Prime Minister Samuel Ntsokoane Matekane recently revealed an ambitious vision for Lesotho in his maiden speech at the 43rd ordinary summit of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state and government.
The summit, held in Luanda, Republic of Angola, served as a platform for regional leaders to discuss pressing challenges and collaborative strategies for progress.
Matekaneâ€™s address resonated with a determined commitment to steer Lesotho towards a future defined by unity, good governance, and socio-economic advancement.
He articulated a clear and inspiring vision for Lesotho, characterised by several key principles and objectives.
These include respect for the voice of the people, political humility and unity, eradicating corruption and socio-economic ills, food security and health services, a private sector-driven economy and foreign investment, and restoring Lesothoâ€™s reputation.
â€œAs we occupy the positions that we are elected into, we should serve and advance the aspirations of our people with honesty, dedication, transparency, and selflessness. Put another way, we are elected to serve and not to be served,â€ he said.
He emphasised that the voice of the people is the will of God.
He stressed the importance of upholding citizensâ€™ right to cast their votes freely in general elections and elect leaders of their choice. This fundamental principle, he noted, underpins sustainable peace, stability, and socio-economic development.
Matekane also expressed his vision of political leaders exhibiting humility in victory and graciousness in defeat. He underscored the need for peace and harmony among Basotho citizens, regardless of their political differences, fostering an environment where political unity leads to collective progress.
His vision involved addressing the persistent challenges of corruption and various socio-economic ills head-on. He emphasised that the Lesotho of the future would be characterised by accountability at all levels, as well as a determined effort to overcome economic and social hardships.
He further expressed a commitment to achieving food self-sufficiency, leading to surplus food production for export.
He also pledged to ensure that primary health care services are easily accessible to all Basotho citizens, reflecting the governmentâ€™s dedication to improving the overall well-being of the population.
The vision also encompassed an economy driven by the private sector and open to direct foreign investment. He highlighted the upcoming â€˜Water and Hydrogen Conference and EXPOâ€™ in Maseru, inviting all SADC countries and businesses to participate in this event.
With a determined tone, the Prime Minister stated his ambition to remove Lesotho from the negative agenda of SADC. He envisioned Lesotho taking its rightful place among the community of nations, fully participating in regional peacekeeping efforts and contributing positively to international relations.Top of Form
We are cognizant of the fact that in order to achieve these noble objectives, we need to change the way we do things. It is in this context that we reiterate our unwavering political commitment to the National Reforms process,â€ he said.
â€œThe Reforms are a national priority that we have a responsibility to ensure are carried forward and finalised. The government strongly believes that it is through this program that a new era of peace and stability will be achieved in Lesotho,â€ he added.
The comprehensive report on the progress on the reforms, he said, was presented before the Organ Troika of the Summit on Wednesday.
Matekane also highlighted Lesothoâ€™s participation in the implementation of the African Free Trade Area Agreement, acknowledging its potential to bolster both regional and global value chains.
â€œThis agreement is not only a stepping-stone for claiming our share of global market, but it is also an enabler for both regional and global value chains,â€ he said.
â€œWe are working tirelessly to harness all the potential benefits of the market preferences extended under the African Free Trade Area Agreement,â€ he added.
He mentioned that Lesotho appreciates all the efforts that the SADC secretariat is taking to realise this goal.