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Punish inept MPs at the elections

The villagers of ’Moteng, an area in Butha-Buthe district, speak for many when they say the government has neglected them (See story headlined “We are neglected: villagers” on Page 5).

Many people, especially in the rural areas where more than 80 percent of Basotho live, feel the same way.

The stories are all too familiar.

The majority of rural dwellers have neither potable water nor electricity.

Their children, some as young as six, walk long distances to school.

Health centres like hospitals and clinics are so far that visiting them is a mission.

More often than not the hospitals are poorly equipped and staffed.

Doctors are a rare sight in our rural hospitals.

Our rural roads are either terrible or they are not there at all.

That it is the government’s responsibility to provide basic services to the people is admitted.

Yet it is important to remember that while demands on government multiply its cash does not.

There will always be more problems than money can solve.

Given this reality one would expect that MPs, the very people who are supposed to engage the government on behalf of the people, will be fighting more aggressively for their electorate to get a better share of the tiny national purse which is already shrinking.

That is a genuine expectation but not one that the current crop of MPs seems to heed.

Many MPs have either gone “AWOL” or they are just not up to the task.

The only time they remember their electors is when elections are imminent.

Action Aid Lesotho, a local non-governmental organisation that fights poverty, tried to change this when it organised a meeting between villagers in Butha-Buthe and their MPs on Friday.

But as you would expect from our haughty MPs, only one of the six who represent constituencies in the area turned up for the meeting.

Little wonder then that the villagers told the meeting that they felt neglected. 

“There has not been any significant development in the communities for a very long time,” the villagers said.

The villagers must blame their ills on the people they elected into parliament.

It is their MPs who must aggressively pressure the government to improve service delivery.

It’s been a long time since we heard an MP complaining that their constituency has been denied funds for development.

We don’t recall any MP who has fought really hard to get the government to do more for his/her constituency.

It is sad that most of our MPs are content with warming those cozy chairs in parliament waiting for their salaries.

But with elections looming, the people have a chance to change that.

When the election comes in 2012 the villagers must punish the inept MPs by voting them out.

They must shock them.

In a democracy the voters get the MPs they deserve.

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