COMMUNICATIONS Minister and government spokesperson, Joang Molapo, says the recent vulgar remarks by United States President, Donald Trump, in which he made reference to “shithole countries” in Africa did not include Lesotho.
The controversial US President recently drew the ire of the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and various individual countries for his disparaging remarks about Haiti, El Salvador and other “shithole countries” in Africa saying their citizens should not be admitted into the US as immigrants.
Mr Trump said he preferred immigrants from countries like Norway which he felt would help further develop the US economy.
“Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here,” Mr Trump reportedly asked at a meeting with members of the US congress in Washington DC last Thursday.
Mr Trump’s remarks have been roundly condemned by countries like Botswana as well as the AU, UN and the African group of ambassadors to the UN who described the utterances as “outrageous, racist and xenophobic”.
In its statement issued last Friday, the African group of ambassadors said it “noted with great concern the continuing and growing trend from the US administration towards Africa and people of African descent to denigrate the continent and people of colour.”
The group also expressed its solidarity with the people of Haiti and others that have similarly been denigrated. It also affirmed its commitment to the “values and principles of multilateralism, diversity and equality enshrined in relevant African Union and UN Charter instruments”.
The AU also released its own statement “to express its infuriation, disappointment and outrage over the unfortunate comments made by Mr Trump which dishonour the celebrated American creed and respect for diversity and human dignity”.
The AU demanded “a retraction of the comments as well as an apology, not only to the Africans, but to all people of African descent around the globe”.
Speaking on Lesotho’s position, Mr Molapo this week told the Lesotho Times that the government stood by the AU statement condemning the utterances.
He however, said the government of Lesotho “believes that enough noise has been made with regards to the (Trump) remarks”.
“We also don’t believe that Lesotho is part of the ‘shithole’ countries mentioned by Mr Trump.
“We have good relations with the US and we don’t believe that our friendship can be tainted by one unfortunate statement which could have been made in the heat of the moment.
“What President Trump is said to have said does not describe what our relationship with the US is like in reality. The good that the US has done cannot be tainted by this unfortunate statement and we believe that the Minister of Foreign Affairs (Lesego Makgothi) will take up the matter with the US and give us an answer,” Mr Joang said.
He said the Lesotho government was confident that action was already being taken to address the fallout from the remarks by Mr Trump, adding that if at all Lesotho would release its own statement, it “would not be driven by emotions, but it will be based on the context of our relationship with the United States which we would like to see continuing”.