On Wednesday, two professional defectors in Lesotho’s politics switched alliances (once again) and were welcomed with much fanfare and pomp to one of the parties in the ruling coalition.
Two things caught the eye as the proceedings unfolded. The cacophonous procession and welcome party at the old State House where the deputy prime minister resides. It was particularly disturbing to see a party of such high standing in government so blatantly and shamelessly flouting Covid-19 regulations.
As if that was not enough, members of the party did not paint just the city red, but government property as well. Yes, government vehicles bearing ministry brandings were seen parading in town carrying fully attired members of the party.
Surely, this is a misuse of state resources, and there have been numerous ‘savingrams’ warning against it. However, we were even more shocked when the government secretary claimed to have been unaware of these unfortunate acts.
For what it’s worth, Lesotho’s politics and governance have led to some activities contributing to a public perception of a lack of distinction between the state and the governing party, as well as between official and party functions of public officials.
The abuse of state resources refers to any use of state resources to support or undermine any political actor (such as a political party or coalition or a candidate for public office). By ‘state resources’ (sometimes referred to as ‘public’ or ‘administrative’ resources), we mean any resources belonging to the government, vehicles included.
We condemn the behaviour of this political party. We are also disappointed in the general secretary.