Heads must roll

Heads must roll

WE have always known that Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s government is under pressure from many corners.
Its coffers are dry and it’s unable to pay suppliers.
Factional fights within all the coalition parties, especially the All Basotho Convention (ABC), are threatening to upend the government. Reforms and other government projects have stalled.
Teachers and police officers are belligerent.
The youth, long sold the dreams of jobs and business opportunities, are now agitated.

Wool farmers across the country blame the government for their misery.
The judiciary is a mess and the future of state-owned tertiary institutions is mired in uncertainty.
Yet despite all these problems, we have never had to worry about our national security over the past few months.
That’s because our notoriously delinquent army has so far remained somewhat well-behaved, kept to the barracks and resisted the temptation to cavort with our manipulative politicians.
But an unprecedented event yesterday showed us that we should be very afraid.
The operations of the National Security Service (NSS) ground to a halt after agents went on strike to demand better wages. We should be worried because, until now, the NSS has been one of the most stable security arms of the government.
Now that stability is gone.

In its place is a security agency manned by restive spies who resort to strikes to get what they want.
Either way you look at it the NSS strike is a grave threat to our national security.
The NSS is the nerve centre of our national security. It gathers intelligence on potential threats to national security, both from within and outside.
Without it, the country is exposed to the machinations and plots of enemies who could target our strategic political and economic institutions for infiltration and sabotage.
Elsewhere in the world, spies are shadowy characters whose identities are aggressively protected.
You don’t know how they operate and how much they earn. Yet here they parade in the streets.
Thanks to the strike, our enemies know the identities of our agents.
They are aware that our agents are unhappy about their salaries and the NSS is unstable. They could take advantage of the situation to infiltrate the service.

Information can be bought and our own agents can be easily used to undermine our national security.
They can be bribed or blackmailed to release sensitive information about the state.
The mere fact that some of our spies are now known means that the NSS has lost integrity.
The agents have undermined their ability to gather sensitive information by exposing their identities.
That veil of secrecy has been shredded, leaving a security agency manned by people who are as well-known as mere clerks in government. There is no doubt that Leshoboro Mohlajoa, Minister in the Prime

Minister’s office who is responsible for NSS, and the agents could have prudently managed this crisis.
But because they have failed to do that, they should face the consequences.
We would suggest that all spies who were picketing at the office be dismissed.
Now that they are ‘celebrities’, they are of no use to the NSS as spies. By their strike and recklessness they have become a risk to our national security. Fire them!
Mohlajoa should also resign or be fired for failing to sort this problem behind closed doors. It’s clear that he cannot be trusted with our national security.
The NSS director should also leave or be forced out because he too has failed.

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