DEPUTY Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki has dismissed as baseless the rumours that he decided not to seek re-election in future parliamentary elections due to failing health.
Mr Moleleki said the rumours of his failing health are being peddled by people who cannot believe that the decision was motivated by the simple desire to give others a chance.
Lately there has been intense speculation over Mr Moleleki’s health with some sources telling the Lesotho Times that the Alliance of Democrats leader had been advised by his doctors to scale down on his work commitments to avoid aggravating the situation.
“Ntate Moleleki is sick and his doctors have advised him to slow down,” said one source who spoke on conditions of anonymity.
“He (Mr Moleleki) is taking the doctors’ advice. He is cautious of what he does these days and he is keen to ensure that he does not overwork himself,” the source said.
Another source said the 67 year-old deputy premier has scaled down on his political assignments as he was suffering from the same “debility disease” that afflicted him in 2014 and forced the courts to postpone his corruption trial that same year.
“He (Mr Moleleki) is suffering from the same debility disease that affected him in 2014. He trusts his doctors’ advice and he is taking things slowly as instructed,” the source said.
Mr Moleleki’s illness was first reported in 2014 during his corruption trial for allegedly abusing his office as the then Natural Resources Minister. He was accused of facilitating the issuance of diamond prospecting licences to a Mafeteng-based firm, Refela Holdings. The case was dismissed last year because of a missing docket.
However, in an interview with the Lesotho Times this week, Mr Moleleki said he was aware of the “baseless rumours” about his ill-health. He said the rumours were spread by people who do not believe that his decision not to seek re-election in future parliamentary elections was motivated by the desire to give others a chance.
Mr Moleleki announced last October that he would not seek re-election after having been re-elected legislator for the Machache constituency six times in a row including in the last elections that were held on 3 June 2017. He however, said he would go to parliament as a proportional representation (PR) legislator.
At the time he said that his decision not to seek re-election was prompted by the belief that leaders should not cling to positions for life but pass on the baton to others.
And this week Mr Moleleki said, “I know that those rumours are spread by people who fail to accept that it is possible for an African leader to pass the baton to the next generation while he still can”.
“It is so funny that people think that an African politician can only make a decision to stop contesting for future elections because of ill-health not because of a leadership style of wanting to pass the baton to others,” Mr Moleleki said.
He said there was no logic in contesting elections in a constituency while he was also top of his party’s PR list.
“It is an open secret that I will always win the Machache constituency and topping the AD PR list at the same time makes no logic for me.
“I am doubly sure that I will go to parliament through the PR system because the AD will get more than one PR seat, no witch will stop that. I am simply passing the baton for the younger generation, giving children of this country an opportunity to shine,” Mr Moleleki said.
Asked why he stood for the 2017 elections when he topped the AD PR list, Mr Moleleki said this was a mistake which should not be repeated.