In the middle, RFP Leader and Leader of the new coalition, Mr Ntsokoane Samuel Matekane, flanked by the Deputy Leader of AD, Professor Ntoi Rapapa, and MEC Leader, Mr Selibe Mochoboroane left and right respectively. The three leaders were unveiling their three-party coalition arrangement, which seals their majority government-in-waiting with 65 seats combined.
The RFP was joined in this jubilation mood by the Alliance of Democrats and the Movement for Economic Change (MEC).
The duo jumped on the bandwagon of radical change-propelling spearheaded by the RFP since its formation in March 2022. This, for the betterment of Basotho’s lives, a development that has dramatically turned the tables in the political landscape of Lesotho.
The dalliance seen yesterday between the three parties (RFP, AD and MEC), was exemplified by their slogan ‘It is time, just forward-looking, for the purpose of economic growth’.
The trio cobbled a coalition arrangement to form a government with haste, just after announcement of election results of the National Assembly Elections 2022 by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
RFP garnered 56 constituency seats, making it the highest in the recent election, AD obtained 5 seats (two constituency and three PR seats) and the MEC brings 4 seats (one constituency and three PR), this making a total of 65 seats. They stand at a simple majority in parliament.
Asked if they would consider bringing more parties to their fold, as 65 was supposedly not a sufficient majority (just simple majority) for them to govern comfortably, the three parties said they will consider all possibilities in their retreat, scheduled for this coming weekend.
The aptly-fitting motto has been coined from the three parties’ individual slogans, which they chanted as they wooed support from the electorate in the run-up to the election.
RFP believes in economic growth for creation of prosperity for Basotho, the MEC believes in economic change and time being a crucial factor, while the AD is driven by the zeal to just move forward without looking back.
The three parties promise to chart the future for the benefit of Basotho, this having been expressed in a combined press statement released for unveiling the coalition arrangement, which took place at the RFP headquarters in Maseru West.
The promise came after the three parties’ leaders, Samuel Matekane, Monyane Moleleki and Selibe Mochoboroane for the RFP, AD and MEC respectively, penned down their coalition-formation agreement.
A compressive Coalition Agreement Document is yet to be consolidated after the forthcoming weekend’s extensive retreat, which the parties announced they are going to hold to thrush out the issues they have agreed on in detail.
Reading a statement to a fully-packed media conference, Matekane said that the alliance formation was an aftermath of a well-thought-out and consciously-considered decision, based on pillars that the three parties espouse.
The pillars include the pursuit for the conclusion of the national reforms, economic growth, agricultural development, job creation, energy infrastructure, road and bridge construction, water and electricity services and industrial development.
Other pillars, which will form part of the 100 days agenda, include trade and industry development, health services development, quality education, sports and recreation development, effective service delivery and the fight against corruption as well as a war on crime.
Asked which of the issues will be prioritised, the incoming government indicated that they will thrush out these issues in detail during a forthcoming retreat during the weekend.
The coalition leader and prime-minister-in-waiting, Matekane said in his address to the media: “We have examined our manifestoes and are of the collective view that our unity as a coalition will bear fruit as our manifestoes are complementary and do not conflict.”
The incoming coalition government is bent on a speedy, efficient and effective service delivery to the people, claiming that they are willing to implement the promises they made to the people when they sought to be elected to office during the electioneering period.
Stating in the local language, Matekane said: “Re ikemiselitse ho fasolla koetla hore phalo li fale, hang ha re kena hahare ho liofisi tsa ‘Muso ka molao. Re rata ho tiisetsa Basotho bohle hore re itelletse ho phethahatsa boitlamo le litšepiso tseo re li etselitseng sechaba boiketong ba rona, ka tsela e nang le ponaletso, e sa le sethathong.”
Meanwhile, the Deputy Leader of AD, Professor Ntoi Rapapa, who represented Monyane Moleleki indicated that there were many priorities of the coalition government, but top on the list was to propel the national reforms by enacting laws proposed under the reforms.
Professor Rapapa said that the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) should be transformed from a department under a government ministry to an independent authority that has powers of appointing and discipline.
“As long as the NMDS is a department under a government ministry, it is handicapped when it comes to disciplining people who do not perform, but if it becomes an independent authority, it will become effective.”
He said that there must be timely disbursement of students’ allowances who are studying in institutions of higher education.
Professor Rapapa noted: “on the issue of scholarship is that there must be timely and efficient disbursement of students’ allowances.
You will remember those who have been students that there was what was called an arrival allowance, which a student receives upon arrival, while completing registration matters.”
“There are many things which are important, but the first one is to ensure that all reform laws that were in line to be published laws be published.
The second one is that the public has instructed that the number of ministries for this country is too large a number, so in the first two days is to see that the reduction of ministries is reduced.”
Addressing their supporters after the press conference, the three leaders were in one view that they need to work towards transformation.
Professor Rapapa said that they should thank God as he is the one who planned how the country should be ruled.
He attributed the coming together of the three was a Godly Plan and said that they promise to support Mr Matekane, who is leading the coalition for the benefit of Basotho and in respect of the Godly decision.
The MEC leader, Mr Selibe Mochoboroane informed their supporters that the God’s plan which he fulfilled they had formed an alliance that here is a tree with branches which are going to support the growth of the tree. He promised that they are going to work diligently.
Meanwhile, the RFP Leader, Mr Matekane, who also leads the coalition and is the prime-minister-in-waiting, said that after all is done and dusted, and elections passed on 07 October 2022, they are not going to use mirrors to look back, meaning they are not going to glance back, but will just move forward.
“Our mission is to work together for creating a Lesotho that Basotho desire, and we have to work hard and united for the common good of economic transformation.
We can only achieve our goals if we are united as the people and as your leaders; we are united as you can see. As a team, there is only one ball, on goal post, and we want to score, so let’s work together to achieve that.”
The three parties’ leaders led a celebration match across the Maseru streets, which started from the offices of RFP and proceeded to the Cathedral Circle, back to the RFP office.
The celebrations were marked by jubilant ululations, chanting of slogans of the three parties, dancing and hoisting of the flags of the three parties by the supporters, these happening under a police escort.
Lesotho’s political landscape changed in 2012, when, for the first, there was no outright winner of the poll.
This necessitated formation of coalition arrangements by political parties, which failed to muster enough votes to form a government on their own.
Coalition politics were ushered in the country then, and this is the fourth election since Basotho are ruled by a coalition government.