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AD attacks govt over Covid-19

Nthatuoa Koeshe

THE opposition Alliance of Democrats (AD) has demanded the re-opening of parliament to discusses what it considers to be the government’s inept handling of the deadly Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Covid-19 infections have been increasing at an exponential rate in the past few weeks- a development the AD blames on Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro’s administration.

In a statement this week, AD secretary general Mahali Phamotse accused Dr Majoro’s government of ineptitude.

Until May 2020, the AD was part of All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader and former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s governing coalition. It was the second biggest party in that coalition which also included the Basotho National Party (BNP) and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL).

The Thabane regime collapsed after the ABC’s national executive committee (NEC) terminated the coalition deal. It subsequently formed a new coalition with the Democratic Congress (DC) with the RCL as junior partners. The AD’s belated attempts to join the new coalition were rejected by the ABC’s NEC which accused the Monyane Moleleki-led party of remaining too long in Mr Thabane’s camp.

Now in opposition, the AD has accused the new regime of failing to come up with as concrete action plan to halt the spread of the pandemic.

She said despite the ouster of Mr Thabane, the ABC was still divided and the government had shifted its focus from service delivery to managing the ABC crisis.

“The prime minister seems overwhelmed and startled with no real power to make firm and hard decisions for the benefit of Basotho,” Dr Phamotse said.

She said it was clear that the laws, regulations and implementation strategies on Covid-19 testing, quarantining and isolation are inadequate to stop the spread of the disease.

She said it was therefore important to recall parliament from its winter break “to allow legislators to make decisions for the benefit of the people at the grassroots”.

“The recent exponential growth in case numbers tells us all that something is not working. A better more comprehensive strategy needs to be formulated and quickly implemented.

“It’s clear with the rising numbers of new cases, hospitalisations and deaths from Covid-19 that the time has now arrived for serious and decisive actions if Lesotho is going to avoid a catastrophe. There is no strategy of handling corpses and identification of burial sites in place,” Dr Phamotse said.

She also accused ABC ministers were breaking the public health regulations limiting gatherings to a maximum of 50 people.

“Another sad turn of events is that most ministers, in particular the Minister of Law (Professor Nqosa Mahao) held political rallies or gatherings against the Covid-19 regulations. This put a large number of Basotho at risk (of contracting the virus),” Dr Phamotse said.

Dr Phamotse said they were aware of the increasing number of Covid-19 infections in the country, adding that it was clear that Lesotho was no longer dealing with cases imported from other countries.

She said Lesotho has started registering local infections.

“We urge the government to seriously step up its efforts to educate Basotho on the disease and the ways to avoid infection and transmission.”

The Prime Minister’s spokesperson, Mosito Moqhekoana, said he could not comment on the issue of opening of parliament as it was yet to be discussed.

Mr Moqhekoana said blaming the spike of Covid-19 cases on the Majoro regime was nonsensical because Lesotho was merely following a trend where Covid-19 infections were few in the beginning before rising sharply.

“This has been a trend that most countries followed where cases start off as a few then shoot up with time. Blaming that on Dr Majoro’s administration does not make sense,” Mr Moqhekoana said in an interview with the Sunday Express this week.

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