US pledges continued support to Lesotho
The American government has always been focused on ensuring a better life for Basotho, particularly the youth, and would always support Lesotho in the country’s efforts to improve the wellbeing of its citizens.
This is according to the American Chargé d’Affaires in Lesotho, Carl Fox.
Speaking at a function held in Maseru on Thursday last week to mark his country’s Independence Day, Mr Fox said America’s commitment to development in Lesotho is an enduring one.
The United States of America (USA) gained independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776, and the American Embassy in Lesotho last Thursday held a colourful reception at a Maseru hotel to mark the occasion, with Mr Fox reiterating his country’s commitment to helping developing countries such as Lesotho”, Mr Fox said.
“Since 1967, American Peace Corps Volunteers have taught generations of Basotho students and their efforts continue today in schools across the country.
“All the volunteers take part in efforts to enable young Basotho to grow into healthy, active and productive members of their communities, including activities in HIV-prevention, life-skills, physical fitness and financial literacy.”
Fox further said in recent months, the USA has been among many of Lesotho’s friends closely watching political developments in the country.
Lesotho’s three parties constituting government, namely the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and Basotho National Party (BNP), are currently engaged in talks aimed at ending a standoff which threatens an alliance they entered into after the May 26, 2012 general election.
The LCD has accused ABC leader, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, of not consulting his fellow leaders when making key government decisions, among them his nine-month suspension of parliament on June 10, 2014.
The accusation has since sparked fears both at home and abroad, that the coalition government could collapse, leading to mediation efforts by many stakeholders, among them the Christian Council of Lesotho and Southern African Development Community.
As part of efforts to find a lasting solution to the impasse, a high-powered Lesotho delegation of politicians, senior government officials and church leaders led by LCD leader, Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, arrives back home today from a weeklong visit to New Zealand during which the delegates studied how coalition governments operate.
“We have every expectation that the commitment of all parties to peace, stability and security for the entire Basotho nation, will lead towards continued dialogue and respect for democratic practice.
“I understand that several of our invited guests for today’s celebration are in New Zealand studying institutional arrangements that lend support to the effective functioning of coalition governments.
“I’m hopeful their experience will permit a renewed focus on the business of government to achieve Lesotho’s development goals by improving the lives of Basotho for the next generation,” Mr Fox said.
Mr Fox also said in order for the country to maintain the progress it has realised over the years in such spheres as economic development and democracy, it would need the active participation of all arms of government — the legislature (parliament), executive (the government itself) and judiciary (the courts ) — as well as a professional civil service capable of delivering effective and efficient services to the people.
In his speech, the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Lebesa Maloi, wished Americans a happy Independence Day.
“The cordial relations that have existed between our two countries continue to blossom and remain mutually beneficial,” Mr Maloi said.
The minister cited the Millennium Challenge Account — a bilateral US aid agency established in 2004 — as well as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which has allowed select countries to enjoy special trade benefits with the US since 2000, among them Lesotho, among the benefits America has extended to Maseru.
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