The Member of Parliament Kimetso Mathaba has mentioned that Lesotho needs a retraction from the diplomatic missions not benefiting the country.
Mathaba said this in the National Assembly on Wednesday after the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Matšepo Makoae requested for money amounting to M429, 131, 956 on behalf of the ministry to carry out international duties.
Mathaba pointed out that the situation at the embassies is embarrassing and that the offices need maintenance. He said the embassies like Canada are useless and not helping the country with anything, thus the country needs to retract in order to expand its missions and relationships in other countries such as Saudi Arabia and Emirates.
“Apart from that, it is not necessary to have missions in other countries where we don’t get anything in return. Is there anything that the ambassadors are doing to benefit the country, like Canada, we have mission in Canada but we don’t know its importance to Lesotho,” he said.
“I agree with the notion that the ministry should be given the money according to the hefty work that they do. We have a problem of paying the employees at the missions.
“The state of accommodation where they live is a shame. I make a plea to the minister of finance to give money of maintenance at their respective missions,” he said.
On the contrary, Ramakoae mentioned that Lesotho has to strengthen its relationship with the North American countries including Canada. Lesotho has 16 missions and three consulates. “In North America we have Washington, New York and Canada,” she said.
“We have to strengthen our relationships with the North America countries, we have to make sure that the money budgeted to these consulates does the work assigned for,” she said.
“We have other countries in Europe where we have relationships with United Kingdom, Italy, Rome and Brussels. In Asia we have Bergin, Tokyo, New Delhi, and Kuala Lumpur. In Middle-East we have only one country which is Kuwait, we have to enlarge our relationship with countries like United Emirates, Qatar and others.
“Our mission in Canada has just been opened in 2016 after our relations were amended and because Lesotho started Cannabis business, Canadians love cannabis business, they also want to invest in our infrastructure.
“I am currently working on rationalisation to see which we can close and open because I have realised that there are many things that we can do with the Arabs according to our warm relationship during the Covid-19,” she said.
“In Africa we have Addis Ababa and Pretoria South Africa where the consulates are staged in Gauteng, Durban and Welkom.
“We ask the house to give us this money which will pay salaries; we pay school fees, rents and hired cabs. All these are paid in dollars of which it becomes little by the time a dollar increases and the money only cover little missions.
“We pay medical aids and school fees for ambassadors’ children and we make a plea that we should be given money that covers the whole year so that we pay rent because we have hired offices.”
“Our offices are a shame and we wonder how the ambassadors manage to stay under such conditions because we are unable to maintain their offices because of financial implications.
She indicated that the money is very little and can’t execute all the work of the ministry.
“I remember that we even asked another ambassador to find another place to stay because their house was leaking. I cannot reveal the name, but the situation is bad at embassies, we need to maintain the residences,” she said