Metsing attacks Majoro over Covid-19 response
FORMER Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing has blasted Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro over what he said was the government’s failure to come up with a clear strategy to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an open letter to Dr Majoro, Mr Metsing who leads the opposition Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), accused the government of negligence by allegedly allowing thousands of Basotho to enter the country for the recent Christmas holiday without presenting valid Covid-19 tests.
He said this could have been avoided by deploying health and security personnel at all ports of entry to conduct rapid Covid-19 tests.
“You will no doubt be taken aback by the format of the current correspondence to you considering the number of times and occasions on which I have penned confidential letters to you on a number of topics and we would subsequently meet to distil those matters,” Mr Metsing states in his letter dated 13 January 2021.
“I have opted to write an open letter to you, Your Excellency, due to my utter shock and disbelief at the manner you have captained the sinking Covid-19 ship. One would conclude that you are quite oblivious of the stark reality. But in case you are aware of the reality, you have maintained an impervious indifference.
“The government you head took a deliberate decision to allow over 100 000 Basotho to cross into the Kingdom without Covid-19 tests, a matter you could have easily addressed by deploying health officials and LDF (Lesotho Defence Force) personnel at all land ports of entry to administer the rapid Covid-19 tests. This would have caused a slight delay to their (travellers’) schedules but it was an indispensable necessity, one that would have been reflective of a caring government.
“That number of people went straight to the villages where they met loved ones. But Your Excellency did not ponder a plan for their return to South Africa,” Mr Metsing said.
He said after the government’s alleged negligence, Lesotho should not fault the South African government for implementing tough measures which inconvenienced Lesotho nationals seeking to enter that country because it had every right to protect its nationals from contracting Covid-19.
“Today, our people spend days at the border just to access a Covid-19 clearance before they cross. Our ministers are shell-shocked at the humanitarian crisis at the border posts. What did they expect? But more poignantly what did you expect Prime Minister after the manner you allowed our people to enter the country for their well-deserved Christmas recess without testing?”
Mr Metsing said many Basotho were dying from Covid-19 due to the government’s failure to acquire medical equipment like oxygen tanks to help patients who were having difficulty breathing on their own.
“It boggles one’s mind that our people are dying because of lack of oxygen in our health facilities.
“Can you, Your Excellency, with a clear conscience watch this debilitating situation and go to sleep peacefully at night and wake up in the morning and go about your daily routine as if nothing has happened? Can you, Your Excellency, proudly bequeath such a legacy to posterity?
“The government has thus far responded in a half-hearted and reactive manner in very sporadic events. As a matter of urgency, please expedite the availability and access to oxygen in all health facilities, availability of oxygen is sacred in this fight.”
Mr Metsing also criticised what he said was the lack of accountability for medical supplies and personal protective equipment (PPE) donated by international development partners and well-wishers to help Lesotho fight Covid-19.
“We were made to believe that friends of Lesotho and other benevolent people donated machines and other important health supplies like ventilators and PPE but they have not been distributed to health facilities and health professionals. Publishing the total amount of inventory and the total amount of monetary interventions and the expenditure thereof, will quell the suspicions and improve the confidence of frontline workers.
“I am sure you will understand my pain at the nature of government’s response and the need to openly distil all these matters with you. You cannot, with a clear conscience allow history to judge you harshly while you can change course and steer the ship to a destination that can give us the confidence that you are doing your best to salvage your own image and the image of the public office you hold,” Mr Metsing further said.
Contacted for comment on Mr Metsing’s letter, Dr Majoro’s press attaché, Mosito Moqhekoana, yesterday said he was yet to obtain a response from the premier.