Why we are in a rut

Why we are in a rut

It is not good to be emotional when it comes to the execution of the argument that threshes out issues for the benefit of the larger majority or the community. The common misconception is that the opposition should vanquish the proposition in a debate or vice-versa. The truth however, is that arguments and debates are not made for the sake of a pyrrhic victory that makes the winning side heroes of the hour or the day.

We do not argue for the sake of losing or winning; we argue so that issues that are at first vague can reach such a point of clarity that renders them of benefit to both sides of the argument. Be it in economic, judiciary, government, security, rational, religious, individual, and other topics of interest, the issue is that the arguments are not carried out for the sole purpose of wearing laurels or the aggrandisement of the few individuals involved.
The sole purpose of the argument is to address concerns that not only affect the two or more groups engaged in debate over issues but also the larger community from whence they come or live within at the given moment in time. This is the basic understanding that should carry out with regard to the matter of arguments. The recent decade in Lesotho has exposed a side to the country that raises questions related to its development as a nation, revealing a number of flaws in the different institutions of society and government.

From development and economy, to the judiciary and security sectors, and the government and state, Lesotho has problems that culminated in the advice that the country should perhaps engage in national reforms if any leeway in terms of progress is to be made. The primary question in the light of the developments that has the country in reform is: what is wrong with us?
All social and other institutions have the individual as their basic component, and in the discussion of any social phenomenon, it is the individual that should be the point of departure. From any school’s perspective, it is the individual that first should be aware or enlightened as to their role and purpose in society. The enlightenment comes in the form of knowledge gathered or experienced, the most primary being the literature of the people or the culture that is expressed in different forms, the most common of which is literature (oral and written).

In this aspect, Sr. Rose Leon SJC states that:
Literature provides possibilities for interaction with others, enabling individuals to enter into a reciprocal exchange of enriching the lives of each other. It enables them to make a profound experience of self thus becoming responsible actors in society. Failure to respond to this fundamental need of the human person contributes to a loss of purpose of any literary work.

It is not only the literary work that loses its purpose, but the individual also loses out in terms of acquiring salient knowledge needed in ensuring that one is an effective member of society. It is the words said and experiences gathered that shape the individual’s perception and contribution to society, for if the individual is not aware of what is going on in society, they end up being a liability instead of being an asset to society.
The Lesotho individual seems to be the main problem in the various discussions regarding the welfare and the progress of the country and the nation. We seem unaware of what it is exactly that led the state to this dismal point in terms of economic development and social stability. The past in a way nurtured the idea of group mentality versus the individual instead of nurturing individual thought for the benefit of the group. The fallacy of a majority rules type of ideology means that even good individual propositions are ignored for the sake of majority opinion and view.

I have always watched migrating birds and one aspect about the migratory flight is clear: there is a leading bird at the fore-tip of the flight formation. The tip of the V is occupied by an experienced lead bird. This scene could well serve as a metaphor in the understanding of progressive political governance. Lesotho is now at the point that necessitates reform because there was never any bother to nurture individuals that work for the benefit of the majority but only themselves and peers or fellow party members. The resultant barrage of political parties that are promptly formed on a regular basis stems from the individuals engaged in political debates not understanding their true purpose.
Argument seems to call for disengagement in the political circles of the country, an attitude that has so far seen more political parties than the state or demographics need. We have come to a point where that ideal of a united society is shattered to smithereens by personal interest in the name of democracy.

It is fallacious to think that democracy means that disagreement should mean parting ways with previous peers or fellow party members. The lead reason is that one does not engage in politics for the sake of personal interest or the interest of the party formation. One engages in politics to serve the interests of the masses that vote them. These are the same masses the political figure lures with promises in the lobbying speeches. Not serving them means the politician has lost or does not understand his or her sense of purpose.
Where the political culture teaches that one can defect and form new political parties is prevalent as it is in Lesotho, one is faced with the reality that social division goes deeper than what is perceived. The constant political divisions are what have led the state to its demise, with a clear reality that the players in the political arena are too old or have been in the occupation for too long. The new ones that come into the political fold are fed the same old ideologies that have failed previously. And the drudgery goes on as the state regresses.

It has been said that Lesotho was far ahead of fellow and former British protectorates of Swaziland and Botswana in the late 1970’s. The present picture leaves one wondering where the eldest state of the three got left behind. Previous policies were progressive, but the advent of the military government in 1986, and the regimes that came after deviated from the previous policies and adopted new ones whose impact is in simple terms minimal.
This was a case of the regime in government holding the misconstrued perception that their policies or ideas were better than the previous ones. This pattern of thought breaks the continuum needed to ensure continued growth, but the individual socialised with a colonised mentality always wants to present their view and opinion as the best: borrowed from the colonial native tendency to please the master as the best among the heathen lot in front of the colonist.

Maybe that someone will hold a notion contrary, but the fact of the matter is that the average Lesotho politician is a colonised mind, unable to get the masses and the land out of the repressive colonial tendencies that were superficially excised at the point of attaining independence.
That we have economic planning bodies largely dependent on handouts from donor nations is the main cause of our demise. There is no way that an individual man or country can progress if there is no belief in self potential. There is a primal need to self-sustain to make movement forward, but the case with Lesotho is that the nanny Britain was never left the cot’s side.

This means that we never actually got to the point of being weaned from the clutches of colonisation. The usual practice these days is to go cap-in-hand from one donor to the next, ignoring the simple fact that doing so plunges the state into debt. The attitude of borrowing means that Lesotho shall never get out of the dependency and indebtedness the current political class grew up in.
We have a political class raised on the tenets of being a good colonised native, that is, the native that can oppress the masses for the benefit of the colonial master and the demise of the local. Donation ceremonies are graced with fanfare and pomp, but the reason why the intended donations never reach the intended sections of society in need of them is hardly questioned.

There is no way that we can have a thriving economy if it is based on outside help as it is at the present moment. The now common practice of giving donors the upper hand in the economic sector means that the local companies and individuals will never thrive to the point of being meaningful contributors to the growth of the economy.
There may be opposing views, but the reality of the matter is that modern loyalty and patriotism are bought: there is just no way starved citizens can be patriots to regimes that enrich only the elite and affiliates. The time has come for Lesotho to engage in reforms. The only sad reality is that they too will prove ineffective if carried out in a manner that addresses only the interests of the ruling class and not those of the larger majority who are at the core of poverty, disease and unemployment.

Cases drag on and on in courts and the occurrence of this phenomenon has reached a stage where it has become a part of speakeasy talk, as if there is nothing wrong with delaying the course of justice. If it is true that justice delayed is justice denied, it is not wrong to wonder how many have been denied justice to the present day; and the wheels of justice keep on dragging at the same snail’s pace that put the sector into disrepute. Could be that there seems nothing wrong with the practice of delaying cases by the judiciary, but the repercussions of this practice are felt far and hard in the psyches and the communities within which many Basotho live. The levels of crime have risen significantly, a direct result of an ailing judiciary because the criminals know that the judges are either slow or overloaded with cases that have been gathering over the long years.

It depends upon the individual judge to see to it that the cases are done with and justice is delivered to deserving parties. The casual manner with which legal scandals of gargantuan proportions are addressed means that the state will go on decaying. Where there is no law, chaos ensues.
It is a long held notion that political rule is not to blame, but the fact of the matter is that it holds sway in every government decision and therefore is to blame for any mishaps and malpractices that may come along in the running of the state. Political governance has always held the upper hand in ensuring the occurrence of progress throughout the entire history of mankind.

It survived this long because those engaged in it understood that there were larger interests of the masses that are in fact more important than those of their party. We live in a country where the party is bigger than the interests of the masses, where politicians are shameless about their nepotism. The university degree carries no weight, the party membership card is the licence into the job market and thus political activity has elevated itself into the status of the messiah of the believers in party slogan and credo.

I have looked at every minister from any ministry with a look no different from a smirk one wears on their face at a boring performance in a dilapidated theatre. Whoever came with the idea that we should perhaps focus more on reform must have realised that the houses he had been called to were actually hovels that had seen better days. The council of fools surrounding him must have been singing mendacious tunes of non-promise, vowing to change the kingdom like their forefathers did.
This poor man must have been shocked at the level of decay in terms of morals and morale in the institutions that were meant to engender harmonious progress but had been denigrated to hovel status over the years, leaving the kingdom poorer than it had ever been in its 200 year history.

There is only one solution to this mess in Lesotho: the individual must begin to question what the neighbour needs more than they do before they are tempted into the now old practice of being interested in self. Sometimes it sounds a lie that Basotho were once peaceful and honest, in fact, I think it is an ideal history delivered for the sake of rendering the Mosotho a docile creature to serve the schemes of the colonial.
There is no way we shall ever know peace if we carry on being underhanded and mendacious in our practice and interaction with other people. The wrong is with all of us: we are not careful with who we let into the house on top of the hill as we should.

Tsépiso Mothibi

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