Politicians must stop interfering in  allocation of tenders

Politicians must stop interfering in allocation of tenders

In his biography of Dr Ntsu Mokhehle, the author Hon Moleleki mentions that there are three categories of rally attendants. The first category he says is of people that go to rallies to drink beer and chase after women or men.
These people have no interest in what the party manifesto is about, their main aim is to have fun by drinking like fish then getting boyfriends or girlfriends.
The second category is of singers. They sing throughout the rally. These people like the ones in the first category are at the rallies for fun. The funny part with this group is that they sing even when the leader is delivering a keynote address.

After all they are not there for speeches but for songs. Most of these people are often accorded A Grade post in the public service. This is a group of party fanatics that never miss a political rally.
The third category is of people that are at the rally to listen to the speech of the party leader and other keynote addresses. Most of them are the elderly, they will join the song at some point but their main interest is in what the leader has to say. If you want to know the constitution and manifesto of a political party, these are the people that will gladly assist you.
They are oftentimes elected into the constituency committees because they always talk a lot of political sense and at constituency gatherings, they are often quoting from the constitution to make their point.

Unfortunately in the 21st century politics, a fourth group has since invaded the Lesotho political landscape. This is a group of politicians that have an insatiable appetite for government tenders. I will call them political tenderpreneurs, the shrewdest group that has hit our lovely Mountain Kingdom.
These are semi-literate members of the political parties. However, lately, due to the high rate of unemployment among the youth and young adults, they have been joined by the elites of these country.

The political tenderpreneurs are people that are often closest to the party leaders and the National Executive Members (NEC) of political parties. Just like the three categories mentioned by Hon Moleleki, this category is also found in all political parties in Lesotho.
At political rallies and party conferences, the tenderpreneurs ensure that they are accommodated in the VIP section together with the members of the NEC, dignitaries of the party such as Principal Secretaries, MPs and Ministers.

They strategically place themselves within the VIP section because that is where the deals are sealed during such events.
Nonetheless, if you can ask for the constituencies of the political tenderpreneurs, I bet you will not find a straight answer. The reason is simple.
These are young men and women that hop from one office to the other in Maseru in search of tenders.

They have no knowledge of the constituencies and they often do not even know the constitution and manifesto of the party whose rallies they are attending. Their aim is simple: make a lot of money before this government collapses, jump ship to a political party that is likely to form government and continue making money.
I have nothing personal against political tenderpreneurs as even in Sesotho we have an adage “kanyane ho phela le liretsana” meaning that one should chase their dream or goal at all costs, even if it means getting one’s hands dirty in the process.

However, I have noticed that kind of thought pattern as one of the reasons for the political turmoil and instability in the Mountain Kingdom.
As such, because my interest is in the stability and subsequent development of our country, I will this week dwell on this category and how it is disturbing our peace and stability.
At the gist of the Democratic Congress split and subsequent collapse of the second coalition government was among other issues the saga on the allocation of a fleet tender.
Those who were not allocated the tender had at their side the DC youth league which fought tooth and nail with the then Minister of Finance for that tender.
I have always asked myself what was it that the DC youth league was going to gain from that tender.

In the current coalition, we have again seen how the King’s birthday celebration was brought into disrepute by people, among them politicians, who were fighting for the tenders that included catering, cake making and hiring of tents.

Some of the burning issues are that we now have the PAC which is at loggerheads with the Ministry of Works over shady allocations of projects including the building of the new Senate and the tender for the Mononts’a road.

The Principal Secretary, a political appointee, is at the centre of this dispute.
The above examples are just the tip of the iceberg concerning the corrupt manner where the politicians have had a hand in the allocation of tenders.
While the politicians and their friends are busy fighting over who gets a tender, the unemployment rate is escalating, the number of suppliers that have not been paid keeps on increasing, human trafficking is intensifying and cases of women abuse keep on rising.\

The government is also being threatened as we know that these tenders can rock its stability and subsequently plunge it into disrepute.
Politicians should stay in their lane and stop interfering in the allocation of tenders as it seems to be the trend since the coming into office of coalition governments.
There are many ways to show gratitude to those that sponsored campaigns without causing havoc in government.

By:  Kelello Rakolobe

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