We are better off without these  pre-condition setters

We are better off without these pre-condition setters

The mood in the country is unmistakable, Basotho are demanding and expecting the reforms process to proceed urgently and unconditionally. Genuine leaders of Basotho understand this national desire and they are gearing up to shape a better future for Lesotho.
But those who are not true leaders of the people, write letters saying they will only get involved in the reforms process when certain conditions are met.

The constitutional, security, judicial and public-sector reforms are important to elevate us from being a “shithole” country to become a serious nation. The reforms present the opportunity to end our chronic instability so that there is growth and prosperity for all of us.
This is a crucial moment in the life of this nation. It requires all who truly care about this country, to avail themselves and not to make unreasonable demands.

I say unreasonable for the reasons below.
The redeployment of the Principal Secretary of Police and the Commissioner of Police –Why should people who are succeeding to put criminals behind bars be redeployed? Compared to their predecessors, these guys walk on water.

We should all be celebrating and giving them unconditional support. Their efforts are making our country safer. Criminals are being locked up and not allowed to roam our villages. That is a good thing and not a bad thing. This demand cannot be convincingly argued to be in the best interest of the country. It smacks heavily of self-preservation.

The release of the former army commander and other detainees – Why? These individuals are in detention after due legal processes have been followed. They are not in detention unlawfully. Our courts decided that’s where they should stay for now.
To release these individuals outside of legal process (the effect of acceding to their demand), would send the message that Basotho are not equal before the law.

Some amongst us deserve to be given special and preferential treatment. That is wrong. The reinstatement of all public servants who were unlawfully discharged and demoted – These people should go to the courts if they have been unlawfully discharged.
Relief and redress should be determined by the courts and not arbitrarily as they are wanting should happen. This demand brings bad memories from the past.

Remember how some politicians argued that former commander Lt General Tlali Kamoli was unlawfully retired? Do you remember the tension and instability this created in the barracks and throughout the country when he was “reinstated” in the manner that he was? Do you remember the nonsensical mutiny charges? Do you remember the death of Lt General Mahao? Do you remember the torture and cruelty innocent soldiers were subjected to?

These things could have been avoided had the courts been approached to ascertain the lawfulness or otherwise of Lt General Kamoli’s dismissal. But that did not happen because politicians who should have known better, meddled and usurped the powers of the courts. Politicians became judges.
No, not again. Relief must come from the courts and not from politicians with partisan interests.

The granting of benefits to Ntate Metsing and the deputy leader of the Democratic Congress – This is a private matter and not a national issue. Why are they making their money problems our problem? We have our own money issues to worry about.

They must fight their own battles and leave us out. We want to be seized with the problems of Lesotho and not the money problems of individuals.
In fact, it’s a shame when politicians persist in the mistaken belief that they exist to be served and not to serve. This is exemplified in this “unless you give me my pension, I will not participate in the reforms” mentality.

It’s a clear abuse of country for personal gain. By making this demand, they suggest that the most urgent national project must be compromised because they have not been paid.

Setting up a commission of enquiry into several high-profile deaths in the country is one of the other pre-conditions.
When the Phumaphi Commission was set up to investigate the circumstances leading to the death of Lt General Maaparankoe, there was overwhelming domestic and international support for it.

That is because, there was a breakdown in the rule of law in the country. Rogue elements in the army and elsewhere had become law unto themselves. They did terrible things and got away with it.

To ensure accountability, the commission had to be set up. Basotho and the rest of the world had no confidence that there would be justice in that case because at the time, the country was being led by people who appeared to support and promote criminality. Criminals were not arrested but protected.
This terrible chapter in our history is now behind us. The rule of law has now been restored. The police do their job like they are supposed to. We see them investigating and arresting suspects even those who were protected before.

Citizens once again, have confidence in the justice system especially because current leaders do not say murderers and other criminals be given immunity from prosecution for the sake of reconciliation. Remember their infamous Amnesty Bill?
That’s the reason today, there is no clamour for commissions of enquiry except from people with ulterior motives. Honest people do not doubt that the cases mentioned in the list of demands are being thoroughly investigated.

As for the other demands i.e. setting up a Government of National Unity, establishing an interim political authority, moratorium on the removal and filling of constitutional positions etc, only a few Basotho are fooled by this charade.
Sensible people ask the question: “If these things are so important to create an atmosphere of fair play, why didn’t they put them in place when they had the power and numbers in parliament?”

To raise these matters now is hypocrisy of the highest order. I see no reason why they themselves did not ensure the existence of these conditions when the tables were turned.

For this reason, all I hear when they make these demands is just noise. I see and hear people who are motivated by expediency and not driven by principle.

To infuse a values system that entrenches human rights, rule of law, puts Basotho first, protects our national interests and ensures political and economic stability into the multi-sector reforms, we need people in the reforms process who think differently from the thinking that brought us our current “shithole country” status.

We need people who think at the core of their heart “Lesotho first”. Those who do not demonstrate this thinking, SHOULD NOT partake in the reforms. We are better off without them. Their value system created the past we want to move away from. We do not want to contaminate our future with their beliefs.

No matter the number of times I read their pre-conditions, I arrive at the same conclusion, these have nothing to do with what’s in the best interests of Basotho. So, let them stay out. We will achieve more without them.

This is not being exclusionary. This is being inclusive the right way i.e. not making “inclusivity” about increasing the number of bums on seats at all cost. True “inclusivity” is about ensuring that there a diversity of views, ideas, values and beliefs that ESPOUSE patriotism.

Poloko Khabele

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