It was more than just passing the baton

It was more than just passing the baton

Last Friday, we saw power being transferred from one Prime Minister to another. Besides being remembered as the inauguration when Dr Thabane received the baton from Dr Mosisili for the second time, it will also be remembered for the following;
l The heckling of a man of the cloth,  l No speech being given by the outgoing PM as he passed on the baton,
l Tractor pulling a coffin onto the stadium,

l. A boycott of the event by supporters of the outgoing government
These incidents made an indelible impression on me for two reasons (1) they were all unexpected and unusual and (2) each contained a veiled but important message.
Heckling a man of the cloth — the message I read from this is that when leaders espouse values and beliefs not aligned with those generally held by the people they lead; a rift develops between them.

And unless there is a speedy amendment i.e. a reconnection, this breakdown becomes permanent and the leader risks being abandoned i.e. not followed. They cease to be regarded as the true and legitimate standard bearers for that community.
To EARN people’s respect as well as the PRIVILEDGE to continue to lead them therefore, a leader needs to take responsibility for ensuring that this relationship is kept intact and immediately repaired when frayed — not the followers.

The Reverend must take full responsibility for the way the crowd reacted to him. This requires serious soul searching and not excuses.
No speech by the outgoing PM — got me to think about the paucity of ethical leadership we have in this country. For me ethical leaders make decisions after considering not only the law but also what is right and principled.

On the contrary, Leaders who are not ethical, do not i.e. base their actions purely on what the law says. Such decisions can never meet the yardstick of being great decisions.
Not speaking at the inauguration was not the right thing to do (fell short of the ethical benchmark) because this communicated to Basotho and the world at large that power was being handed over reluctantly (doing it because that’s what the constitution demands) and not willingly (that’s what Basotho ordered and I subject myself to their will).
The right and certainly courageous thing would have been to publicly concede defeat and to wish the winner well.

To argue that there was no legal requirement for the PM to give a speech at the inauguration and therefore no law was broken is to miss the point that leaders must always act ethically.
Tractor pulling a coffin — seeing a tractor pull a coffin painted in the colours of one of the parties routed at the polls signalled the absence of magnanimity by the victors.
Because we are a divided nation that seems to be at war with itself, we need to desist from committing acts and saying things that are unlikely to bridge divides and to reconcile us.
Nothing constructive and conciliatory was gained by that stunt. If anything, it increased our current polarisation.

We certainly expect better from the leaders of the incoming government i.e. better moral conduct. Those who lead us MUST be better versions of ourselves us i.e. they must be above reproach and above such pettiness. The incoming government needs to denounce the tractor coffin incident. Failure to do so will not give hope that we now have a new crop of Leaders who espouse and stand for higher moral values and ethical conduct.

Opposition boycotting the inauguration —It is perfectly fine not to be happy with an election outcome because “losing” is never fun let alone losing an election where so much was at stake. But it is a dangerous and unpatriotic thing not to accept an election outcome.

I am encouraged that all parties that took part in the elections say they accept the outcome of the elections.
I am however concerned that some leaders are said to have encouraged their supporters not to attend the inauguration. It baffles the mind why any patriotic leader would urge their supporters not to attend an important national event such as an inauguration.

I am also concerned by suggestions in some quarters that the elections were rigged and that SADC should do a forensic audit of the results.
These things will divert our focus away from doing the important work required to turn this country around and to improve its fortunes. This confirms suspicions that for some people, their number one priority is not the urgent construction of a better Lesotho but something else.
These are the thoughts that did rounds in my head during the inauguration.

Perhaps the overriding message is that Basotho have made their choice. Their will and collective wisdom MUST be respected.
Any act or conduct that challenges the people’s will, can only be motivated by selfish, personal and factional interests and not the national good. It must not be tolerated.

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