Thaba-Phechela residents who attended a candidates’ public forum for all participating parties earlier this week said they wanted a Member of Parliament (MP) who would commit to living with them after being voted to parliament.
The residents said they wanted an individual who would prioritise the needs of people in the constituency, “not someone who will jump into the first bus heading to the capital city, Maseru, without hearing what our needs are”.
“Are you people sure that you will work towards eradicating our social ills and not be on your way to the city as soon as we put you in office?” quipped one member of the public during a question-and-answer session after the presentation of manifestos by different candidates.
The candidates present went to great lengths promising the residents heaven-on-earth in their manifestos.
The combined rally for the parties in the constituency was an initiative by a non-governmental organisation, Development for Peace Education (DPE), as part of the final campaign meetings in the build-up to yesterday’s by-election in the constituency.
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is expected to release the result of the election tomorrow.
Thaba-Phechela was one of the two constituencies which had a by-election yesterday following the death of the sitting MP, Molahlehi Malefane, last year. The other poll was staged in Thaba-Moea as well as 27 local government electoral divisions countrywide.
However, Thaba-Phechela is a constituency bedevilled by a lot of developmental problems which include poor roads, lack of access to clean water, electricity and jobs.
A local resident, Morakane Qoachela, who deliberately chose not to attend the campaign forum citing politicians’ empty promises, told the Sunday Express that having lived in the area all her life and “hearing numerous promises by scores of politicians, I have come to the conclusion that all politicians are full of lies as they are always making impossible promises”.
“They are usually seen around here when they come to tout their too-good-to-resist election campaign manifestos, but as soon as they have been voted into office, they jump onto the first bus and go away to be based in Maseru, completely forgetting about the people who voted for them,” she said.
Qoachela insisted she would rather cast her vote for someone who would be committed to advancing the cause of development in the area, “not one who is more interested in loyalty to his or her political party at the expense of the people”.
On the other hand, Mamello Sesing said although she had her own party whose leadership she was very supportive of, she would choose development in the area over loyalty to a political party.
“Of course I have my party and fully support my leader and love my party to bits, but I will not be voting for anyone on the basis that I am affiliated to that party. I’d rather go for someone whose heart is here with us,” she said.
Some of the promises made by the candidates in an attempt to coax votes in their favour included farming, fishery and cannery projects, as well as roads, water and electricity.
Another resident, ‘Mopa Moekoa, said although he did not like the leader of a certain party, he would however, vote for that party’s candidate in the by-election.
“I’m certainly going to vote for the candidate contesting under its banner because, as far as I am concerned, he is the only one whom I can entrust with the future of this constituency”.