‘Congress or National labels are a distraction’


 As a former high school principal, who has been a key player in the country’s political sphere as he previously held senior government responsibilities, TLOHANG SEKHAMANE (TS) is a political figure of note. Public Eye reporter, IRENE SEME (PE), spoke to him about his political journey, what he stands for as a leader and politician and what the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) has to offer for Basotho, since he is part of the founders.

PE: You have been a player in the country’s political space for a long time, where were you born and grew up?

TS: I was born and grew up in Mphokojoane in the Mokhotlong district.

PE: Where did you go to school at and how far have you gone with your education?

TS: I did my primary education at Mphokojoane and Orange River Primary schools. I proceeded to Mapholaneng Secondary for Junior Certificate (JC) and completed my Cambridge Overseas School Certificate (COSC) at Peka High School in Leribe. I then went on to further my education at the National University of Lesotho (NUL) where I acquired my first degree and later obtained Master’s Degree at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. 

PE: Previously you were a high school principal and composed a very famous Monyanyako song (Likhanyapa) which is still a hit to this day, is it true that it is because of that song that King Moshoeshoe II called you for a job offer in government at the time?

TS: No, that is not true. King Moshoeshoe II had wanted me to continue at Mapholaneng. But when the Ministry of Education appointed me to the post of Senior Curriculum Officer at the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), he then appointed me to his office after only six months of resuming duty.

PE: What inspired the song?

A: A combination of two things inspired the song, first a school trip that we took from Mapholaneng to Durban in South Africa when I was in Form B, riding on a train for the first time from Underberg to Durban.

The first part of the song thus symbolises the movement of a train. Second, after hearing a good song that I had composed and presented at the official opening of Seeiso Secondary School in his presence, King Moshoeshoe II invited me to take part in the celebration of the 25th Anniversary of Moshoeshoe II High School and to present that song.

The problem was that the message of that song was: “We are now opening Seeiso High School”, totally irrelevant to the Moshoeshoe II High School occasion. So I had to compose a new, more relevant and equally good if not better song. You can say it was inspired by him.

PE: Please take us through your political journey – share your trial experiences, failures, success and the moments when you felt that you want to give –up?

TS: I become publicly active in politics in 2012, and won the Mokhotlong Constituency in that year. I lost that Constituency in 2015 and in 2017. I made a big contribution in the Democratic Congress (DC) as Deputy and Secretary General and later as Acting Secretary General. In 2019 I was well poised to take the party over as leader. But I lost to the current leader, Mr Mathibeli Mokhothu. There have been many trials and tribulations but there has really never been a time when I considered quitting politics.

And this is because I truly believed, and continue to believe, that I have a contribution to make in the advancement of my country.

PE: For the longest time ever, you have been serving the congress movement, tell us for how long you served the congress and what has now led to your departure?

TS: I served the Congress movement for 10 years (2012 to 2022). I must say in terms of ideology I no longer see any real difference between “Congress” and “National”. I see this dichotomy now as just an unfortunate waste of time and a serious distraction from the real challenges of our country.

So for me, it is more a matter of the potential of a party to launch and achieve a decent level of economic development than whether it calls itself Congress or National.

PE: When you left DC, did you already know which party you want to join and why have you joined the RFP?

TS: I left the Democratic Congress directly to join the RFP and that was because I truly believe it stands the best chance to turn the economy of Lesotho around.

PE: As political advisor in RFP, in your view, what difference do you think the movement will bring for the country and her people?

TS: I believe that using the precepts of Good Governance, Rule of Law, Meritocracy and war on Corruption and Nepotism, the RFP will achieve high rates of economic growth for Lesotho.

PE: How would you like to be remembered?

TS: I would like to be remembered as a person who dedicated his whole working life to the improvement of the livelihoods of his people.

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