‘Youths can take political power’
A REPORT released last year by the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU) found that young people continued to be chronically under-represented in the world’s parliaments at a time when the global youth population was the largest it has ever been in history.
The IPU, which is a focal point for world-wide parliamentary dialogue, found that only 1.9 percent of the world’s 45 000 parliamentarians were aged below 30.
The report also noted that people between the ages 20 and 44 years made up 57 percent of the world’s voters, yet only made up 26 percent of the parliamentarians.
However, the Basotho National Party’s (BNP) parliamentary candidate for the Lithoteng constituency, Advocate Mpheulane Posholi, says his contesting in the 3 June 2017 snap elections is meant to buck this trend.
At 25 years old, Adv Posholi is among the youngest candidates to contest in Lesotho’s parliamentary elections. He talks to Sunday Express (SE) reporter ’Marafaele Mohloboli about his candidature and other related issues in this interview.
SE: Tell us more about yourself.
Posholi: I am Mpheulane Innocent Posholi, the last born in a family of four boys. I was born and bred in the outskirts of Maseru in Semphetenyane. I went to Mahlaseli Primary School and then proceeded to ’Mabathoana High School. Thereafter, I studied for an LLB, (Bachelor of Law degree) at the National University of Lesotho. I am a practising advocate in Lesotho’s courts of law.
SE: Why did you decide to join politics and the BNP for that matter?
Posholi: For the fact that I am quite a vocal individual and have always been from childhood, I have always been an opinionated character. I have followed politics from a fledgling age and have always been keen to hear Lesotho political stories of pre-1986, 1994, 1998 and the likes.
Coming from a very underprivileged community which doesn’t even have tarred roads and has one of the highest crime rates, I have been advocating for change. I thought what better person than myself to bring this sorely needed change.
I was raised in the BNP; my paternal and maternal family members are staunch BNP members. It is fair to say that I was bred in the BNP. Thus, when the time to make a decision on my political home came, I couldn’t find a more suitable party than the BNP.
BNP was my first home where I learnt of the milestones of party founder Dr Jonathan Leabua, the party structure and how the youth structure is vibrant. I saw the BNP as the only party that allows young people to take part in major decisions.
SE: Why politics at all when you have studied to be an advocate?
Posholi: Like I said earlier, I am a fruit that hasn’t fallen far from the tree. I would still be directly dealing with societal problems if I am elected as an MP. I recall one of my law professors in jurisprudence saying: “When politicians are in parliament and enacting policies; they admire lawyers, like tigers admire lions. They may have their perceived beautiful stripes, but we will have our roar as kings of the legislature.” So who is better in the legislature than a lawyer who has actually studied the fundamentals of parliament?
SE: Do you think you have what it takes to be in politics?
Posholi: I am many things wrapped in one package, dynamite in a small package, young and enthusiastic with an educational background and still advancing in my studies.
I am a socialite, a people’s person, a believer and a child of the 21st century. I am a new thing living in the new era of politics, technical advancement and new social challenges. I am part of this growth and we need mutable people in politics who will address novel issues.
SE: For most people, politics is perceived as a game for the elderly. What’s your take on that?
Posholi: Totally the opposite, politics is for all. This country belongs to all of us; the negatives and positives of politics affect us equally: Men, women and youth alike.
SE: What personal attributes do you offer the Lithoteng constituency voters?
Posholi: Creativity, innovation, and a definite change. I don’t make promises I am not ready to keep. I interact daily with members of my community to understand their needs. So, I won’t offer what people don’t need. My age is a blessing since I am more open-minded.
SE: What can you say to young people about their generally negative perception of politics?
Posholi: Nothing sells and works better than something new. We are young and resilient and I believe we can do things better than our elders. As youths, we have the power.
SE: What do you think youths lack to become game-changers?
Posholi: Confidence and patience, that’s all! We don’t need money, we just need voices, the confidence to do it, and the time to plan it.
SE: What are your worst fears should you not win the constituency?
Posholi: My legal career may suffer since I am still a novice in my practice. So far, I have a good reputation and I don’t want to lose it.
The other issue I fear is losing to someone who would continue neglecting our community’s needs and I will feel like a failure.
SE: What’s your take on the perception that politics is a dirty game?
Posholi: Now that I am involved, I believe that statement to be true. I never imagined that my rivals would get to the lengths they have in fighting against me. But it’s a matter of choice how one plays this game; dirty or clean.
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