MASERU — Water Affairs Minister Timothy Thahane says a group of youths calling for his dismissal over his handling of the water project are unfairly targeting him.
Last week the Youth Forum, a loose coalition of youths from different political parties, said it was unhappy with the way Thahane was handling issues surrounding the water project.
It said it would soon ask Prime Minister Tom Thabane to fire Thahane from his cabinet.
The group is yet to meet the prime minister.
Thahane however told a press conference on Thursday that he felt the Youth Forum was singling him out for attack.
He said he did not understand why the group was targeting him because he is part of a cabinet sub-committee of ministers tasked to deal with the Lesotho Highlands Water Project (LHWP) issues.
Thahane is the chairperson of a committee that includes Foreign Affairs Minister Mohlabi Tsekoa, Home Affairs Minister Joang Molapo, Development Planning Minister Moeketsi Majoro, Law Minister Haae Phoofolo and Finance Minister Leketekete Ketso.
“I do not make decisions alone, we make them together as the committee,” Thahane said.
The Youth Forum, he said, was well aware of the existence of that sub-committee.
To then argue that he must take the blame for the issues that are supposed to be addressed by the subcommittee is unfair, said Thahane.
“I do not know why they chose to single me out of all these members of the committee,” he said.
He told the press conference that he was going to South Africa to meet his counterpart Edna Molewa on Thursday to discuss the LHWP Phase II implementation.
He emphasised that power generation in Lesotho is still a component of the agreement between Lesotho and South Africa in the construction of Polihali Dam.
Last week the forum’s leader, Bokang Ramatšella, who is also the deputy secretary general of the Lesotho People’s Congress, told the Sunday Express that Thahane is not advancing Lesotho’s interests.
The forum alleges that the minister is dragging his feet in establishing a team to renegotiate the Phase Two agreement of the water project.
Negotiations on the new deal are supposed to be completed by the end of this month, according to the agreement between Lesotho and South Africa.
During a meeting in Pretoria last month Thabane and South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma agreed that the new agreement should be signed in Maseru by the end of this month.
The problem, the youth forum says, is that even as that deadline draws nearer Thahane has not formed a team to represent Lesotho in the negotiations.
The group is worried that if Lesotho does not form a team soon and prepare for the negotiations it will end up signing another flawed agreement.
The youths are also angered that Thahane is yet to establish a team of experts to review the August 2011 agreement as Thabane had agreed with Zuma in May.
Ramatšella said the youths would fight tooth and nail to ensure that Lesotho does not sign an agreement that will not favour it.
“If that agreement does not favour Lesotho we will fight. It will have to be signed over our dead bodies,” Ramatšella said.