It’s time to stop laughing

It’s time to stop laughing

THERE was once a time when I would chuckle at the current government’s comedy of errors.
I found it hilarious that a government that promised to promptly eradicate poverty, create jobs and decisively deal with rampant corruption was hobbling from one crisis to the next.
The joke wasn’t in the fact that they had failed to achieve these important things.
They are not the first ones to fail to deliver on their grand promises.
What was funny was that even after so much bungling they still insist that they are on the right path and they are the ones who can take this country to the ‘promised land’.
You have to laugh at such self-delusion.

But there comes a time when even the most hilarious joke loses its sting and the punch line just falls flat.
We cannot laugh anymore because by doing so we will be laughing at ourselves as a nation that allows itself to be governed by incompetent people.
We cannot laugh when leaders think this nation is some wager at a poker game.
Instead of giggling, we should be calling for action to rid ourselves of those who have made it their vocation to make us the butt of jokes in the world.
This clowning has to stop now.

Last week, Health Minister Nkaku Kabi told radio stations that he was resigning from government. He said he had already written a resignation letter to Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
The news of his resignation was as shocking as his reason for throwing in the towel. He said he was leaving the ministry to focus on his role as deputy secretary general of the All Basotho Convention (ABC).
It’s stunning that Kabi was expecting us to believe such boloney.
That façade began to crumble a few moments later when the government said it had not received his letter.
So a minister says he has resigned and his employer, the government, says he hasn’t.
What a circus.

But perhaps the simplest way to show that Kabi’s explanation is nothing but a ruse is to unpack its logic.
People join and support a political party because they believe it has the right policies to implement when it gets into government.
Political parties are formed for the sole purpose of eventually getting into government so that they drive their policies at national level.
As minister of health, Kabi has the responsibility to implement the ABC policies on national health. He is the driver of the policies the party espoused during the election campaign.
By resigning as minister, he is saying he is unwilling or unable to implement his party’s policies at the highest level.
He is saying he would rather expend his energy on being a mere deputy secretary general.
He is willing to leave a ministerial position in order to become an assistant secretary general.

He is trying to tell us that he finds it prudent to leave a ministry that deals with the welfare of the citizens for a minor position in a party already battling for its survival.
Remember that the ministry of health is one of the most important in the country. Little wonder it gets the second highest allocation in the budget.
What could matter more to a government than the wellbeing of its people?
It is therefore not reckless to postulate that Kabi’s resignation has nothing to do with his love for his political party.
A plausible explanation could be that Kabi has is being pushed out because he has failed to do someone’s bidding.
He could have fallen out with someone very influential. We know what happened to his predecessor, Nyapane Kaya, when he refused to take instructions from a certain kitchen.
He is probably a victim of political machinations we know to be flourishing in this government.
We could also speculate, with confidence, that Kabi is considering abandoning a sinking ship and is probably testing waters.

Kabi’s attempt to resign just shows a government limping to its demise.
In Kabi, I see a minister who is either being shoved towards the door or simply plotting to abandon a government that has almost no chance of winning the next election.
Remember a week ago, 19 MPs threatened to push out Thabane if he does not reverse the suspension of five members of the ABC national executive committee.
With Thabane almost certain to be pushed out, we are starting to see ministers and backbenchers express their lack of confidence in his ability to run government by jumping ship.
I must say I am outraged at how the government is being run.
Incompetent politicians make it easier for my comedian friend Bofihla to pock fun at the government.
I am convinced that our politics, while still full of decent, talented and well-meaning people, is becoming a playground for clowns. If politics is the art of the possible, then surely it’s possible to have better politicians.

I am sure my smart friends in the ABC can give us decent, honest and hardworking politicians. Not his current crop.
I have grown weary of the clowning that pervades our government. Now I believe that we, as a people, are partly to blame for our troubles.
This reminds me of Howard Zinn’s lecture at the Johns Hopkins University in November 1970.
His presentation was aptly titled “The Problem is Civil Obedience”.
“Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”
But before concluding, I should mention that I will not miss Kabi if he leaves
He has failed as a minister.
Yet we should not be too harsh on him because his mediocre performance is in keeping with the general failure of the whole government.

Ramahooana Matlosa

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