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Youth petition govt through online platform

May 9, 2019 3 min read

3 min read

Transform Lesotho Initiative, a youth-led organization, has launched an online petition calling for the higher education bursary system to be reformed in a manner that will guarantee efficiency and effectiveness.

Transform Lesotho Initiative (TLI)is a project by the youth of Lesotho founded to create a platform for discussion about issues that affect the youth in the country. The petition is addressed to the government of Lesotho and Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.

In a recent interview with Metro, Ts’olo Kabane, TLI representative, said: “TLI launched the online petition in an effort to take the first step of action for what we believe the country deserves; a capable and diligent government. Through the petition we raise issues that are most important to us as young people as well as to the future of this great nation.

“For a long time, young people have been complaining about the way issues that concern them are handled. So, we believe this is the time to take action that will transform Lesotho to become a country which is moving forward and excelling in different sectors. We believe when the youth of Lesotho are united, determined and passionate about our country’s success great milestones can be achieved and transformation can happen.”

The petition is hosted on the, titled #BachaShutdown. Asked why #BachaShutdown, Kabane told Metro: “Lesotho youth are finally speaking up and challenging those in power for what they (youth) legitimately deserve. We are shutting down mediocrity!”

The campaigners’ target is to reach 1000 signatures weekly, and by the time of publishing it had garnered 974 endorsements. When asked how they want the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS) to be reformed, Kabane stated: “NMDS is very important to the development of our country and it needs to be treated as such by government. First of all, we believe that if it gets rivatized or given more autonomy it would be more efficient because it would be governed by corporate governance and not under government red tape or bureaucracy.

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“Furthermore, it (NMDS) would be able to make the necessary payments to institutions on time and to students as well. It would also be able to effectively recover its money from working graduates. Students studying abroad are not entirely satisfied that the money they get from NMDS does not cover medical aid insurance which is required to register with international institutions.”

In their petition, the youth also indicated that the government should introduce legislation that guarantees the rights of the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) community. Kabane indicated that although parents and guardians seem to be uncomfortable to talk to their children who are gays and lesbians about this, “TLI believes it is time Lesotho accepted the LGBTI community who, like everybody else, deserve to have their rights protected through appropriate legislation.

“These people still face abuse, harassment and discrimination in our societies especially at services points like clinics and Home Affairs, to mention a few. We need to secure their rights to health care, equality and to have their dignities guaranteed.”

Kabane said after the online petition, the next step would be to march to the Government Complex to hand over a more detailed petition that not only highlights challenges, but also offers solutions.

Some of the grievances outlined in the petition include:

1. An end to the pervasive nepotism that is becoming the norm in our government institutions and equal job opportunities to all without prejudice on the basis of political affiliation.

2. An end to populist rhetoric without actual implementation. For example, the austerity (ho itlamamala-masesane) measures claimed by the Finance Minister without any material implementation.

3. An end to corruption by elected government officials and public servants.

4. An end to the use of state institutions and resources to fight petty party politics.

5.Commitment to lowering youth unemployment for both graduates and unskilled labour.

6.Make available sanitary towels for free to all schools of higher learning.

7. We demand a politically stable country that is making economic headway for the good of its entire people the majority of whom still live below the poverty line.

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