FORMER Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili has been praised by the disabled community for his appreciation and support for people with disabilities during his time in office.
Dr Mosisili assumed office in 2015 at the helm of the seven parties’ coalition but his administration’s tenure was short-lived as he was defeated in the snap elections that were held on 3 June 2017. The elections were called after Dr Mosisili lost a parliamentary motion of no confidence on 1 March 2017.
A year after his fall, Dr Mosisili is still remembered by some members of the disabled community for his efforts in mainstreaming the concerns of persons with disabilities onto the national agenda.
The President of the Basotho Federation of Youth with Disability, Likenkeng Molibeli, used the recent occasion of the donation of braille textbooks by the Chinese Embassy to sing Dr Mosisili’s praises.
Speaking at the occasion, Ms Molibeli said Dr Mosisili was a hero because at some point during his tenure, he appointed a blind person and another physically handicapped person to his cabinet.
Ms Molibeli said this was evidence that Dr Mosisili was “not ashamed of the disabled community”.
“Dr Mosisili is a man who was never ashamed of having a blind minister in his cabinet,” gushed Ms Molibeli.
“I’m talking about the late Refiloe Moses Masemene who was appointed Minister of Employment and Labour. Dr Mosisili also appointed Mikia Maholela who walked with the aid of crutches.
“Ntate Mosisili we honour you for appreciating people with disabilities, for seeing ability within their disability. We so much wish that all the leaders would have the same understanding and the same perception on the issues of disability as you had.
“You fully understood the slogan that states that ‘Disabled people- nothing for them without them’. We are therefore very grateful to you.”
Ms Molibeli also praised the Minister of Social Development ‘Matebatso Doti for her hard work in promoting the welfare of the disabled.
Since her appointment last year, Ms Doti has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure the enactment of the Disability Equity Bill as well promoting other policy interventions to improve the welfare of the country’s vulnerable groups.
“The special needs of the disabled are taken care of in that bill and I will push it through as I am confident it will answer all their problems,” Ms Doti said in an interview with the Sunday Express’ sister Lesotho Times newspaper.
Ms Doti also revealed that she had set herself ambitious targets to improve the general welfare of the vulnerable and underprivileged through among other things, the creation of a vibrant Department of Community Development in collaboration with the Ministry of Small Business Development.
“The vulnerable already receive grants but beyond these safety nets my vision is for this ministry to spearhead their development.
“We need to have a Department of Community Development so that they can be capacitated to start cooperatives and I’m going to work with the Ministry of Small Business,” added Ms Doti.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy recently donated 43 braille Sesotho and Development Studies textbooks for use by visually impaired teachers by Lesotho in Maseru.
Ms Molibeli thanked the Chinese Embassy for hearkening to the blind teachers’ appeal for assistance.
“Blind teachers will now be able adequately to prepare in advance for their lessons like (their able-bodied) counterparts,” Ms Molibeli said. She further appealed for more braille textbooks for other subjects.
Ms Molibeli also used the hand-over ceremony to appeal to the government to involve them in dialogue and consultation on issues pertaining to their welfare.