A bunch of clowns

A bunch of clowns

I find myself getting irritated about the way coalition government is running its affairs. I have reflected on this matter a lot and have concluded that this government is a never ending circus, full of clowns.
As a young man, I attended lots of circuses in Maseru at different venues. Clowns are entertainers who make us laugh. The term “clown” can refer to someone who frequently exhibits boorish behaviour, a jester, a fool, a habitually clumsy or inartful character; someone whose farcical and ridiculous behaviour often provides occasion for derisive laughter.
Have you ever heard this saying before?

“Don’t blame a clown for acting like a clown. Ask yourself why you keep going to the circus.”
I expect this expression to make you chuckle, but it’s not what I intended to happen. I want the expression to also make you think. The implied analogy suggests that you should re-evaluate and realign your expectations and actions.

Obviously, you should expect there to be clowns at a circus, and you should expect the clowns to act like clowns. So don’t get upset if you go to the circus and that’s exactly what happens!
I have complained about the boorish behaviour of government so many times. I have come to accept that this government is a circus and I should expect clowns in it.
What would a government of clowns look like?

A clown or two, here and there in government would not, necessarily, constitute a government of clowns. In order to qualify for this form of government, clowns would have to run things.
This government has clowns in cabinet, parliament, public service (Some Principal Secretaries), the judiciary and security services. When the First Lady and a Principal Secretary withdraw vehicles and VIP Protection from an Acting Prime Minister then you should know it must be said that this is a government of clowns.

In the past two years, we have seen a series of ridiculous blunders committed by government officials. But this week I want to focus on known government paid clowns who embarrassed the Acting Prime Minister Keketso Rantšo.
It was her first time acting in the position of the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Thesele ’Maseribane had gone on an official trip overseas.

On Thursday last week the Acting Prime Minister Rantšo received the VIP Protection with two extra vehicles. Then on Friday, she went to the airport, when she was there she got a phone call from Principal Secretary (PS) ’Masekhantšo informing her that the First Lady wanted to recall the vehicles.
Then immediately, the vehicles and VIP Protection were withdrawn. The Acting Prime Minister was never informed about the matter nor given the reasons why the vehicles and VIP Protection were being withdrawn. She was shocked and embarrassed.

“We must respect each other, I never demanded for the vehicles that the Prime Minister uses as the First Lady claims. I doubt it’s true that there is a soldier who demanded for the Prime Minister’s vehicles from the First Lady. I received extra vehicles and VIP Protection. I was embarrassed when they were withdrawn,” Rantšo said.

It’s a very unfortunate incident, but she accepted the apology from the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) for withdrawing the VIP Protection. But this incident has left a bad taste in my mouth.
The question is: Should we conclude that the LDF command gets instructions from the First Lady? If that is so, who is she to give commands to the LDF leadership? Why did the LDF officers call her for permission to use government vehicles?

Brig Ntoi, an LDF officer in charge of public relations, tried to set the record straight. He claimed the LDF is very particular when it comes to giving proper security for position of the Prime Minister or Acting Prime Minister. He apologised for what he termed the “lapse of security” that happened temporarily.

Apparently Col Moholoholo, who is in charge of the VIP Protection, got a call from PS ’Masekhantso informing him that the black escort vehicle was going to be withdrawn. When the vehicle was withdrawn there was that “lapse of security”, which according to LDF occurred for a few minutes.
Brig. Ntoi claims that the LDF did everything in their powers to organise security for the Acting Prime Minister even though it was not visible to the Acting Prime Minister. I was shocked that he said that. That was a very irresponsible statement indeed.

History will judge whether this administration will be the first government to be run by clowns. What we can say for sure is that these blunders, failures, deceptions and gross miscalculations are not funny. They have done damage to our economy, institutions, our people and potential that we’re not yet able to calculate. It will be interesting to see in the next round of elections whether Basotho voters have lost their appetite for government by clowns.
If a clown at the circus is acting like a clown and you don’t like it, then that’s a reflection on you, not the clown. At a time of great jeopardy for our economy and our security, we’ve got into the habit of appointing clowns to serious office. Unfortunately, some clowns are not even elected.

Something needs to change, but it probably won’t be the clown. Clowns in cabinet, parliament, public service, judiciary and security services will remain clowns as long as the circus continues. We must do away with this circus of a government. These clowns are no longer funny.
Our government is not a circus for self-serving highly paid clowns. It must be respected. Basotho never voted for the First Lady, she has no place in government administration.

Ramahooana Matlosa

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