Mahao labels other parties’ blueprints ‘wish lists’
MASERU – The Basotho Action Party (BAP) says a sound political system for Lesotho will be one that treats each and every citizen equally, providing the same and indiscriminate access to the opportunities available through clean and transparent governance and the rule of law that does not tolerate graft and all kinds of crime. Its election manifesto, according to the party leader, is extracted from the party’s policy document, which was developed when Basotho Action Party (BAP) was founded in 2021.
The BAP also promises to care for persons with disability for a more humane society. Party leader, Professor Nqosa Leuta Mahao, launched the BAP’s first ever election manifesto this week in the Lithabaneng constituency where he said the fundamental values and principles of BAP are clean governance, rule of law and inclusive and equitable socio-economic development. In an interview with Public Eye, Mahao said his party’s manifesto is not a wish list as compared to those of other parties.
“I personally have not bothered to read other parties manifestos because they are just a wish list that is why one finds that from one platform to the other they talk different things but with us we have been very consistent,” Mahao said. BAP’s manifesto is informed by the three challenges which the party thinks confronts this country. These are: public and private sector corruption; lawlessness that is reigning in the country, which does not only affect lives and properties but also threatens potential investors into the country “hence we speak about the rule of law. Thirdly, we are concerned about the gap between the rich and the poor,” he said.
Without being specific on how his party will achieve the set goals in the manifesto, Mahao said the government is currently inefficient which is why BAP speaks about a capable state which is manned by an efficient administration. He added that there will be a system in place which addresses the government’s service delivery problems. “We will improve service delivery and performance generally,” he noted, adding that his government will follow through to see to it that what is started gets to be completed.
He said with the disability Act which the BAP manifesto points to, his government will ensure equitable distribution and adequacy of the disability grant, saying the BAP led government will implement the already existing Act to respond to a range of needs of people with disabilities, including receiving their stipends.
Mahao said during one of his campaigns, he was heartbroken when he met a person with a disability who could not do anything for themselves but are bound to stay in their home with no one who has knowledge of their special needs depending on their type of disability. Mahao said only a caring government will commit to ensuring that people with disabilities live a dignified life where there is a center with facilities that meet their needs. He said as his party manifesto stipulates, BAP will empower persons with disability through Boitjaro training for self-reliance and ensure that the centre is supported for all its needs.
Speaking on enhancing the health system in Lesotho, Mahao said as stated in the BAP manifesto the party will ‘reduce doctor-patient ratio from 1:8000 to 1:4000’ which means currently one doctor attends to more than double the number of patients expected annually.
Mahao said a BAP-led government will hire more doctors, nurses including the support staff and recapitalise the medical institutions. He said: “In that way we will be able to reduce the doctor-patient ratio and working conditions of doctors will be reviewed for the better. “If we want to address the health problems in this country we have to start by training more doctors in the country as it is much cheaper than going outside and it also enhances the working conditions to attract them to stay.”
Mahao gave an example of Botswana which he said is now over 10 years since that country started operating their own medical school which produces about 45 doctors a year. He emphasized that Botswana is a good example that training locally is more beneficial and that Lesotho can learn more from Botswana.
BAP is one of the latest parties to launch its electoral manifesto even before the campaign period is officially declared. The country’s general elections are expected in October this year and fierce political campaigns have already been launched to the extent that even the National Assembly’s regular work has suffered prompting the Speaker to call for immediate correction as the House still has a load of work to clear before its dissolution.