier this year when he formed the RFP with the former Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara, former Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) Governor Dr Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane, business honcho Lephema Lebona, business woman and an academic Nthati Moorosi.

Matekane was sworn in as the eighth Lesotho’s PM amid pomp and circumstance taking over the reins from Dr Moeketsi Majoro. 

Many Basotho have pinned their hopes on Matekane’s led administration to turn around the seemingly downward economic trajectory and that he matches his words with actions.

Meanwhile, the Cabinet Ministers have not been sworn in.

Presidents who graced the event were the South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi, Namibia’s President Dr Hage Geingob, and Zambia’s President Hakainde Hichilema.

Also present were the former President of Botswana Ian Khama, the Prime Minister of Rwanda Édourd Ngirente, and the Kingdom of Eswatini’s Deputy Prime Minister Themba Masuku.

There was also the United States Presidential Delegation led by Chief Executive Officer of the Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) Alice P. Albright and the delegation was joined by U.S.  Ambassador to Lesotho Maria Brewer, SA prominent business magnate and the President of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Patrice Motsepe, the Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland, and the SA’s Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) Commander in Chief Julius Malema, and Zimbabwe’s famous politician and the President of the Citizens Coalition for Change Nelson Chamisa.