Former Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki says his ambition of ever becoming Prime Minister of Lesotho one day was wasted since “that ship has already sailed”.
Moleleki said this in an exclusive interview with this publication yesterday where he said he failed to become the Prime Minister owing to the fact that he was not good enough during his tenure in politics. Although he has not retired, there is no ray of hope to make it to the incumbency.
“I was like everybody else, with ambition to be Prime Minister but it didn’t happen. The highest I ever got was being Deputy Prime Minister. If you don’t have the ambition of becoming a Prime Minister as a politician, you are probably in the wrong business.
“Did I succeed No! Why didn’t I succeed, nekele selehe (loosely translated to ‘I was a weakling’), I was good but not good enough,” he reminisced.
He said a politician’s pinnacle of success is to become a Prime Minister one day just as a soldier’s ambition is to become a commander one day, and a police officer yeans to become a Commissioner of Police and a civil servant who hopes to become a Principal Secretary one day during his or her time in office.
“It is unlikely and I am getting older. I am thinking of gracefully surrendering and handing over the baton to the younger generation. We cannot all become Prime Ministers and that has got to be understood and appreciated,” Moleleki said.
The former Minister of Natural Resources feels he was also deprived-off his opportunity of becoming a Prime Minister despite the greatest improvements he contributed bringing in the country in the ministries he served unlike his counterparts in other countries.
He said people like President Macky Sall of Senegal is one the examples he could give as he had served with him in the Ministry of Water before he was given the honour of Premier.
“Two weeks ago on March 21, 2022 I was invited to Senegal for an African Ministers Commission on Water event. I went along with other five ministers in Africa. I was honoured with a lifetime award for my role in contributing to national development during my tenure as minister responsible for water affairs,” he said.
“That’s an international success,” he continued.
“All five of us were given awards by the President of Senegal because he was Minister of Water when I was also the Minister responsible for water, but here in my own homeland, my growth was hindered because Sesotho says: Moporofeta ha a bokoe ha habo, but in Senegal they did honour him and made him President,” he said.
He said he was also once a Minister of Foreign Affairs from November 2004 to May 2007 along with the current President of Ghana Nana Akufo Addo.
“We were even close friends. He is now President because he was honoured in his country but I was denied that chance here in my own country.
“In Tanzania, the former Minister of Foreign Affairs Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete was made president of Tanzania for 10 years from 2005 to 2015. His people honoured him but I was denied the honour in my country,” he said.
He continued that one of his biggest successes was that he established a rural electrification project in Lesotho during trying times when only around 2% of the country’s population had electricity in Lesotho when the project started.
“There is now more than 50% of electricity coverage because of my initiative. There was no single mine in Lesotho today we have many of them; Liqhobong, Mothae. Letšeng, Kao, Lemphane, these are my achievements and they are open.
“I was also elected into the National Executive of Basotho Congress Party (BCP), four years before even Pakalitha Mosisili joined the NEC, and I am his senior. He was then the Minister of Education when I was the Minister of Natural Resources and five years later he was elected into the committee,” he said.
However, when it was time for then party leader and Premier Dr Ntsu Mokhehle to retire, it Mosisili who was the most preferred to take-over the baton. Moleleki served under Mosisili as Minister for many years until he was deputy leader of the Democratic Congress (DC) to which both are founding members.
Moleleki was then pushed out of the DC whereat he had formed his Alliance of Democrats (AD) ahead of the 2017 elections which had ushered him into office of Premier as the Deputy.