Politicians of the ruling coalition depicted their unwillingness to follow the rules and observe set standards once again this past weekend.
By their admission, members of the co-ruling coalition member the Democratic Congress (DC) led by the Deputy Prime-Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu, converged in their hundreds at the Stadium Area#31 constituency against the Covid-19 regulations and protocols on Sunday April 25, 2021.
The country has been on lockdown since last year end of March at the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic, and political gatherings in their different forms have been among the activities barred as they have potential to converge large numbers of people in one location thus being considered as one of the super-spreaders of the virus.
However, the party claims to have gathered over 700 people during their campaign event termed Kasi-to-Kasi at Lower Thamae Maseru, in which they raise funds to assist street venders who were negatively impacted by COVID 19 on the 25 April 2021.
Secretary-General of the youth committee in Stadium Area constituency Motlatsi Monoane said what they held was not a political rally but rather an event that was aimed at helping the local street venders in the constituency,” he said.
He said what they, instead hosted was an event in which the Stadium Area 31 constituency, Member of Parliament (MP) Mokherane Tsatsanyane was raising funds for the street venders who lost their businesses to the Covid-19 pandemic.
However, the meeting was held in disregard of the lockdown regulations and protocols for alert level Blue to which the country was until the Premier’s Sunday speech in which he announced slightly reduced restrictions, inclusive of opening borders and social gatherings such as political party campaigns readying up for next year’s general elections.
Some of the requisites of the Lockdown alert level Blue included no political activities while churches were to operate at rationed congregations of no more than 100 if the service went on outside and 50 for inside.
But the DC claims that it had people from far and wide whose numbers ranged far over a thousand.
“The event was not a political rally, it was meant to help the street venders who are badly hit by the COVID 19,” said Monoane.
Monaoane further noted that even though the COVID regulations totally restrict political gatherings or any gathering to encamp more than 100 people in one place, more than 800 people joined the event that day.
Monoane also said that the event prolonged beyond two hours because of activities that took place there that extended the event. He explained that they were aware of how long any event has to be under the COVID 19 rules.
He further noted that 690 people filled the joining forms at the event.anything we do as a party we allow people to join the even if it is not a political rally or anything political” said Monoane.
For his part, Member of Parliament for the Constituency Mokherane Tsatsanyane, said though the event was not meant to be political agenda it ended up looking like a rally which it was not.
Tsatsanyane noted that there was a huge number of people in that place who left him in awe. He reiterated the fact that close to 700 joined their party and received membership forms.
Approached for a comment, Police Spokespersons Senior Superintendent Mpiti Mopeli said they were not aware of the event. He said it would be difficult or even impossible to comment about the event since they did not know about it.
On the issue of disregarded Covid-19 regulations, Mopeli said according to him the politicians were exaggerating the number of people who were gathered in that place, as the place is too small to accommodate that number of people. He said the politicians might be exaggerating the numbers just to keep their rivals in awe.
Earlier this year, a number of senior government officials inclusive of the Deputy Prime Minister gathered for the burial of former commander of the armed forces Major-General Metsing Lekhanya against the provisions of regulations and protocols governing funerals at the time.