Month: January 2015

Lesotho journalists grilled on peace building ahead of general poll

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Maseru – MISA Lesotho is to hold peace building and conflict reporting training for 30 current affairs and political progammes presenters and newspapers’ journalists starting on the 12th December, 2015.

According to MISA Lesotho Chapter the training, to be held in the Free State Province in the Republic of South Africa will introduce participants from both print and electronic media to peace building and conflict reporting as guided by the Guidelines for Peace Reporting for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting and any other instruments by SADC, African Union and the United Nations.

MISA Lesotho National Director, Tsebo Mats’asa told newsline365.wordpress.com that the training will also dwell on other countries’ experiences on the role of media in reporting peace building and conflict. Participants, according to Mats’asa, will identify peace building and conflict issues relevant to Lesotho.

Also, the media personnel will be enlightened on local broadcasting rules to peace initiatives, the Media’s Electoral Code of Conduct, media ethics.

The presentation on broadcasting rules will scrutinize efforts by journalists to abide by the rules of the trade by identifying strengths, weaknesses while addressing the country’s current political developments for the media to be active role players in peace building processes.

Again, the training will also focus on media monitoring processes in peace building and address challenges that the media face in carrying out is duties.

MISA Chapter Lesotho has told newsline365.wordpress.com that only MoAfrika Fm declined participation in the training workshop citing staff shortage as reason.

The training is held as part of MISA Lesotho activities under its project on Broadcasters’ Peace Building and Conflict Reporting supported by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (OSISA) and the United Nations Development Programme.

Lesotho opposition nominates election candidates in 80 Constituencies

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Maseru – The Democratic Congress (DC), Lesotho’s main opposition political party, has completed a list of its candidates to contest the February 28 General Election.

The party, led by former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, completed its list of candidates by approving nine constituency election candidates to stand for the upcoming poll.

Two weeks ago, the DC’s working committee of the National Executive Committee had only approved 71 candidates to stand for the parliamentary poll next month.

A delay to approve the other nine nominees was due to complaints that arose during the primary party election at sub-branches, branches and constituencies.

“We have now submitted to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) all the applications for the nomination of our candidates who are to battle it out in the coming national election,” DC Executive Secretary Tsie Sekoere, yesterday told newsline365.wordpress.com.

Sekoere said his party’s candidates for the proportional representation have started to fill up the application forms for submission to the electoral commission.

Among those nominated by the DC as its candidates is Nkalimeng Mothobi, president of an association of ex-prisoners who was convicted of murder of a former banker.

The association is a civil society organization that rehabilitates ex-convicts and bids to reconcile them with the families of those wronged by their criminal activities.

Yesterday was the deadline for the submission and closure of names of the political parties’ and independent candidates’ list. It is also a deadline for lodging of objections to proposed nominated constituency candidates.

The IEC is to announce the nominated candidates for the constituency list on December 14 2015.

In another development, the Basotho National Party (BNP) a coalition partner in Lesotho’s tripartite government, has also rounded up its 80-member list of constituency candidates.

The party, according to the BNP office, met yesterday’s deadline for submission of its candidates’ applications.

The IEC is to determine the objections to the proposed names from December 10-11, according to the National Assembly General Elections time table published by the Acting Director of Elections, ’Mamatlere Matete.

There are 21 political parties and 15 independent candidates who have registered with the IEC.

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Popular Front For Democracy to elect new NEC ahead of the national poll

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Maseru- Just 40 days before the National Assembly General Election, the Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) is to hold a general conference from December 10-11 2015.

According to the information in possession of newsline365.wordpress.com at the conference to be hosted in Maseru, from today the party is to elect new leadership that might see the current President Lekhetho Rakuoane exit.

Advocate Rakuoane, also National Assembly Deputy Speaker, has been on the party leadership helm for many years. He is likely to step down for his deputy and Member of Parliament Thabang Kholumo.

Kholumo became a legislator in the Lower House when he won the 2012 General Election in the Qalo Constituency and became a chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Commissttee responsible for ministries under the office of the Prime Minister.

The possibly out going leader and the new elected one are to give speeches during the conference while the party’s secretary general and Member of Parliament Nts’epase Maho will read out a report detailing the front’s status.

It has been reported in some local media that the PFD will also deliberate on the upcoming February 28 general elections with much emphasis on its membership.

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Lesotho not keeping up pace to fight HIV/AIDS, US Ambassador Birx

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Maseru – Lesotho is not keeping up pace with other southern African countries to reduce an incidence of HIV/AIDS.

At a media teleconference hosted by the Africa Media Hub of the United States, Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator of the United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS, Deborah L. Birx, M.D. said Lesotho should find out why other countries are advancing in their efforts to reduce an increase of HIV/AIDS.

Ambassador Birx agreed that HIV/AIDS patients should stay on treatment as part of life saving initiative, adding that high numbers of infected persons should call for efforts to stem the tide against HIV/AIDS pandemic.

She said although there is a shortage of resources, the journalists should understand the risks the people in the world are facing and called for working together by different partners to transform plans into action in Africa.

Birx said the US government was mobilizing resources to fight the HIV/AIDS in highest hit areas while governments are encouraged to stop stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS that impact on human rights.

The U.S. commitment to fight and control the spread of HIV/AIDS is run as the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).

The relief has committed about US$220 million to control the spread of HIV/AIDS among the adolescent girls and young women in order for them to have a programme that addresses their needs for an HIV/AIDS free generation.

According to Birx messages about the prevention of HIV/AIDS should be packaged for young women so that information dissemination is turned into action.

Again, Birx noted that millions of children were dying due to the infection, requiring nations to accelerate any actions for treatment of pregnant mothers.

She called upon the civil society, church-based organizations, the private sector and the government to work together in order to support initiatives to reach countries in making successful programmes.

According to U.S Embassy Lesotho PEPFAR Coordinator Reuben said efforts were required to ensure people have ccess to treatement, adding that people are scared to test making it hard to determine their HIV/AIDS status. He advised that a major focus should also be stepped up on HIV positive people.

According to PEPFAR , there has been no significant change in Lesotho’s national adult HIV prevalence. Of the 360,000 Basotho infected, half of them are women, 10 per cent children while 63 per cent of them are people who need treatment but are not accessing it.

Lesotho tourism marketing drive earns dividends

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Maseru – An aggressive marketing strategy employed by the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC) helped country to overcome a possible decline of foreign tourists visiting Lesotho during the Roof of Africa Rally 2014.

During today’s press briefing, the LTDC Chief Executive Mpai Maqutu said the political instability that cloaked Lesotho in the last part of the year threatened tourism.

“Political instability causes reduction in number of tourists visiting the country. Almost all our hotels were empty because there were no quests at one stage. But we tried to calm down the tourists by sending aggressive messages that it was business as usual as restoration of tourists confidence,” said Maqutu when asked by newsline365.wordpress.com about the impact of the political instability on the industry.

Maqutu said the country’s two major activities the Roof of Africa Rally and the Lesotho Sky Race of bikes and bicycles respectively went on smoothly due to an aggressive marketing strategy implementation.

As a result, he explained, all the accommodation facilities were fully booked during the race of Roof of Africa Rally, adding the educational campaigns also involved herd boys “to become tourism ambassadors.”

According to Maqutu the Lesotho government considers tourism as one of the three major areas for creation of 10,000 jobs annually.

There is an intention to trim down the public sector and increase private sector space for participation job creation, observed Maqutu.

The corporation is focusing on three areas of domestic tourism, ensuring and maintaining an increased number of tourists from South Africa and breaking into the international tourism market.

A brief stop at the bushmen paintings' rock
A tourist with a tour guide at bushmen paintings on a rock at Ha Teko, Qeme, Maseru. For information contact likatolahorseriding@yahoo.com

“We want to ensure that Basotho visit and know their own country with the design of a logo Lesotho Haeso. We’ll carry on activities that promote domestic tourism in the year 2015,” revealed Maqutu.

Lesotho’s two tourism attractions the ’Maletsunyane Falls, situated in the Semonkong area, south east of Maseru, is famous for being longest abseil and has been entered into the Guinness Book of World Records. The Sehlabathebe Park in the Qacha’s Nek district, south of Maseru in the rural mountains, has been declared a heritage site by the UNESCO.

At the media conference, the corporation also launched its song video depicting Lesotho as a tourism destination in international market.

The musical video “Do You Know Know Lesotho” is intended to market Lesotho by encouraging both local and international tourists to visit Lesotho. It shows the Basotho culture, talent and art and will be aired on the local television and possibly on the famous Channel O.

The production was commissioned by the corporation to Carl MacMillan in collaboration with Lesotho-based production company Sky Events.

The not-for-sale video will be shown in public places and other areas of international attractions and destinations.

Lesotho’s Prime Minister overturns ‘forced leave’ of top detective

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Maseru – Lesotho’s Prime Minister and Minister of Police Thomas Thabane today overturned a ‘forced leave’ of top Lesotho Mounted Police Service Head of Crime Intelligence Unit.

Thabane nullified a more than 200 days ‘forced leave’ pending retirement of Assistant Police Commissioner (ACP) Sello Mosili, a top Lesotho crime investigator.

Announcing a reversal of the instruction for ACP Mosili to go on leave by Acting Commissioner of Police Masupha Masupha, Thabane said he was not informed about the decision as the minister responsible for the police. He said it was a requirement that his office scrutinize any circumstances that would warrant such a decision that involved a police officer of such a high rank.

He informed the public that such a decision should have rightly been authorized by him as the minister of the police, warning it be reversed immediately.

Mosili was served with a letter yesterday instructing him to take leave pending his retirement after serving the police for many years.

The LMPS Spokesperson Senior Inspector Lebona Mohloboli confirmed to the Harvest Fm, a local radio station, that Mosili had been asked to go on leave. This despite Mosili being a key investigator in a case involving the bomb attacks at Moshoeshoe II and Ha Abia .

ACP Mosili is leading an investigation into the early 2014 attacks that occurred at Thabane’s then love partner Liabiloe Ramoholi leaving three children badly injured by the bombs at Moshoeshoe II and at ’Mamoletsane Moletsane’s residence.

The property at both residences was severely damaged.

The attacks were also carried out the same night at the Commissioner of Police Khothatso T’sooana’s residence at Ha Abia in Maseru. No one was injured during the incident.

Investigations brewed a bitter rivalry between the elite unit members of the Lesotho Defence Froce (LDF) and the police.

LDF Commander Lieutenant Tlali Kamoli has since refused to hand over eight military suspects linked to the bombings, saying the detectives were famous for torturing members of the army.

BNP to nominate 80 candidates for Lesotho election

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Maseru – Lesotho’s coalition government partner Basotho National Party (BNP) led by Gender and Sports Minister Thesele ’Maseribane is set to nominate 80 constituency candidates to contest the February 28 general election.

Today the party’s working committee was locked in a meeting to deliberate on the election candidacy ahead of tomorrow’s submission of the candidates’ names to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

Already, the 72 constituency candidates have secured selection to stand for the upcoming national poll.

The other eight candidates are yet to be inaugurated as candidates due to some delays brought by lodged complaints, BNP’s spokesperson Machesetsa Mofomobe briefly told newsline365.wordpress.com today.

According to the IEC’S published National General Election Timetable the submission period and closure for the names of the candidates to contest the upcoming poll is January 7-9 2015.

The list of the names submitted will be posted on the same dates beginning tomorrow . Again, the objections to the proposed nominated constituency candidates are to be lodged on the same period.

Another coalition government partner All Basotho Convention (ABC)was also set to complete its list of candidates to meet the deadline for nominations. By today, the party had approved 54 candidates to battle it out in the brought forward election from 2017.

ABC’s Sam Rapapa today confirmed to newsline365.wordpress.com he is the party’s candidate in the Constituency of Mosalemane No.19. He is to be inaugurated tomorrow in his constituency for nomination as party candidate.

There are 21 political parties and 15 independent candidates who are registered with the IEC for the parliamentary election.

Lesotho’s general election has been called earlier than 2017 due to political instability caused by a fall-out in relations within the tripartite coalition government due to deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing’s dissatisfaction with the manner Prime Minister Thomas Thabane was running the state affairs.