MASERU — The Basotho National Party (BNP) has accused successive governments in power since 1993 of neglecting Maputsoe, Lesotho’s second biggest town.
Addressing an election campaign rally on Sunday, BNP leader Thesele ’Maseribane said there would be no nationally-driven economic development if any of the congress parties wins the May 26 election.
’Maseribane accused governments that had been in power since the re-introduction of democracy of stifling development in Maputsoe’s industrial and residential areas.
Maputsoe, the second largest industrialised town after Maseru, has only one tarred street, Sir Seretse Khama Road that was built under the BNP government in 1971, ‘Maseribane said.
He said the military junta that seized power from Leabua Jonathan in 1986 built at two dilapidated tarred lanes running between factories in the industrial part of Maputsoe but none in residential areas and other parts of the town.
’Maseribane said it was mind-boggling that since the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP)’s landslide victory in 1993, and under the rule of its breakaway Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), no other roads were built in the town.
He said the congress governments, including “the self-imposed” Democratic Congress, do not have any sound explanation why they let Maputsoe to lag behind in terms of development.
This is all despite that Maputsoe collects more revenue from the government than all Lesotho’s towns, except Maseru, he said.
“The developments you see in Maputsoe were made many decades ago by the BNP government under the leadership of the founder of this party, Chief Leabua Jonathan, whom I respect very much,” ’Maseribane said.
“These congress party governments cannot claim anything in Maputsoe because they left it to rot while they misuse revenue collected from it in their luxurious offices in Maseru,” he said.
“It was Chief Leabua who developed this town and its development ended during those years.”
Maseribane said the BNP had plans to build silos countrywide to improve food security but the BCP and its successive governments dumped the plans “because they do not have your interests at heart”.
“The very same congress leaders often say in the past Lesotho used to feed itself but they never mention that it was during the BNP rule.
“I appeal to all congress party members to vote for us and we will guide you,” ’Maseribane said.
He promised that the BNP would strive to strengthen the economy from where Jonathan had left “since these congress leaders have done something that was hostile to development ever since they took power”.
’Maseribane said the Lesotho Highlands Water Project royalties and the dividends the government gets from its companies would be used for creating jobs if they win the election.
Lesotho is paid about M40 million per month in royalties after selling water to South Africa’s Gauteng province.
Speaking at the same rally, the BNP deputy leader, Joang Molapo, said Maputsoe deserves to claim its share of the economy.
Molapo, who is also the constituency’s election candidate, said it was unfair that Maputsoe does not have even a single technical school.
“Young workers, job seekers and youths raised in Maputsoe deserve to attend school here but the government has not seen any need to build such an institution,” Molapo said.