Lesotho’s village politics

Lesotho’s village politics

Lesotho’s politics are just village politics, so said P W Botha referring to Lesotho’s political troubles. He said he wouldn’t be bothered by a country that claims to be independent yet solely relies on another state.
I concur. Lesotho’s politics have been reduced to nothing but a game named ‘mantloane (an imaginary game of “house” played by Basotho kids).
Lesotho politics lack sophistication, finesse, class, logic, reason, common sense, patriotism and consideration for the poor. They are about power struggles driven by poverty mentality. 

They have nothing to do with the love for the country, development, advancement of the youth and empowerment for the poor. Ke polotiki tsa hoposeng.

Some of us wish to see our country out of the clutches of poverty. We want to see a country that is at peace with itself. We want to see construction cranes all over, whether it means construction of high-ways, or new universities or even airports. It’s our only wish and prayer.
But that won’t be a reality with these kind of politics. Cheap politics!

We are right in the middle of a global pandemic that has caused a catastrophe. The world is on high alert to defeat this monster named Covid-19 and much to our disappointment, our politicians are busy fighting for power. Hao banna! Right in the middle of a crisis of this magnitude? That just shows how skewed our priorities are.

For the benefit of the readers that are not even aware of what has been happening or simply blocking their ears when it comes to Lesotho politics, last week, the first week of April 2020, a faction of the All Basotho Convention (ABC), signed an agreement to form a coalition government with the Democratic Congress (DC).

Yet again, hao banna! When will this game come to an end?
To top it up, two Cabinet Ministers from the ABC, received letters of dismissal. One of them even sent scathing recordings lambasting the First Lady and Minister Ntsekele. My friend Manama Letsie sent voice recorded messages in retaliation to the voice recordings sent by one of the fired ministers.

At the time of writing this piece, it looks like there’s going to be yet another cabinet reshuffle. Moreover, not forgetting the legal proceedings where the BNP and a faction of the ABC were opposing the closure of parliament.
In the middle of that political chaos, we have a national command centre that seems to be disillusioned on what to do when it comes to the Covid-19 crisis. It seems to be a case of the blind the leading the blind.

At the time of typing this piece, on Saturday, 04th April at 15:48, in Mazenod Ha-sekepe, Lesotho claimed to have zero cases of infections.
Zero cases of infection and South Africa was on 1 505. Bloemfontein had recorded 77 cases. Now, for those that are astute with your statistics, what are the chances?

I know that Facebook was flooded with messages of how good God is and how he has protected Lesotho with his hand. Look, I agree, God is good and all the time but what are the chances of Lesotho being immune to the virus?   

Now, here we are in the middle of a crisis, our politicians are busy trying to form a new government. A government of convenience with a motive to sideline the Alliance of Democrats (AD)
We all know what the end result of that agreement will be. Especially with the AD on the sidelines. We don’t need a prophet to come and predict the inevitable.

In-fact let me predict it for you. Whatever agreement has been signed between the ABC and the DC will collapse in the near future. No, I’m not a prophet of doom and don’t wish bad luck on anyone. I am just an analyst using my analysis based on past trends.

I analyse trends and the trend in Lesotho is that coalition governments do not work. We are now going to ten years with this coalition mess and it seems not to be getting any better.

As a matter of fact, most coalition governments collapse or implode due to internal party squabbles that result in splinters. Most of our political parties in Lesotho are very unstable and there’s no way of having a stable government with the ongoing internal conflict in various political parties.

Look at the infighting within the AD and RCL. Well, not negating the mess in the ABC and the BNP. What a shame! 
Like in the game of ‘mantloane conflict is an order of the day. That’s the reason why the houses are usually destroyed before sunset and have to be re-built again the following day. 

In most cases, it’s because of a fool that’s fighting to be a “Ntate” and the perks that come with it or a “kid” that’s just tired of being a kid every day and wants to graduate to being a parent the very same day. I mean, it’s just lunacy.

I’m telling you, if that faction of the ABC succeeds in forming a government with the DC, it’s only be a matter of time before a cat-fight begins. There will be an incompetent minister that never goes to work and always hangs out at a Chinese restaurant during working hours.

When the PM, whoever it will be, tries to enforce discipline, the Minister will cry foul and start causing cracks in the coalition government. That’s just how the cookie crumbles in Lesotho. We can’t work together in peace and we can’t go on like this. We simply can’t.
I think we’ve reached the height of lunacy. Lesotho is a mad house (‘mantloane) and things are about to get worse economically because of the Covid pandemic.

For Lesotho to come out of the mud, it will require very focused and concerted (streamlined) effort that will push in the same direction. I want to highlight the words, “push in the same direction”.

Currently, our political landscape does not allow for Basotho to think and act in unison. It’s as if there is a demon or an evil spirit trying to divide Basotho to be being united and loving one another. Some people and most spiritual leaders actually believe so. There is a strange force that’s just destroying unity in Lesotho.

Going back to my opinion piece published last Thursday, I highlighted a point that maybe for the sake of peace and unity, Lesotho should consider suspending democracy for ten years. That would be from the current year 2020 to the year 2030.

We need to fumigate this country and remove these toxic spirits that are sowing division and hatred amongst Basotho.
Lesotho is lucky to have a unifying figure, a Mandela in the form of King Letsie III. Yes, some of you may not agree with the solution to give King Letsie III executive powers but it may be or could be the next best solution under the circumstances. We are at our lowest and risk being incorporated into South Africa as a tenth province.

Allow me to qualify my thoughts. King Letsie III is still respected worldwide because of his status as a monarch. The world still respects monarchs. He is possibly the only prominent figure that still has his dignity intact (seriti). Most, if not all of our political figures in Lesotho have lost their dignity (ha bana seriti).

We are at ground zero. We need to rebuild our country from the ground upwards and I think King Letsie III is best suited to source the much needed investment from all over the world.
I am into property development and I know the challenge of convincing investors to see potential for investment in Lesotho. Like I said, Lesotho has a Mandela.

To digress a bit and as part of my closing comments, going back to the early 90’s, which individual was brave enough to say no to Mandela in his era? Former President Mandela held the master key. Who will be brave enough to say no to King Letsie III?

Another golden opportunity that Lesotho has at the moment is to sell Moshoeshoe One International Airport to Emirates Airlines.
As I’ve previously indicated, pair up the sale with Setsoto Stadium and Victoria Hotel. Sell those assets to Emirates in a quest to bring in FDI and to build meaningful business ties with the UAE, more especially Dubai. Who is best suited to close that deal? There goes your answer!

As a closing note, when you are at your lowest and have very limited options left, the best thing to do is to change habits. Get rid of the things that do not work. Change course, and look at options that have the highest probability of success.

Democracy has proven not to work in Lesotho. In fact, Lesotho excelled economically at a time when democracy was suppressed or even suspended. Coalition governments have proven to be a disaster. A complete mess!

What other options are available? How can we make this country work after the Corona economic meltdown? How do we reboot the economy? How can we get Basotho to unite and love one other?
Let’s try this option I’m tabling and see if it works. We’ll never know until we try and as Mandela once said, it always seems impossible until it is done.
Food for thought!

    ‘Mako Bohloa

Previous Food for thought- Part 3
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