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What they said at the convening of the 11th parliament

MEMBERS of the newly-elected 11th parliament were on Tuesday sworn-in as part of processes that will culminate in the inauguration of the new government after the recent 7 October 2022 general elections.  The new parliament is vastly different from the previous one in that many of the old horses from the established parties fell by the wayside and made way for members of incoming prime minister Sam Matekane’s Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) party. Despite only being formed in March this year, the RFP swept to a stunning victory, claiming 56 out of 80 constituencies. The Lesotho Times Deputy Editor Silence Charumbira and Reporter, Nthabiseng Libate, were on hand to speak to Mr Matekane and some of the newly-elected MPs about what the public should expect from them during their five year tenure.


Sam Matekane: Incoming prime minister, RFP leader and Mantšonyane MP

This election will result in a better Lesotho, a much better Lesotho. We are committed to turning around Lesotho for the better and that is what we are going to do. We are going to create jobs, open up factories that have been closed, and perhaps have them operated by local businesspeople.

We are going to clean up our towns, improve our roads infrastructure and pave the walkways in the towns.

On Friday (tomorrow), we are going to announce what we are going to do in our first 100 days. Let us get into the office first and see how broke the government is. We all know that it is broke but to what extent, we don’t know yet. That is what we will have to find out. We will have to cut on our expenditure. When we get in, we will examine everything to see where we can cut but definitely there will be a lot of cuts in many places so that we can start afresh.

For the youths, we are going to create jobs. That is the main thing. We are going to look at education and health and improve them as well. We are going to look at every sector and improve. 

Nthomeng Majara: RFP deputy leader and Maseru Central MP

For me personally and for all of us, it means new beginnings and new responsibilities. It’s a new dawn, a new opportunity for Lesotho and for Basotho. We are really excited to be part of this new era. At the top of our agenda is implementation. We want to deliver. We want to change the way that leadership has been doing things. We want to show true leadership. We hope to bring robust discussions in parliament. We want to engage more meaningfully with less haggling, less playing and more business-like approach because that is what we need right now. We want to inspire women, especially younger women to come and join us.

Nthati Moorosi: RFP secretary general and Thetsane MP

This can be described as a fresh injection into the 11th parliament with fresh minds; people who have never been in politics before.

We’re really grateful, and we are looking forward to adding value in parliament. We want to deliver. We really want to walk the talk. We have been talking a lot, we’ve been making a lot of promises and we want to implement and deliver on those promises.

Professor Nqosa Mahao: Opposition Basotho Action Party leader and non-constituency MP

For the country this marks the beginning of the serious business of parliament overseeing the executive. I’m certain that given the configuration of this parliament, it is going to be very different from previous parliaments and it will do a better job of holding the executive to account. I’m looking forward to it. It is going to be an exciting time for the country, for us as the Basotho Action Party and myself as an individual.

Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane: RFP national executive committee (NEC) member and Qalabane MP

It is phenomenal. It’s a new era and there has to be change. It requires all of us to take our responsibilities seriously so that we don’t disappoint Basotho. The RFP is about growing the economy and taking every Mosotho out of the poverty. We will have to quickly get down to business.

Lebona Lephema: RFP NEC member and Teyateyaneng MP

It’s about time we attended to the economy. It’s about time we became producers, not just consumers. It’s time we started exporting and not just importing everything into Lesotho. Basotho are 100 percent ready for that drive. It goes without saying. Look at the voter turnout; it says the message of change has been well received by Basotho and we have to take it from there.

Monyane Moleleki: Alliance of Democrats (AD) leader and non-constituency MP

The remarkable thing is that our press statement that announced the formation of our coalition government demonstrated the unanimity of points of view with regards to the order of things. First of all, we are committed to implementing the reforms. Secondly, we speak to implementing specific programmes on agriculture, manufacturing, job creation and economic development. As coalition partners, we share the generic name ‘Moruo’. This is a key word which speaks to the country’s economy; commercial agriculture and the mining sector among others. The unanimity runs through like a thread in the names of the coalition partners and speaks to what we want to achieve.

Professor Ntoi Rapapa: AD deputy leader and Moselamane MP

With regards to education, the first task is to separate higher education from basic education. In my view, these should not fall under one ministry. Secondly, education must be well funded. There is already a benchmark on what percentage of the gross domestic product must go to education if you want to educate the youth.

Apart from that, we must have other programmes for the youth. For example, we must have scholarships for young fellows aged from 12 to 15 who are good in sports. We should give them scholarships for formal education and scholarships for informal education. The music and arts industries as well as sports should be harnessed to employ and improve the lives of the youth. One can only imagine the good it will do for our country if we can have one or two youths going abroad to play soccer. Another way of empowering youths is to make sure that whenever we undertake certain projects, there should be a quota reserved for the recruitment of youths. For example, if a ministry is looking to engage 10 people, perhaps three of them should be youths. There must be dedicated empowerment programmes to enable youths to sustain themselves and create jobs for others. We must move away from simply using young people for our own selfish political agendas. Many countries like Rwanda and Singapore recruit talent from the youth irrespective of their race and political affiliation.

There must also be career guidance to avoid a mismatch between what young people study and the actual requirements of industry. If the industry says in the next three to five years, we need electrical engineers, youths should go and study that programme. If a mine says after five years it will require geologists, then youths should study that particular programme. So, industry must dictate what should happen. Once that is done, I think our youths will get somewhere with their lives.