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Public outcry over MPs’ salary demands

…many people vow not to re-elect “selfish” legislators

LESOTHO’S members of parliament have hit the headlines with their demands for a whopping 100 percent salary increment.

But their demands have made Basotho, most of who live below the poverty datum threshold of $1 a day, very angry. Most are vowing never to vote again or never to vote for the current crop of MPs who have made it categorically clear, through their outrageous demands, that they are in politics not to serve the people but for their own self-aggrandisement. If ever there was a time for politicians not to be asking for salary raises, it is now, when the government is battling to contain the effects of the coronavirus pandemic which has increased poverty among the poor. But the fact that the MPs are asking for a salary raise now, when about 900 000 Basotho are expected to go hungry, proves they are not fit for purpose. These views, against the MPs who already earn hefty salaries of M35 000 monthly, were expressed by Basotho interviewed by Sunday Express journalists, Nthatuoa Koeshe and Bataung Moeketsi, this week.
Some of those interviewed asked the media to particularly expose those MPs agitating for the increments to ensure they get punished at the next polls. Excerpts;
Molemo Tlahali

It absolutely makes no sense at all for the MPs to be demanding salary increments right now. We are currently dealing with a (Covid-19) pandemic that forced us to go on lockdown. During that time businesses had to be shut down and a lot of money was lost. The economy suffered when the businesses were not active. Right now, all our resources should to be channelled towards fighting this pandemic.

I also think its silly for the MPs to demand a pay hike when most ordinary people are earning little and are impoverished. Some families, especially in the rural areas, don’t have two cents to survive on. It makes no sense at all for these people to be demanding M75 000 monthly salaries. They want to get paid that much when our economy is not thriving. Right now, the focus should be on jump-starting the economy. Whatever money there is should be pumped into reviving trade, technology and other key sectors before anyone can start demanding increments.
I definitely would not re-elect such people into parliament because a servant is supposed to serve the people first. But with their demands for a 100 percent increment, they have clearly shown that they are serving themselves and not the people. I would never elect any of these guys again.

‘Mamokhaoli Florence Phakoe
The MPs’ demands don’t make sense at all because many people and businesses still have to recover from their (Covid-19 induced) financial losses. Some people have lost their jobs while others are trying to live on the little that they have left. Government funds should be spent on people who really need help but these people (legislators) don’t need any help.
Come 2022, I don’t think I would re-elect any of them.

Khauta Tsoai
I am against the MPs’ demands for 100 percent salary increments. I spit on their demands because these people are already getting huge benefits but they are totally oblivious to the fact that some Basotho are struggling to make ends meet. They are already in a comfort zone but they still want more. These are times when they should be stepping up and making sure that Basotho are safe from Covid-19. But they are only interested in what benefits them. When it’s issues to do with Basotho they turn a blind eye.
I will never vote for them again.

Mokoena Nkopane
If they (MPs) knew how to empower all Basotho, I wouldn’t have a problem with them making those kinds of demands. But these are people who are doing nothing for Basotho. They don’t put the nation first. All they think about is themselves. The MPs are corrupt and can’t even copy from other countries that are always striving for development. I don’t like this government and the people in it. They have made me hate politics and unless there is visible change in this country I will never vote again.

Tefo Chakela
It is unfair for the MPs to make such demands. It doesn’t make sense for the very people who are already well paid to be asking for salary increments.
We elected them to ensure service delivery and they haven’t delivered. (At the next elections) I will not re-elect someone who failed to serve me and failed to deliver on the things they promised when they first ran for office.

‘Makatleho Masheane
Honestly, this issue about our MPs demanding salary increments does not make me happy at all. Basotho are hungry; there are many orphans in the villages and there are people living with disabilities who urgently need help. But the MPs don’t see this because they are thinking only of themselves.
Even with their hefty salaries, you don’t see them (MPs) making any efforts to help in their villages. They are just looking at increasing their riches and improving their own families’ welfare. I am not pleased with this issue of M75 000 salary increments at all. It has hurt me deeply. Please MPs, have pity on us ordinary Basotho. We are hungry and youths roam the streets because there are no jobs. We went to school but there are no jobs.
But even in such conditions our MPs want raises.
Honestly, I will never vote again. I will not use my finger again to vote for anyone. We trusted them and thought they would bring change. A month hasn’t even passed since the new government was formed but these MPs are already asking for increments. I will never vote again.

Ntoetsi Nthabi
I don’t think it’s a good idea to give them raises when they already earn so much. We have so many problems that need to be dealt with right now. There are people who don’t have jobs. There are farms in the villages that are not being ploughed because there are no tractors and money. The government should instead give the poor money and buy them tractors so that their farms are ploughed. The government should also focus on creating jobs here in Maseru so that we may all earn a living because many of us don’t have jobs.
They (MPs) shouldn’t be re-elected because in asking for increments they aren’t thinking of the people who elected them. They are only thinking of themselves. The first thing they should have thought of when they were elected are the people who voted for them. They should be thinking of how to develop this country. But they are leaving us behind and just thinking of themselves alone. That is not right.

‘Mahlompho Mochobi
I have heard about MPs demanding salary hikes and this doesn’t sit well with me. We have more pressing challenges that need to be addressed like this Covid-19 pandemic as well as people in different communities who are starving without food to eat. MPs are supposed to help those that are impoverished but they aren’t doing so. They haven’t gone out into the communities to see how much Basotho are suffering but they expect their salaries to be increased.
In that House of MPs, I don’t see anyone with a vision to develop Lesotho. They are just looking to grow their riches. They don’t see themselves as leaders of a nation because a leader must meet the needs of the people who got him into that position. I don’t see myself ever voting if they are going to bring back the same candidates. I would rather vote for people in these new parties that are popping up.

Thabiso Mosebi
This issue of MPs demanding higher salaries by 100 percent is unreasonable especially during this time when we are faced with this scourge of Covid-19. Some factory workers still haven’t received the subsidies promised by the government. Everyone is aware of the weak economic position the country is in yet MPs find it fit to demand increments. I do not like the idea at all.
These people should not be re-elected because they do not love this country. They only want the money and it shows from their actions.

Retšelisitsoe Molupe
This pains me because they (MPs) are making unreasonable demands. Basotho are struggling and all that MPs care about is their personal wealth. The MPs’ demands are unreasonable and if the government agrees to them, it would be a huge injustice for Basotho.
I won’t vote for these people again. They have destroyed the little trust we had in them.

Lerotholi Moshoeshoe (refused to have picture taken): I don’t think all the MPs could be so unreasonable to demand increments at this very difficult juncture in our country. May I please ask you to expose those who are calling for the increases. I personally would want to know them and ensure I campaign against them in their own constituencies never to be voted again because they are scumbags.

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