Maseru – The launch of a new movement in Lesotho politics by prominent businessman, Sam Ntsokoane Matekane, has shaken old political parties to realign and think how best they can up their game.
However, some die-hard old-guard politicians still believe the new movement will only be popularised in the very short-term with the old brands still taking the lead, come September general election. The newly formed Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) made headlines and social platforms hits like no one has ever done in Lesotho’s recent political history after parading some prominent figures and business heavyweights as part of its fabric.
Among those who showed up at the launching press conference are the former Central Bank of Lesotho governor Dr Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane, former Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara, former Government Secretary and minister Tlohang Sekhamane as well as the legendary Moshoeshoe walk organiser Thabo Maretlane, with a host other prominent business personalities in the country. Speaking to Public Eye, Maretlane said he has always been in politics since 2012 and that there was nothing sinister in anyone of them joining up to form the new political movement.
“I joined politics because I want to bring change in this country, I always told businessmen that there is no way we can bring change in this country unless we become active players in politics,” he said. His argument is that unless as Basotho they take action, no one will and the country will continue to suffer serious setbacks in the hands of hard-core politicians. In some of the responses from major political parties, there have been differing views of how the new movement will affect each party’s support.
The Democratic Congress (DC) spokesperson Serialong Qoo said his political party is not threatened at all and that those that are crossing over to this new movement are mere opportunists. “No no! This is not a threat, he (Matekane) is not the first businessman to form a political party and some didn’t see daylight. We have hard core supporters. In September DC will be governing,” Qoo affirmed.
Responding to whether the newly formed movement RFP is posing a threat to the Alliance of Democrats, the party’s spokesperson Thuso Litjobo said: “It is not a threat at all, we’ve seen people moving to newly formed parties but the old ones never die. We’ll see if this new party will continue to grow the same way in the next 10 years or if it scales will go down. For those reasons, we’re not threatened.”
At the launch of the movement, the visibility of youth and people who told this paper that they were moving from their own political parties to join RFP was evident that this new movement is gaining support. Among those seen at the launch was former Secretary General of Basotho Action Party (BAP) Nto Moakhi who was contesting for the position of deputy leader at the party’s elective conference last month.
Moakhi who now remains a member of BAP, however told this paper that he was there to gauge the situation and see how the new party is being received. Asked if what he saw showed if RFP poses a threat to his party, Moakhi said: “I think many people might vote for RFP thinking that if someone has the financial muscle, his service delivery will be the same. “For us as BAP this is not a threat, but we realise that we have to strategise again and refine our approach to convince the people that BAP is still about the rule of law.”
An unemployed youth graduate, Polo Pokola, told this paper that for the first time she will vote in the upcoming general election. Pokola said she has since registered to vote but has never voted because she saw no one worth of her vote. “I haven’t voted because I realised that our leaders are the same, they keep moving from one party to another. I’m really excited about Ntate Matekane’s party and I am definitely going to vote for him. I believe he’s a game changer and will take Lesotho forward and the fact that he is new in politics means I don’t think anyone has a hold on him,” Pokola said.
One of the attendees at the launch, ’Mamphaka Ralehlathe of Peka constituency, said she is definitely moving from her current political party to join RFP, she said she was slowly losing hope in politics as her current political party is disappointing. “I am joining RFP and will be campaigning in my constituency. I’m crossing over because the leader is a player who is new in politics and he’s proved himself on many occasions that he can take this country forward. I have faith in him that he will bring change,” Ralehlathe said.