By: Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – While governments have a duty to provide for their citizens in order to live in better conditions and succeed politically, socially and economically, it is also citizen’s duty to know what is contained in their government’s strategic documents.

This came to light during the recently concluded national dialogue organized by the Democracy Works Foundation (DWF) in Maseru.

Lesei Lesei, Executive Director of Business Development of Lesotho Chamber of Commerce (LCCI) declared that most times councilors are elected, sharing with the participant’s wisdom on having meaningful participation in elections stressing that their voices should be heard.

He said those running for political office should have a clear understanding of the country’s development policies such as the National Strategic Development Policy in order for them to align their manifestos with what is contained in such documents as they provide a direction on which the country is headed to.

One of the things that he discouraged was that voters elect people who will represent them yet they do not give them a clear mandate on what they want them to do once in office. This he said resulted in confusion between the voters and the elected as the latter is unable to address the needs of the former.

Lesei said electing someone who cannot articulate the country’s National Strategic Development Plan (NSDP), which is a guiding economic master plan, such people he said are being “set up for failure” adding that they cannot competently proffer economic solutions for the citizens.

He added that they should understand what is entailed in the national documents so as to align with those.

“You need to look at the environment of where we are; we need to come up with solutions and plans that we give our councilors to say this is our economic plan, escalate to the council level and the council level will take it to the district level and district level will take it to the local government, [and] local government allocates resources to where we live,” he stressed.

Themed ‘Promoting Corrupt free, Inclusive and Responsive Enterprise Business Support Service to Women and Youths in Lesotho’ this European Union (EU) and the Financial Services Volunteer Corps (FSVC) sponsored dialogue had attracted participants from the youth and women-led businesses, leading public officials, experts and business leaders.

According to the DWF, the objective of this national dialogue is to provide a platform for relevant stakeholders to reflect on how to improve an enabling environment for inclusive and responsive enterprise development services whose beneficiaries are mostly women and youth in Lesotho.

One of the youth who participated at the dialogue, the Director of Alleviate Tebello Moreboli said there is a need to empower the non-governmental organizations, especially newly established ones.

“We need interventions to lead our organizations, to provide education and support at their different developmental organizations. As youth, as women, when we start our organizations most of the time we have passion,” she said.

She said while they are good with the ground work they don’t have the office capacity. 

Dr Augustine Magolowondo, the DWF Regional Director said theirs is to foster resilient and inclusive democracy.

As DWF, he said they want a region that is vibrant as democratic region.

“We cannot talk about vibrant region if in those particular countries the majority of people are left behind in whatever is happening particularly when it comes to socio-economic development and good governance.

“Democracy is inclusive if there are opportunities, there are resources, there are structures that facilitate inclusion of the largest population and the largest are youth,” he said.