OP-EDs

TIME FOR YOUTH-LED REVOLUTION IN LESOTHO

By Kananelo Boloetse

It was in July when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) told us that Lesotho’s banking sector is largely foreign-owned. IMF said total assets of the four commercial banks – Standard Lesotho Bank, Nedbank Lesotho, First National Bank (FNB) Lesotho and Lesotho PostBank –  were about M20 billion in 2018.

Three of these banks are subsidiaries of South African banks and the fourth, Lesotho PostBank, is the only domestic bank, fully owned by the Government of Lesotho. IMF found that three foreign banks accounted for 91 percent (M18b) of the assets.

Then last week Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) told us how Vodacom Lesotho, a foreign-owned company, deliberately undermines compliance with Lesotho laws because it dominates this country’s telecommunications sector; Central Bank of Lesotho depends on it for the entire financial system and the Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) depends on it as its primary and secondary data centres.

LCA statement was a damning portrait of Vodacom Lesotho, which was revealed as a rogue operator, with arrogant executives who think they are untouchable.

Banking and telecommunications are among the key sectors that keep Lesotho’s economic engine running, yet they are extensively controlled by foreign companies. That is dangerous.

That is why I was insisting on Independence Day (October 4), that Lesotho needs a youth protest movement that will endeavour to unite the youth of this country so as to take their rightful place in the affairs of the country, and then challenge the composition of the ownership, control and management of this country’s economy.

This economy shouldn’t be foreign-owned and dominated by Chinese.

A militant, pragmatic, future-focused movement that will provide many answers to the future and will:

  • Push our government to provide all children with free quality basic education, make higher education accessible to all, and equip young people with skills appropriate to the workplace of tomorrow.
  • Push for the processing of our minerals locally, so that we can realise their full potential value. Lesotho has abundant mineral resources, but is not extracting the true economic value of these resources before exporting them. In reality, Lesotho’s natural resources are creating hundreds or thousands of jobs in other countries.
  • Challenge procurement measures that encourage fraud and corruption. Where there is corruption, nepotism or fronting, it must be dealt with decisively and those responsible must face the full might of the law.
  • Push for the transformation of our public sector to make it more effective and capable, less wasteful and much less corrupt.
  • Ensure that everything that government does is aimed at job creation.

If these efforts succeed, then we will have laid the firmest foundation for economic growth and inclusion for generations to come.

I personally have a deep-seated believe that our country is loaded with young people who are brave and capable of finding innovative solutions to the challenges this country faces.

But for this movement to be effective it should not be joined by young people who have just made a decision to enter the world of politics out of desire to become career politicians but it must be joined by young mavericks who they feel they can no longer sit on the side-lines and watch as the country they love so dearly collapses before their eyes. NW

This article was originally posted on Kananelo Boloetse’s Facebook. Read the original article here.

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