JOHANNESBURG - Following Lesotho’s 2022 general elections, the winner and leader of the newly formed Revolution for Prosperity (RFP), Sam Matekane said he had great ambitions for the country, including not drawing a salary when he becomes Prime Minister.
Oct. 19, 2022
5 min read
Matekane promises not to take salary as PM
RFP leader, Sam Matekane
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In an interview with the Sunday Independent this week, Matekane indicated that he would channel his salary back into projects that would benefit the locals.
Sunday Independent (SI) - Congratulations on the victory. How did you manage to pull it off when your party was launched only a few months ago?
Sam Matekane (SM) - Thank you. The victory of the RFP in the just-ended elections was a team effort. It would not have been possible without the hard work of the leadership of the party, the different campaign teams, and most importantly, the electorate. RFP ran a data-driven campaign where each candidate was working with a clear target of voters to mobilise to vote for the party to secure the win. We cannot discredit the fact that we formed our party at the right time as people needed a reputable alternative to the existing political parties. Our strategy was to engage as many voters as we possibly could before the elections and to quickly create structures to keep the electorate engaged.
SI - There were many questions raised regarding the IEC's abilities and shortcomings, including the voters' roll. What was your view and sense of the IEC and how it carried out the elections?
SM - We encountered a lot of challenges during the conduct of the election; chief among them being access to the voters’ roll. We were provided with a pdf version which was not updated and was difficult to audit as well as a hard copy which arrived after 12 pm the day before the elections. Also, when we sent letters of concern to the Commission with regard to issues such as their inability to provide disaggregated data on the voters, some of our letters went unanswered. So, my view is that the IEC could have handled this election better.
SI - You are not a career politician but now find yourself in government. What can Basotho expect under your leadership?
SM - Since I am not a career politician, Basotho can expect a listening leader who puts the needs of the people first. I have said, on many platforms, that I am not in it for the money but to improve the country and the lives of Basotho; and I would like to reiterate this point. As a show that I am more concerned about the development of the country, I will not take a salary from the government, but will instead have that money invested into infrastructure and economic development. Basotho can also expect a reduction in crime, increased employment, an agricultural and digital revolution, and improved infrastructure.
SI - Unemployment remains a serious challenge not only in Lesotho but SADC countries, what's your plan to tackle this issue?
SM - Our Government will look into labour-intensive technologies to improve employment. While this might have the effect of reducing output, we need to make a trade-off between employment and growth of output to address the unemployment crisis in the country. The greatest resource this country has is our people; especially our youth. They have big ideas, big dreams and lots of energy for their homeland and we want to work with that energy to turn this country into a hive of activity from this year into the future. We are opening this country to them. It's theirs, so let them prosper while we guide them.
SI - Politicians are known to lie and make empty promises in their bids to get votes but develop amnesia once elected and fail to deliver on those. How are you going to implement and bring to life the promises you made during campaigning?
SM - The Matekane Government has a clear plan of action on how we will operationalise the promises we made to Basotho. To guide our first 100 days in office, we have put in place what we are calling the Matekane Government 100-Day plan with clear timelines which will inform our implementation. We will also set up a board which will be responsible for national development and will be responsible for ensuring that we are delivering. This board will be evaluated regularly. Moreover, the Government will change our manifesto into a policy that will guide how we implement the promises we made to Basotho during our campaign.
To foster a high-performance culture, our Government will introduce annual performance contracts across the entire Public Service, we will be a result and target-oriented team.
SI - Looking at the state of the economy and your background in business, how are you going to turn things around and improve that?
RFP supporters celebrate the party's victory in Maseru
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SM - To improve the state of the economy in Lesotho, the RFP government will facilitate venture capital and private equity financing, targeting structural excess liquidity within the pension industry, and the insurance and banking sectors. Moreover, the Government will accelerate investment into agriculture as subsistence farming and animal husbandry form the backbone of Lesotho’s economy. We will engage banks to improve credit at lower interest rates and improve the value chain to make agriculture more productive. Our Government’s other strategy is to improve tourism and make Lesotho a destination of choice. We will work to reduce crime so that the country becomes safer to travel to and we will introduce activities such as cultural festivals to attract tourists. An integrated Trans-Maloti Development Corridor will also open Lesotho for tourism investments and financing of the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) through tourism levies will be secured.
SI - Lastly, the world is moving digital, how are you going to incorporate the fourth industrial revolution in your governance?
SM - As you know, these past years, our country lagged behind our peers in the SADC region. We did not evolve with the times. Government services took time because of manual systems that dragged the ease of doing business. So, now we need to leapfrog technologically and digitise our government procurement systems to plug and stop corruption. Our approach is aimed at managing the public sector to integrate the collaborative efforts of departments and agencies of Government to achieve unity of effort towards the attainment of common results. That is how we will get this country on its feet; using technology. We will launch a new vision for Lesotho, steering a new development trajectory to achieve a respectable Middle-Income Society in the next 10 years. - IOL