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‘Coalition government wants SA to swallow us’

Bongiwe Zihlangu

MASERU — Former premier Pakalitha Mosisili says the coalition government’s push for dual citizenship will effectively result in Lesotho being “incorporated into South Africa” at great cost to Basotho. Mosisili was speaking at his party’s Democratic Congress (DC) rally in Kolonyama constituency on Sunday. He said hardly before the coalition government had settled into office Home Affairs Minister Joang Molapo is already “talking about dual citizenship”.

“Now that they have taken over government power, Home Affairs Minister Joang Molapo is talking dual citizenship and the incorporation of Lesotho into South Africa,” Mosisili said. “I say to Basotho, watch out because there is danger lurking on the horizon.” Dual citizenship is a highly emotive issue among Basotho some of whom also hold South African citizenship. Two years ago, a Lesotho envoy in South Africa angered the then government led by Mosisili when he began lobbying for dual citizenship for Basotho nationals in South Africa.

There was a move to push for the amendment of the constitution to allow dual citizenship for Basotho, many of whom have been at the receiving end of law enforcement agencies in South Africa.
There were allegations that some Basotho who were given IDs before South Africa’s first democratic elections in 1994 were now being denied their right to that country’s citizenship and were being deported to Lesotho illegally.
While Lesotho does not allow dual citizenship, the coalition government is on record as having said it was weighing its options to deal with the issue adding “amending the dual citizenship clause is one of the options on the table”. But Mosisili said the government should tread carefully because Lesotho with its almost two million people will be “swallowed by South Africa”.

“There are 46 million people in South Africa comprising Basotho, Shanganis and Zulus. If we were to allow for dual citizenship, they would swallow us raw because they will also seek Lesotho citizenship,” Mosisili said. “This is one way this nationalist government is intending to hand us over to South Africa. I therefore urge you people to be careful, very careful.”

He added: “I’m not being malicious, I’m only telling the truth as it is. I therefore urge Basotho to be vigilant and seriously scrutinise this dual citizenship issue. Lesotho has been bought with a heavy price, Basotho’s blood which was spilt in the past.” The former premier said he was not surprised that the coalition government made up of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and the Basotho National Party (BNP) is hell-bent on selling out Lesotho to South Africa because the nationalist movement was established for the sole purpose of helping the colonial masters “to further enslave Basotho”.

“The nationalists do not have any other plan but to torment Basotho. They were established by the whites to stop Ntsu Mokhehle (founder of the Congress movement in Lesotho) and others from emancipating Basotho from slavery,” Mosisili said. “The congress ideology advocated for Lesotho’s independence while the whites were hell-bent on having Lesotho incorporated into South Africa.”
Mosisili added that during the reign of former premier Leabua Jonathan between 1970 and 1986 the nationalists were popular for “expelling Basotho from their jobs in the civil service”.

“Even the nationalists of today continue to expel Basotho from work. In my opinion, the dog has gone back to its vomit,” Mosisili said. Mosisili continued his tirade, saying the ABC and BNP nationalists, with their 35 combined parliamentary seats, could not dream of governing Lesotho until Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) joined the nationalists “by combining their own 26 seats to come with 61 seats to govern”.

“There was no way they could have formed government with only 35 seats. The truth of the matter is that the people who brought the nationalists back into government are those of Metsing’s LCD,” Mosisili said. “It’s unfortunate that after suffering at the hands of the Nationalists, our very own congress people give them governance on a silver platter.”

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