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Maseru

‘Remove the old guard’

Business

…call for fresh blood’s leadership

Mafa Moleko

The former Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Lesotho’s recognised economist, Majakathata Mokoena has lashed out at the country’s old guard for the poor leadership which he said derails the country’s progress.

Mathata said the sterile leadership of the old hacks at the incumbency positions derail the country’s ability toward success, thus motivating the youth to stand and own up.

This Mathata said during the National Youth Job Summit at the ‘Manthabiseng Convention Center on Wednesday this week.

The economist centered his speech toward giving the youth a chance of supremacy to stir the ship, citing that the old-hacks in government are backward and not in-tune with the latest trends of the 21st century. 

“We told the youth to go to school, university they did. We asked them how we could enhance their lives and they responded. The problem is with the grey hairs in leadership who are out of plans of how they can develop these young people,” he said.

He stressed that absence of paved platforms for youth to apply their skills and shape their dreams is pulling young people of this nation back thus affecting the national economy. He added that the 21 century life needs young people who understand it to pave their future stressing that the old parliamentary cannot shape the future that will benefit Basotho for the future.

He counseled young people that since they know what they need, they should kick out the grey hair out of the parliament in the upcoming elections, adding that Lesotho is a very blessed land with natural resources, huge arable land and yet those living here are so poor because they are laden with poverty mindsets.

He mentioned that Lesotho has many literate people and that is also a blessing to this nation, adding that the natural resources, arable land and educated brains can rule the whole Africa and even the world.

“The economy of Lesotho now is not benefiting all Basotho but a certain small group of people who are stealing and taking what does not belong to them, you young people are able to fight this corruption and uproot it and do that radically without burning down the buildings,” he said.

Meanwhile, presenting the report on the impact of unemployment on Lesotho’s demography dividend at the same ceremony, one of the youths, Zwelithini Matsoso, said a huge number of youth in Lesotho does not work while those who are working are underpaid or even working the jobs irrelevant to their skills.

According to Matsoso, Lesotho youth populace is estimated at around 735 000 which is about 40% of the population of Lesotho according to the 2017 reports. Matsoso said 34.4% of them are not employed with 23% being males and 22% being females.

“The number is high with boys because more boys did not make it in education like females, according to the studies Maseru is leading while Qacha is the last in youth employment in Lesotho, 250,649 mismatches or are underpaid where they are employed,” he said.

He mentioned that Lesotho produces over 7000 graduates per year which puts Lesotho’s literacy rate at over 70%. He added that Lesotho is where it is because of the poor entrepreneurial culture, less access to finance, business development and restrictive laws.

He further mentioned that a lot of young people no longer want to apply for jobs even when there are vacancies because of nepotism. Young people also say that there is no job creation in Lesotho so the demand is higher than the platforms for young people to work.

For those who want to embark in entrepreneurship, there is poor competition where large international businesses are competing with small local businesses. Lack of market centers and capital injections do affect the growth of the businesses, entertainment and sports are the less tapped industries in Lesotho, Matsoso added.

Matsoso further mentioned that there is problem in Lesotho because young people are not working; which increases levels of depression amongst the youth and causes them to fall into crime or engage in premature sexual activity putting their lives in danger. He said that it is common for young people with a lot of time in their hands to play around with things like sex and drugs.

The first phase of the national youth job summit was held at the ‘Manthabiseng Convention Center where representatives from the World Bank, private sector, the government of Lesotho and youth leaders discussed issues that affect youth in Lesotho.

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