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RFP will comply with court ruling on candidates: Matekane

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

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’Marafaele Mohloboli

REVOLUTION for Prosperity (RFP) leader, Sam Matekane, says his party will comply with last week’s High Court judgement ordering them to install former cabinet minister, Mahali Phamotse, and 16 others as its candidates for the 7 October 2022 elections.

However, his stance is at variance with that of some of the party members who have lodged an appeal in the Court of Appeal challenging the High Court’s decision ordering the RFP to install Dr Phamotse and others as its candidates in the upcoming polls.

Addressing about 3000 party supporters at a rally in Quthing this week, Mr Matekane said although they would have wanted to choose all their candidates through a merit-based system, they would have to abide by Judge Polo Banyane’s ruling.

Judge Banyane last week ruled that Dr Phamotse and 16 others were the rightful candidates to represent the party in the upcoming elections.

This after the former cabinet minister and the 16 had petitioned the court to nullify the RFP’s decision to snub them despite that they had won the primary elections in their constituencies.

Dr Phamotse and her co-applicants had won the primaries in their respective constituencies only for the party to choose others to stand as candidates in a subsequent interview process which it said was designed to ensure that “meritorious” candidates were selected.

They subsequently approached the High Court, arguing that the party had acted illegally by snubbing them despite their victories in the primaries.

Addressing an RFP rally in Quthing this week, Mr Matekane said his party would abide by the Friday ruling.

“We had a plan and vision to choose candidates to represent us in the forthcoming general elections but the High Court has shown the way by ruling against it,” Mr Matekane said, adding, “We’ll respect the decision”.

He said the RFP was running out of time as the elections were just around the corner. It would therefore be unhelpful to continue squabbling over party candidates, he said.

He urged party members to unite to ensure an outright RFP victory in the highly anticipated polls.

“I appeal to you all to work for the unity and growth of RFP. Let’s all remember why we got into politics. Be supportive and humble to one another until we get to the finish line.

“Let us go out there and convince even staunch members of other parties to give us their votes so that we emerge outright victors,” he said.

Upon assuming power, Mr Matekane said his government would pull out all the stops to improve Basotho’s lives by championing developmental projects and upholding the rule of law.

“One of our top priorities will be developing Lesotho by improving infrastructure. As a globetrotter who loves beautiful things, I will make sure that we construct modern buildings that we will all be proud of,” he said.

An RFP government would also implement the public’s recommendations on national reforms. He reiterated his pledge to create jobs so that there would not be any need for Basotho to go and work in South Africa.

Mr Matekane also called for an end to the escalating abuse and murders of women and children.

“We are aware of the rising cases of women abuse and killings around us. We don’t know what is wrong. Please let’s stop these unnecessary killings. We don’t need to live like this. All we need is peace,” he said.

Meanwhile, Molefe Ntikoane, who attended the rally, told the Lesotho Times that Mr Matekane deserved a chance to rule because of the numerous charitable activities that he had sponsored in the past.

“If he has already done so much for us even before joining politics, he surely deserves to be given a chance to prove himself like all the politicians who have come before him,” Mr Ntikoane said.

On his part, Lindekuhle Sibiya, a small-scale farmer from Dili-Dili, said he was confident that Mr Matekane would improve Lesotho’s agricultural output by providing farmers with inputs.

“I will vote for the RFP. Ntate Matekane is a farmer and he knows what resources are needed in order to get good harvests. We trust that he is going to help us with food production,” Mr Sibiya said.