#Top5atFive: Here’s what’s happening in Lesotho and around the globe

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From the MoET budget to China’s reaction to US protests, here’s a wrap of the headlines you need to know going into the weekend. 

1Local headlines

The Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) has been awarded a sum of over M2.6 billion for the 2020/21 financial year. Minister for this portfolio, Hon. Ntlhoi Motsamai, asserts that the funds are intended to address teachers’ and ministry staff salaries, subsidies to technical and vocational schools, school feeding programmes and to also settle outstanding teachers’ salaries.

Member of Parliament for Alliance of Democrats (AD), Kose Makoa, is of the view that the ministry is facing big challenges that have been worsened by the outbreak of coronavirus. Of these, Makoa highlighted poor sanitation facilities and a lack of water supply at some schools.

By comparison, the Ministry of Health will have M2, 564, 459, 211.00 allocated to it while the Ministry of Finance has M1, 930, 674, 462.00. [Bigger budget allocation for MoET, Informative News]

2Local headlines

After vowing to explore all lawful avenues to express displeasure at the retention of Hon. Keketso Rantšo as Minister of Labour and Employment, the Coalition of Trade Unions has resolved to engage in a picketing march next week Friday, June 12 2020. The trade unions will also be demanding payment of M800 wage subsidies to all textile workers, the release of the gazette on the 2020 minimum wage, a social security fund and a review of the Labour Code.

The workers plan to converge at Sefikeng sa Moshoeshoe in central Maseru, where they hope to hand a memorandum of grievances to the Prime Minister. Lesotho Wholesalers Catering and Allied Workers Union (LEWCAWU) spokesperson, Lebonejoang Molefi, said they have still not received a response from Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, despite giving him until last week Friday to replace Hon. Rantšo. National Clothing and Textile and Allied Workers Union (NACTWU) secretary-general Sam Mokhele added that this arrangement was made without prior consultation with trade unions, hence its implementation was fraught with challenges like some workers not receiving the money and others receiving it belatedly. [Unions petition PM, The Reporter]

3Global headlines

As anti-racism protests sweep across the US, Beijing has seized upon them to hit back at Washington for supporting last year’s Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrations. Chinese state media have given extensive coverage to the protests, highlighting the chaotic scenes and alleged police brutality in America to claim that China enjoys greater social stability.

Beijing has long condemned American politicians, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, for “glorifying violence” coming from the Hong Kong demonstrators, who are categorised by China as “rioters showing signs of terrorism”. Protests paralysed Hong Kong for most of last year, prompting Beijing to impose a new national security law in the territory in May, only two weeks ahead of the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown.[George Floyd death: China takes a victory lap over US protests, BBC]

4In lifestyle

Limkokwing University of Creative Technology and National University of Lesotho film students have come together to shoot a short film portraying challenges associated with COVID-19, especially under lockdown. The 13-minute long film titled ‘Botsa Lebitla’ depicts the obstacles that students come across regarding online learning. It was shot in two days at Mpharane, Leribe and it took three weeks to edit.

Producer and writer Matlere Matete reported that the film aims to make both parents and lecturers aware of the challenges students face individually on a daily basis. Matete added that,  “As students, we live in different places and some areas do not have power, making it difficult to charge laptops and phones which results in late or no submission.”  [Film portrays students’ problems, The Reporter]

5What we’re reading: 

This article shows the different ways that this current pandemic is affecting the world of work across industries and highlights how employees’ mental health could be taking a toll during this time. [COVID-19 and mental health in the workplace, Selibeng.com]

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Matlhabeli Molaoli
Matlhabeli is a reader, an Afro-feminist and a firm believer in the power of human-centered design to create lasting social-economic impact. She is a rising junior at Smith College where she majors in both Biochemistry and Anthropology and also dabbles in venture consulting for the local start-up ecosystem. Matlhabeli also enjoys dialogue so she has spent much of her time attending, speaking at and organising TEDx conferences in both Lesotho and South Africa during her time as a student at the African Leadership Academy.