MASERU – Basotho National Party (BNP) old hand and former secretary general, Majara Molapo, has thrown his hat in the ring for the presidency of the party.
The one-time BNP publicity secretary will be pitted against
party veterans Ranthomeng Matete, current interim leader Thesele ’Maseribane, former National University of Lesotho (NUL) professor Kopano Makoa, Pius Molapo amd ’Mabatloung Lillane at the March 25-27 elective conference.
The Sunday Express this week spoke to Molapo on how he intends to help the former ruling party regain its relevance on Lesotho’s political arena.
Below are the excerpts from the interview with Group Political Editor Bongiwe Zihlangu.
Sunday Express (SE): What is your vision for the BNP?
Molapo: My vision for the BNP is for it to be a party that shall remain and maintain its sacrosanct status of being a dependable democracy that must be fully accountable to the Basotho electorate.
I would love to see the BNP striving for a unitary Basotho nation, promoting social justice, peace, protection and security for all; and working towards national economic construction, self-sufficiency and self-reliance.
For there to be openness, transparency and accountability as a way to ensure that the BNP shall never again and hereafter be a pawn of any arbitrary clique.
SE: If elected, how do you intend to turn around the party’s fortunes?
Molapo: I will work towards the rediscovery and resuscitation of the core business of the BNP and create the best organisational form that will effectively drive our programmes and actions.
The urgency is in collecting all the scattered BNP members, sit down, talk about our grievances and forgive each other.
The current position in the party is that the door has been closed on the people as if they have no vested interest in the BNP.
We need to set up platforms to allow people’s views to be incorporated.
SE: How do you plan to reorganise the BNP at the grassroots level?
Molapo: By facilitating for the setting up of full-time, staffed and adequately equipped and operating party offices in each of the electoral constituencies and substructures.
I will also devise mechanisms through which party constituency structures and substructures can be enabled to raise funds and other forms of material and moral assistance.
I will also be up-to-date with the village constituency statistics and census trends and related dynamics which the party can rely upon for all its business and development purposes.
SE: What factors would you say have in the past decade contributed to the disintegration of the BNP, thus weakening its structures?
Molapo: The lack of over-arching purpose.
When the BNP ceased to be a ruling party, we never seriously anticipated that there would be change. We never prepared for any eventuality.
The loss of identity also played a big role in weakening the party.
We lost hope.
For the lack of commitment and discipline, people became confused and left the party to join either the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) or, recently, the main opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) party.
SE: What skills of your own do you intend to bring into the party without dwelling too much on the Leabua Jonathan rhetoric.
Molapo: All that he left behind was a platform to work on to pursue the interests of the party and its people.
We will definitely continue to walk the path he’s paved for us, but only where it’s relevant to today’s politics.
It’s like the Bible.
It was written a long time ago but still has relevance in today’s society.
SE: How do you perceive the BNP constitution?
Molapo: (sighs). It is unsystematic, unreasonable and untenable.
It is oppressive and, as such, it is in conflict with the country’s constitution.
It can’t work in today’s society: it is archaic.
SE: Do you plan to call for constitutional reforms if elected?
Molapo: Because the current constitution is in such a bad state, I would call for a complete repeal so that we can draft a totally new document by way of a referendum to include people’s voices.
This one has totally stripped power off the constituencies and serves only the best interests of the leader and the head office.
Alternatively, we can resuscitate the BNP constitution which was suspended in 2007 and introduce some amendments to it.
SE: What would you do differently from former BNP leader, Metsing Lekhanya, to restore the BNP’s integrity?
Molapo: There was absolutely no democracy in the BNP under Lekhanya’s leadership.
The power was with Lekhanya and Lekhanya alone.
He had the tendency to handpick his favourite candidates to contest elections in constituencies at the expense of those preferred by the electorate.
I am a victim of that.
The BNP under Majara Molapo will strive towards the empowerment of women and youth, to become more active in the party through development projects.
There will also be empowerment programmes done regarding political and civic education as well as financial disbursement.
SE: If elected, do you already have structures in place on how to approach the pending local government elections?
Molapo: Yes, I am ready.
We will start by visiting all the 10 districts of Lesotho.
This is because each district has its own dynamics.
There we will be educating people about the importance of local government elections.
We will also encourage them to draw up their own programmes prioritising their needs, which we will then submit to the central government.
SE: What would you say is wrong with the running of our local government currently?
Molapo: There is really no decentralisation.
The minister of local government and chieftainship affairs has absolute powers.
Her approach is theoretical in that, to her, local councils nationwide have similar problems.
I can tell you this is a real problem. In the past, district councils made their own by-laws suitable for their region.
The current position is that the minister presides over all councils.
The power is not in the least decentralised.
SE: How do you intend to remedy the problem?
Molapo: All councils have to make their own budgets instead of having them done by the local government ministry.
The treasury should be disbursing funds to curb the corruption currently reigning in the councils throughout the country.
There should also be community parliaments nationwide whose purpose will be creating by-laws for individual councils relevant to each region but working within the framework of the central government.
SE: Of all the six candidates, who would you say is going to give you a run for your money?
Molapo: No one in particular stands out.
They all have their own special qualities.
It so happens that we all pretty much have a similar vision for the party.
For the avoidance of confusing the electorate, I wish we could sit down together, all the six of us, agree on some of us pulling out and leaving just two people to run for the presidency.
SE: If your wish were to materialise, would you want to be one of the two running for the BNP top post?
Molapo: No, not really.
All I want is for the BNP to be successful.
It’s just that some of the candidates are clueless about what needs to be done to revive the BNP.
Just because some candidates are children of late BNP veterans
doesn’t make them leadership material.