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King celebrates 57th birthday

…channels M2 million meant for his birthday to Covid-19 fight

Bataung Moeketsi

HIS Majesty King Letsie III celebrated his 57th birthday at the Royal Palace in Maseru in a low-key event attended by few important guests due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unlike previous years where the nation turned out in their thousands at big venues to celebrate the King’s birthday, this year’s event was attended by a much smaller gathering of prominent people at the royal palace. This was in compliance with public regulations that limit gatherings to a maximum of 50 people to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu were among the few who attended the celebrations along with some cabinet officials, clergymen and heads of diplomatic missions.

But in a touching gesture and hugely significant contribution to the fight against Covid-19, His Majesty revealed that the M2 million that had been set aside to fund the birthday celebrations had now been channelled to the fight against the deadly virus which has so far infected 359 people and killed six.

His Majesty said he hoped the funds “will be put to good use”.

He also spoke of his grief that his 57th birthday was being held at a time when Lesotho and the entire world were battling the deadly pandemic.

“As I celebrate this 57th year of my life on earth, I do so with a heavy heart because our beloved country and indeed the whole world is being engulfed by a dangerous and invisible enemy that we know as Covid-19.

“Scores of Basotho have begun to contract this disease while some have lost their lives to the pandemic,” King Letsie said.

He added that the presence of heads of diplomatic missions at the celebrations was a “sign that we continue to share ideals of peace, freedom, justice and sustainable development”.

King Letsie III took the opportunity to plead with the government and the nation to work to ensure a bright future for the generations to come. He spoke of the need to implement the much-delayed multi-sector reforms.

“I trust that we all understand that we are in a time where we need to fix and strengthen our governance institutions.

“A decline in our economy and the need for political stability is a clear sign that things need to change,” he said.

Prime Minister Majoro thanked the king for remaining a symbol of unity and coming to his people’s aid by donating the M2 million to the fight against Covid-19.

A moment of silence was held to commemorate Basotho who were infected and affected by Covid-19 as well as to remember those who had died from the virus.

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