LESOTHO is set to welcome the Basotho Liberation Movement (BLM) as the 36th political party in the country’s already congested political landscape.
The BLM will be the second female led party in the country should its founder, ’Mapuleng Montši, successfully register the party with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
Labour Minister Keketso Rantšo, who heads the Reformed Congress for Lesotho (RCL), is the only female leader of a political party in Lesotho.
In a recent interview with the Sunday Express, Ms Montši said she had already applied to the IEC and she could not wait to enter the political fray so that she could work to improve the economy and living standards of Basotho who had been shortchanged by the various parties that have governed Lesotho since independence from Britain in 1966.
Lesotho is already littered with so many political parties and most of them have struggled to make an impact in a small country with a population of 2, 1 million people. It has been suggested that as part of the multi-sector reforms, Lesotho should increase the threshold for a party to be registered to 5000 members from the current 500 to curb the proliferation of political parties.
But Ms Montši is unfazed by the struggles of most political parties and the calls to increase the threshold for registration.
She told this publication that she had already begun a spirited countrywide campaign to recruit members to change Lesotho’s politics for the better.
She said her personal experiences of poverty and suffering while growing up had prepared her for the daunting task of lifting the majority of Basotho out of chronic food insecurity and joblessness.
“I grew up an orphan after I lost my father when I was only nine years old and my mother when I was 13,” Ms Montši said.
“I had to live with relatives and life was never easy as there were days when I went to bed on an empty stomach.
“I know the pain of poverty and hunger even though my father had been a chief at Selukung, Mpharane in the Mohale’s Hoek district. I have memories of my father sleeping outside the house on hot nights without the fear of being attacked by anyone but this cannot be done these days because people are always attacking and killing each other.
“And I always wonder what really went wrong? Where did we derail as a nation? Why is there such a gap between the poor and the rich? It is indeed sad for me to see other people going to bed on an empty stomach when some people actually have more than enough and are even throwing food away.
“Every day we hear stories of people who were mugged; women and girls who were raped and family members that were killed in their homes. This has moved me to do something for my country. The BLM’s slogan is ‘Ho lekane Basotho’ meaning, ‘it is enough Basotho’.”
She said it was disheartening that people continued to suffer when Lesotho was blessed with abundant natural resources such as water and minerals. She also called on the electorate to overwhelmingly vote for her party in the next elections to avoid a coalition government as such governments had failed the nation through constant bickering among the coalition partners.
“This country is blessed with abundant natural resources but we are among the least developed in the world. We have water but we are hard hit by water shortages in some places. This goes to show that there is something very wrong with us.
“Basotho should know that coalition governments do not cut it for us. Basotho should go back to their ways of love and peace and we can only attain this by voting overwhelmingly for one party which will achieve stability and the BLM is that party,” said Ms Montši.
Meanwhile, IEC Operations Inspector, Kotsoane Motsie, confirmed that the BLM had applied for registration and the IEC had begun the process of verifying whether or not party met all the requirements for registration.
“The BLM has applied and its registration might be delayed by the absence of commissioners as they are the ones who register and deregister parties,” said Mr Motsie.
The IEC remains without commissioners after the government refused to renew the contracts of former commissioners, Mahapela Lehohla, ‘Mamosebi Pholo and Makase Nyaphisi after they expired in January this year.