MATEKANE: Hope for Lesotho as ALM’s ABLA 2022 Lifetime Achievement Winner Becomes Prime Minister

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In June 2022, Africa voted Sam Matekane as the winner of the African Leadership Magazine poll-based Africa Business Leadership Awards (ABLA) 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award. In recognition of his outstanding business acumen, excellence, and contributions that have accrued over the years to create a solid legacy. He has now taken a step further to cement his legacy as an African Icon and budding Statesman by winning the vote of his people to take over the political leadership of his home country, Lesotho.

In a few weeks, Matekane will be installed as the new Prime Minister of Lesotho. He will act on the mandate entrusted to him by his people to lead them into the next phase of visionary governance and growth. He demonstrated his readiness and commitment to handle this responsibility while campaigning for the national elections by going to places other candidates did not access.

Matekane’s victory comes on the back of planning strategically and setting his mind on achieving a platform that will provide for the common good of his people. Results of the election, announced by the Independent Electoral Commission, revealed that the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP), a political party founded by Matekane in March 2022, had won 56 seats in the national assembly, five seats shy of an absolute majority. It was a resounding victory nevertheless as the last time such numbers were recorded was in 2007 when the then-ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy won 61 parliamentary seats. Since then, subsequent elections held in 2012, 2015, and 2017 saw no political party winning more than 55 seats.

Matekane The Businessman

Born in Mantšonyane, central Lesotho, Matekane is the seventh of fourteen children. He obtained a junior certificate after three years of secondary school and ventured into business after obtaining his junior certificate.

Matekane was mentored by a close family friend, Mr. Timothy Nhlapho, and his business life started with commercial livestock farming of donkeys in 1980. He diversified his business interests to brick manufacturing and eventually mining. His business further expanded to other terrains such as road construction, dams, and reservoirs, and in 1992, he registered the businesses under an umbrella company Matekane Group of Companies (MGC). Today, MGC is home to many business ventures initiated by the forward-thinking Matekane, cutting across multiple sectors including construction, real estate investment, aviation, and mining companies. His business footprints spread across South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, and India.

The Vision for Lesotho

There is no doubt Matekane is passionate about creating a better and greater Lesotho as captured in his vision for Lesotho and his ‘Developmental Agenda’ presented during his campaign, which he is set to implement as Prime Minister.

In an exclusive interview with the African Leadership Magazine, in the wake of his emergence as ABLA 2022 Life Achievement Award winner in June,  Matekane drummed home the fact that current national circumstances, characterized by many years of public mismanagement have necessarily compelled him to step into the political arena and attempt to resolve the issues plaguing his beloved nation.

It was a sacrifice he dared to make, putting his legacy and empire at risk by taking that step, but for him, there is perhaps no greater honour than restoring his country to glory. He emphasized this objective in the following words:

“Once in power, we will focus on good governance, rule of law, respect for human rights, and attracting investment into the country”.

Matekane follows a prestigious club of African leaders who have gone on to achieve on the global stage after being recognized by the African Leadership Magazine. The list includes Her Excellency, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Former President of Liberia, who was voted ALM Person of the year in 2011 and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011; H.E. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia who also won the Nobel Peace Prize after winning the ALM Persons of the Year (2018); Dr Mo Ibrahim, Chairman of Mo Ibrahim Foundation among others.

The incoming Prime Minister, Sam Matekane intends to lead Lesotho into a new dawn and a time of progress by mapping the way forward with the newly formed coalition. His business acumen and time-tested skills in navigating difficult waters would serve well in his early political days. Although politics is a different game entirely, principles of excellence and leadership can translate to governance and it is hoped that Matekane will deliver for his nation.

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