A coalition of the aggrieved

A coalition of the aggrieved
A coalition of the aggrieved

Africa-Press – Lesotho. THE political temperature is slowly rising in Lesotho after aggrieved ruling party hawks and other civil society groups this week threatened to march against Prime Minister Sam Matekane’s government.

Their patience is clearly wearing thin seven months after Matekane was elected Prime Minister. While the civil society groups had largely backed Matekane initially, it would appear they are beginning to question some of the decisions taken by his administration.

They have accused his government of deliberately “hurting the poor” by pursuing elitist policies. It is clear that the Matekane administration is facing a winter of discontent with key blocs that backed it last year beginning to question its policies and decisions.

The disillusionment is not surprising. That is because the Matekane-led government was elected into office on the back of grand promises to improve the lives of Basotho.

Critics argue that so far, very little has changed on the ground, breeding disillusionment and anger. To win the hearts and minds of the people, the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP), Matekane’s ruling party made grand promises before the elections.

It would however be unfair and irresponsible to conclude so soon after its election that it has already failed. Such an assessment would be grossly simplistic and misleading.

To write this government off after just seven months would be unfair. The government has a five-year mandate and it can argue that it still has four years to implement its agenda.

The RFP hawks who have been on Matekane’s case for the last few months have this week been mobilising like-minded groups, in some kind of a “coalition of the aggrieved”, to march against the government.

Among those being roped in to join the protest are BachaShutdown, the National Clothing and Textile Workers Union, (NACTWU), the Independent Democratic Unions of Lesotho (IDUL) and the Maseru Route Transport Operators.

These are groups that are being brought together by a common agenda – to demand swift political changes and the betterment of the ordinary people who voted this government into power.

For them, Matekane is not the problem. The problem, they argue, are the people who are surrounding him. They think Matekane has now been captured and is now a “prisoner” of certain interest groups within the RFP.

They are angry over the government’s decision to award M5 000 allowances to MPs. They have also accused Matekane of parceling jobs to his cronies in his own office.

The government has dismissed these allegations. What the protest march shows is that all is not well within the ruling party. It also comes down to the issues we have highlighted before – that the national cake is small and cannot be shared equally among Basotho.

Until the government fixes the economy by creating meaningful opportunities for every Mosotho it must expect further misery on the political front. The protest is therefore simply a symptom of a major crisis facing Lesotho.

On another level, the government must take the criticism that it is moving too slowly on the reforms on the chin. There are basic things that it should have implemented by now such as fighting crime and creating jobs in tourism and the agriculture sector.

Even where it has done well, the government has terribly failed to communicate its position clearly. That has created a perception that nothing is moving and that nothing is being done.

Take for instance, the allegation that Matekane has bumped the number of employees at the State House. There is no evidence that this is true. Yet the government has simply failed to articulate its position eloquently. To counter misconceptions, it will need to be more proactive and not reactionary.

For More News And Analysis About Lesotho Follow Africa-Press


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here