Dear Dr Majoro,
‘Ba dra aza ama dra ‘baruri aza si. Loosely translated this Ugandan phrase means people understand the pain of sickness by experiencing it themselves.
Dr Majoro, I carve this dispatch as a frustrated and disillusioned bona fide tax-paying and law-abiding Lesotho citizen who from time to time has had the occasion of standing in long queues at times in scorching heat and sometimes in frosty cold weather exercising my right to elect a government that will address my needs within my rights as contained in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Lesotho.
As one of the many Lesotho citizens who have an unquenchable love for sport and recreation, I have been stunned by how successive governments have over the past decades denigrated the sport and recreation industry in the Kingdom. Like many, I ask myself: Where have we gone wrong? Why it that sport and recreation are not considered as a priority area as the Kingdom seeks solutions for the escalating unemployment rate?
Dr Majoro, during the colonial era, our European masters had already comprehended the value of sport and recreation. I am aware that Lesotho was never a colony but a protectorate but the crux of my submission to you remains the same. During that era, those who controlled our destiny or our grandfathers and fathers’ destiny founded sport and recreation clubs where they would spend their rest days socialising based on a common objective.
A person of my age would have thought that our elders upon gaining independence would sustain such practices for the good of their descendants. I was definitely wrong.
Maybe I am right to a certain degree. I remember the likes of the late Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda, may his soul rest in peace, and a number of his counterparts who led their countries in breaking free from the shackles of their European masters used to parade their national teams as measuring yardsticks of how they had espoused themselves onto their subjects. Then most of the nations that had acquired their freedoms religiously supported their national teams. The likes of Chipolopolo which then was affectionately referred to as the KK XI was a regular feature in the state trips as well as state receptions that President Kaunda undertook.
After diplomatic meetings, the Saturday afternoons would be about President Kaunda and his peers parading before their nations their national football teams. Lesotho was not an exception during the era of the late Dr Leabua Jonathan, may his soul rest in peace. Likuena as the Lesotho national football team was known and is still known today and its players then had hero status. A good number of them were rewarded with civil service jobs or jobs in the disciplined forces. That no longer exists for reasons best known to those in government.
Ntate Majoro, I might have been very young in the 1970s but that does not make me oblivious to the fact that the Lesotho education system then yielded much better civil service officers than the ones we currently have. I challenge you to ask a group of people who were in the civil service in the 1970s and a group in the current civil service and ask them to pen letters. I can bet that those officers who served in the 1970s can outwit the current cadre by far. My point herein is to adduce to you that our current curriculum is suspect in terms of how it prepares an all rounded civil service officer, by this I mean the quality of officials being positioned into the civil service.
Believe you me, over the two decades that I have been in service, even today I rely to some degree on the tried and tested civil service officers who served in the 1980s. I am sure even yourself you place much trust in the neo-retired civil service officer when it comes to penning official correspondence. I guess this is to a greater extent the reason why in politics the older generation is yet to be phased out.
But then Dr Majoro, in as much as the Lesotho government prides itself in the current education system or curriculum in actual fact it is not benefitting the Kingdom at the service level, the same curriculum is also waning a number of sectors in our economic sector. I will for now focus on how the current Lesotho curriculum is failing the sports and recreation sector and how the Government of the Kingdom of Lesotho is very comfortable with the way things are.
With all due respect, Dr Majoro, you will agree with me when I say the manner in which Ministers in the Education and Sport portfolios are appointed seems more like oops I nearly forgot so and so, and well then lets place such in the aforementioned portfolios. As this dispatch unfolds you will realise what I am talking about.
To predicate my argument above, Ntate Majoro, you will agree with me that during your secondary school years, some of your school mates were playing in the elite football league in the country. Then, your peers would also play for the school team as well. This was facilitated by the then curriculum in that school was not an employment type of activity for students as opposed to what is happening today. Today, students are at school as early at 7am and will only leave school at 4pm.
Then there was Physical Education as early as primary school and some days were designated sports days. You will agree with me that you were already in government, probably in a different capacity when the curriculum that had proven to be serving the Kingdom with aplomb was changed into the current curriculum. You have seen the same curriculum decimate a number of institutions.
It is sad to state that sport and recreation have been the hardest hit by that fateful Cabinet resolution to abolish Physical Education in schools; primary and secondary and by extension tertiary levels. The effect of this from a sport science perspective has been the impedance of our athletes sporting DNA and brain capacity.
Let me illustrate this in the most simplest of manners possible. If you we to take the case of football, the Lesotho Football Association runs a grassroots football programme across the country. The programme is aimed at increasing football appreciation for children aged between 6 and 12 years. This programme is prescribed for primary school students. It is not technically intensive but more introductory in nature. My knowledge of the education system makes me believe that a normal student will move from primary school at the age of 13 or 14 to secondary education.
Once children reach Grade 8, they no longer have time to practise sport because they spend excessively long hours per day in class. I know because my child is in Grade 8. At 7am they have to be attending study before classes start at 8am and end at 4pm. From there they have to go and be part of the shoving for spaces in the appalling and unsafe public transport system. They reach their homes at 5pm at the earliest. They then have to change and attend training sessions, but the question is at what time? Suppose they are able to get to the training fields, a majority of the training fields are co-shared with elite teams and the sad truth is that priority is given to the senior teams.
The unavoidable effect then is that children between the ages 13 and 18 do not get to undergo structured football development, and the same applies to other sport codes. Therefore, athletes have to wait until they reach the age of 18 to return to the structured development. This brings about a situation where an 18-year-old potential athlete now has to start at the age where a 14-year-old should have been in order to recover lost time while working through their academics at secondary level for that matter. If it will take five years to recover the systematic structured development that means that by the time our athletes are 23 years they possess a sport brain of an 18-year-old who has undergone proper structured development.
I know you have heard the outcry from the sport sector venting their anger at the leadership of the sport organizations. It cannot be that you and the Cabinet you lead as well as the Parliament of the Kingdom of Lesotho have not heard and discussed such outcries. If you have not, then this serves to illustrate how the government of Lesotho views sport. Ekaba ke nnete hore sello sa tsuonyana ha sehlomole phakoe Ntate. I guess you probably haven’t addressed this matter on account of you exploring the sport environment and identifying the challenges that face the sport fraternity. Collectively, the Lesotho government has not invited sport practitioners’ perspectives and as such has renounced the opportunity to fully understand the challenges we sport practitioners face as we operate an ignored entity.
In terms of sport development and performance, it is remiss of the government of Lesotho to expect podium performances while it does not invest in sport infrastructure. Ntate Majoro, I wish to invite you, at my expenses, to take a tour of all schools or rather randomly identified schools in Lesotho. We should not disturb the classes, but upon our arrival at these schools we should head straight to the sports grounds. Most of these school grounds are in such a dilapidated state that you would fancy rearing goats and sheep on them. No child can develop their sport talents on such facilities. How does the government expect Basotho athletes to perform well locally and internationally yet the same government has no interest in developing facilities be it at schools or in the communities?
I know you are one who is not afraid of reading. If so, you will have most probably come across a newspaper piece(s) where the writers lamented the common practice where Lesotho representative teams as well as athletes only receive preparatory funding a day or two before they leave for their competition venues. At times, funding arrives after the events and in most cases than not evaporates into the unknown. I would like to know what your position is about this issue. I know you are aware about the upcoming AUSC Region 5 Games to be hosted by Lesotho from December 3-12, 2021. I put it to you that Team Lesotho is expected to perform well in these games as a host. Unfortunately, Team Lesotho has not received even a cent in respect of training and preparation funds. Is this the Lesotho we want in terms of sport and recreation Ntate Prime Minister?
Dr Majoro, the government you are leading has established albeit at the insistence of SADC, the Regional Headmaster of governments in Southern Africa to set up a National Reforms Authority, the NRA. It is sad that in 2021, the NRA did not find any reason to include in its agenda sport and recreation. It does not surprise me because even the National Vision 2020 Policy Framework besides the two lines contained in the document which read ‘By 2020 sport in Lesotho will be professional’ nothing ever became of this and we are in September 2021.
The word professional and professionalize have been used by all new Ministers in the Ministry of Gender and Youth, Sport and Recreation and all have failed to achieve the goal of professionalising sport in the Kingdom. Professionalisation of sport is not what well carved speeches produced by those who assume to understand sport and given to the newly appointed Ministers just in the same manner that bait is given to fish is. The process is arduous and requires meticulous planning. It takes dedication, passion and resources to achieve it.
You may want to argue that I have a role in the pursuit to professionalise sport. Yes I agree, but I will tell you that to produce a wooden table, you need to have a forest first and foremost, then have tools and the skill to produce a table. If your master doesn’t have the forest, where will the wood, the basic ingredient in the production of the table come from? Likewise, for me and others to professionalize sport, we need facilities, and the government will as well as resources, not only on the eve of national elections but throughout our lives.
Professionalisation of sport is not as easy as organizing a political party rally, it takes much more than that, and requires the deployment of officials who are willing to work with those in the industry. No one person has been bestowed with knowledge in all spheres, even our Lord Jesus Christ had to rely on the twelve Apostles in order to deliver the word of God. I know you know well what I am referring to here.
In about nine months from now you will issue the writ of elections. That is if you survive the upcoming vote of no confidence. I wish and dearly pray that you scamper through this one and continue your tenure in office. I sincerely wish you well. As soon as you issue the writ, the football fraternity will be derailed from its programmes as many an aspirant MP will all of a sudden have money to sponsor constituency football competitions, at times there are about four to five such competitions per constituency. Does this mean that for you politicians, sport is only about you flashing your financial might in pursuit of parliamentary seats? Other than the pursuit of Parliamentary seats, upon ascending to the titles of Honourable, the affection for sport cedes?
Ntate Majoro, mine is not to fight the government of the Kingdom of Lesotho which you are leading, I only set out to predicate the plight of sport and recreation in the Kingdom. I only want you to understand that sport and recreation can be harnessed to bring in foreign currency into the kingdom and change the lives of the less fortunate. I cannot sit and watch as the fortunate prosper in formal employment at the expense of the less fortunate. Generally, sportsmen and women do not make it to tertiary education, but we can create opportunities for the less fortunate by creating an alternative to formal education post-secondary school.
While we may have lost valuable time, procrastinating will further put an end to opportunities for those who currently possess the talent and skills to pit against their peers worldwide. Ntate Prime Minister, I have a strong conviction that together we can get things back to where they were in the past, where they should be now and in the future. All I ask from you is an audience with your Cabinet and hopefully Parliament to present and defend the case of Sport and Recreation.
If there may have been areas in this dispatch where I may have gone overboard, pardon me, the passion in me when addressing issues of sport and recreation gets the better of me at times. It is not and will never be my intention to attack and or disrespect you as a person and in your professional capacity, nonetheless, my request for your audience remains,
Harnessing imagery in writing
All writing is imaginative. Every piece of writing reflects the artistry and mental resourcefulness of the writer.
Effective writing also reflects the colourfulness of the writer’s mind and heart; their ability to paint the world to the reader and their capacity or facility of taking the reader with them to beautiful mental and physical and picturesque journeys.
In this piece we focus on how we can hone our creative abilities through the use of imagery and the effect of using colourful and evocative imagery in writing. Let’s go! What if I say, “Learn to prepare wisely and meticulously in time,” you will still grasp the message in a very clear way, isn’t it? But would that be interesting and colourful?
But what if we put it in a colourful manner, “Make hay whilst the sun still shines,” you really grasp the colour and the full import of the message, isn’t it? That’s what imagery does to your writing; it allows you to feel, touch and smell what you are reading.
There is no doubt that the proverb, “make hay whilst the sun still shines” has taken you to the countryside, in a farming community. You hear the bleating of sheep and the neighing of horses.
At the same time, you visualise the good farmer gracefully at work, cutting grass which he is piling in orderly stacks, preparing fodder for his animals in the future. The sun’s rays buoy his attempts and ensure that the hay is prepared with care and colour.
Thus, the point of good imagery is to capture in full detail a world that allows the reader to grasp and enjoy using their five senses. Let me give you a small but beautiful extract which further drives home the point.
“With his machete he detached a brittle clod, broke it on a stone. It was full of dead twigs and the residue of dried roots that he crushed in his fingers.
“Look, there isn’t anything left. The water has dried up in the very entrails of the mountain. It’s not worth while looking any further. It’s useless.” Then, with sudden anger, “But why, damn it! Did you cut the woods down, the oaks, the mahogany trees, and everything that grow up there? Stupid people with no sense!”
Thando struggled for a moment to find words. “What else could we do, brother? We cleared it to get new wood. We cut it down for framework and beams for our hearts. We repaired the fences around our fields. We didn’t know ourselves. Ignorance and need go together, don’t they?”
The sun scratched the scorched back of the mountain with its shining fingernails. Along the dry ravine the earth panted. The countryside, baked in drought, began to sizzle.”
What a colourful piece! The extract aptly paints a countryside’s pulse and the rhythms of seasonal and climate change and how that affects the livelihood patterns of the inhabitants. Have you seen how the sun has been endowed with human-like features?
And the description of the earth assuming human-like features, for instance, “the earth panted.” No doubt, you have seen the earth subdued by the intensity of heat in a way that is similar to a person who is panting.
To paint excellent images the writer needs to have the gift of observation. He/she should be able to observe quite a panorama of things around him and immerse them in the soil of their imagination. Let’s see another good extract where you can discern the link between good images, excellent description and the power of observation.
“It’s in the morning, the fourth watch, to borrow from biblical discourse. It’s damp outside. I brace the slicing chilly weather to go outside. There is a drizzle, constant showers seeping deep down. I pace up at least 400 metres from my hood. I see lined-up, almost cubicle-like houses.
I keep walking, with a spring in the step buoyed by the damp aura wrought by the incessant downpours. I take a deep breath, and step back as it were.
I want to be deliberate. I want to take in everything in my environment; the colours, the diverse hues and plethora of landscape contours. I notice a woman, almost in her forties, from my eye-view assumptions. She is grabbing a basket clutched tenaciously almost close to her big bosom.
She is going to Mbare Musika, the famous agricultural market wherein she intends to buy items for her stall. Behind her, there is a big strapped baby covered in velvet. As she briskly walks, I see her jumping a poodle of water as she observes her stall. I also observe a man, clad in sportswear running trying to cure a big belly.
As I keep watching, I see a woman sweeping her small veranda. I keep walking. I see a woman, plump tending to her garden. She seems animated by the drizzle, thanks to the rains.
I hear another woman, especially her piercing voice, she is selling floor polish. Her voice fills the air. As I drown in the sweet voice, I notice a man staggering. He is filthy. He could have calloused the whole night. He is holding a Black Label quart, speaking gibberish in the air. I keep watching.”
So here were are! Writing is a matter of painting with words, carving images and allowing the reader to experience the impact of all the senses so as to fully grasp the sense of what is put across.
Vuso Mhlanga teaches at the University of Zimbabwe. For almost a decade and half he taught English language and Literature in English at high school.
Send your comments and questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Politicians’ propensity to score own goals
Lesotho politicians are often in the habit of scoring own goals. For example, look at the circus that took place in the country at the opening of parliament after the winter break. These events remind me of the article that I wrote with the title ‘Scoring own goals’.
This article appeared in this publication dated March 18 – 24, 2021. It argued that Lesotho’s politicians had a propensity to score own goals.
Many say that education and academia should not involve themselves in politics. This belief is a fallacy. The two are intrinsically intertwined. Education and politics link in a complex way.
For instance, parliament is an organ that passes laws that govern and guide national education policies. The interconnectedness includes the curricula that educational institutions and schools teach. Now, if the National Assembly’s focus is misplaced, important legislative decisions may stall or be derailed by lack of action.
I must make a disclaimer though. I am not promoting any view about a political party. I am writing this article purely as a concerned citizen.
I revisit the own goal tendency of those in authority by assessing the drama that unfolded in politics and governance. I review the recent events that culminated in the failed vote of no confidence against Prime Minister Sam Matekane and his government.
I use arguments from research to demonstrate the fluidity of Lesotho’s democracy. Some politicians often take advantage of this fluidity for selfish gain. I contest that the Prime Minister and his government should treat their adversities as stepping stones to meeting their targets.
A constitution is a living document. Accordingly, to keep Lesotho’s constitution alive, current and relevant, parliament should regularly amend it.
However, in so doing, parliament must be careful that tinkering with the country’s constitution does not compromise the essence of democracy they champion. National and democratic principles must form the dogma that underpins the improvements and amendment exercises.
Personal aspirations, ambitions and creed must not underpin the amendments.
The recent events in and out of the National Assembly make one question the perceptions of the different roles players in the democratic playground in Lesotho have.
First, there was a vote of no confidence that the Speaker ruled to defer subject to the high court’s decision.
Second, there was the allegedly drunken MP’s own goal.
The third is the press conference led by the Commissioner of the Lesotho Mounted Police Services flanked by the head of the Lesotho Defence Force and the Director General of the National Security Services.
It is already a hat trick of own goals. Fourth, there was the statement of the Prime Minister claiming an attempted coup.
The fifth own goal is the moratorium that prevented parliament from holding a vote of no confidence against the Prime Minister before the lapse of three years of his inauguration.
The sixth is the practice of shirking responsibility by MPs. MPs often refer political matters to the national courts for decisions. The seventh, and the mother of all own goals, is the electoral system that Lesotho elected to pursue. The National Assembly has 120 MPs. There are 80 MPs representing constituencies and 40 proportional representatives.
The Commonwealth suggested that Lesotho review the modalities of the PR nominations. Sekatle and the Commonwealth agree that the PR system introduced plurality but at a cost. The cost is what scholars and commentators term minority rights and coalitions.
Also, it compromises accountability and transparency. It undermines the collective intelligence of the voters. Chief Jonathan warned against coalition governments by citing their instability. Political instability plagues Lesotho today.
Sekatle and the Commonwealth cited the overreliance on a threshold in awarding PR seats in parliament, cheapening them.
The PR system ballooned parliament unnecessarily. By comparison, Botswana had a population of 2.6 million in (2021). Lesotho had 2.3 million (2021). Botswana parliament currently has 65 seats, and Lesotho has 120.
A consequence emanating from the PR system in Lesotho is a hung parliament. Since 2012, there has not been an outright majority in the National Assembly. The results yielded chaos. Over that period, PMs constantly look over their shoulders. All these coalitions imploded.
Democracy is about the majority. Politicians must be persuasive to attract votes to achieve the majority. In other words, the PR system rewards failure.
The own goals cause stagnation. MPs score these own goals by serving their selfish interests. They waste time and energy on trivial things. And yet, they receive full-time salaries and earn allowances such as sittings and petrol allowances. How, then, would one explain that the external urging of parliament had to engage in the reforms exercise?
Today, reforms are lying latent. Politicians use the reform programme as an excuse for ensuring that they retain or access power. In the recent correspondences to SADC, the government and the opposition cite reforms and democracy to justify their actions. But as I write this article, there is nothing much that is happening along the lines of these very reforms. Why?
The starting point of any achievement is desire and definitiveness of purpose. The definitiveness of purpose is more than goal setting. It is one’s roadmap to achieving the overall objectives. Elsewhere, I took the definition of desire as explained by the author, Wallace Wattles.
According to Wattles, ‘Desire is possibility seeking expression, or function seeking performance’. All desires began as a thought. Expressing their desires through a manifesto is a means by which parties attempt to concretise them (their desires).
The starting point of an election campaign is the expression of political intentions and goals through manifestos. A manifesto is a public declaration of aims and policy by a political party or candidate. Political parties express their desires for what they will do in their manifestos.
After elections, these desires become the guiding principles and laws. Politically mature voters would then elect political candidates based on these manifestos.
Who instigated and drove the reforms in Lesotho? The contemporary history of Lesotho reveals that external forces pushed the reforms. Basotho merely reacted. They do not own the reform process. High on the list of their drivers are SADC, the US through AGOA and the European Union.
The practice contradicts Wattles’ definition. According to Wattles definition, desire must emanate from inside the individual, or in our case, from Basotho and be expressed outward through actions.
I do not want to comment too much about the involvement of the security agencies in politics. In my view, the relevant bodies, namely, the Law Society of Lesotho, the media and the opposition parties dealt with their involvement adequately.
Former PM Leabua Jonathan often described democracy as the government of the people by the people. But, the meaning of the construct of democracy is fluid and elusive, depending on the position of governance in Lesotho’s political arena.
Authors Hughes, Kroehler and Vander Zanden explain that democracy is a system in which the powers of government derive from the consent of the governed, namely the masses who vote, in which regular constitutional avenues exist for changing government officials.
The authors characterise the system as one which permits the population a significant voice in decision-making through the people’s right to choose among contenders for political office. Also, the system allows for a broad, relatively equal citizenship among the populace.
Lastly, it affords the citizenry protection from arbitrary state action.
Now, the question is whether the recent activities fit all the three criterias. Are the actions of the MPs who moved for the vote of no confidence in the PM’s government acting in line with Lesotho’s constitution and democracy?
This definition of democracy says that regular constitutional avenues exist for changing government officials. The no confidence vote exists in Lesotho’s constitution. But the PM and his security agencies questioned this. They claim the move by the members of the opposition to dethrone the government was a coup attempt.
The drama began when an MP from the ruling Revolution for Prosperity (RFP), Thabo Moea MP, sought an order from the High Court to delay the motion of no confidence against the Prime Minister until after the completion of the reforms process.
The opposition contests that the prayer by Moea stifles a democratic process for self-serving ends. Subsequently, the Speaker cited this impending case to defer the matter.
The constitution of Lesotho stipulates that the legislature is to pass laws, the executive is to approve and execute them, and the judiciary is to expound and enforce them. But a scholar, Nwafor, claims that the courts in Lesotho often intrude into the functions of the other arms of government.
Lesotho ‘s constitution confers powers on three arms of government in such a manner as would ensure cooperation and coordination in governance. The courts ought to bear in mind that the effective discharge of the responsibilities of the courts largely depends on the effectiveness of the other arms of government.
Nwafor brings up the issue of encroachment. He asserts that the powers of the different arms of government in such a manner would guarantee a coordinated discharge of government responsibilities to the nation. But, parliament overly relies on the courts to make political decisions. The practice encourages the risk of overreaching.
The PR electoral system denies Basotho the right to choose their representatives among contenders for political office. Instead, parties ‘hand pick’ these representatives in the pretext of the constituency elections outcomes. Often, these PR members are the ones who lost their constituency elections.
These are the politicians whose constituencies rejected them. They represent their parties and not the voters. They do not account to the voters.
Both the PM and the opposition made presentations to SADC. They overlooked the electorate. Why would SADC have power and not the electorate that elected the politicians to office? Running to SADC, an outside organisation, to settle Lesotho’s internal problems is not a solution. It is scoring an own goal. Lesotho, with its 57 years of independence, should be able to solve its internal problems.
Nonetheless, I have a completely different take from Mokhothu on the issue of the protest march by the RFP. It is unimportant to find the instigator of the protest march. The people to persuade are the voters, the people who put governments into power in a democracy, not external bodies such as SADC.
Napoleon Hill’s creed reads: ‘Every adversity brings a seed of equivalent or more benefit’. Any business person knows that business is a solution to an economic problem. So, the PM and his colleagues in his party who are business people must look at the adversity emanating from the opposition as a seed of equivalent or better benefit.
The government must dig deep to find how the problem may benefit them.
They must identify their failures and use them as stepping stones to success.
Elsewhere, I presented the views of an American scholar and activist, Anderson, who suggested that marginalised communities must cease granting candidates blank cheques. Instead, the electorate must draw their expectations and demand the campaigning party or candidate promise to meet them.
This practice is called quid pro quo. It enforces accountability and transparency.
You scratch my back, and I scratch yours. Quid pro quo is an example of one of the universal laws that demonstrate reciprocity. Reciprocity is the practice of exchanging things with others for mutual benefit. The universal law is the Law of Cause and Effect. It means that for every effect, there is an equal cause. You plant a seed, so shall you reap.
Both the government and the opposition ran to SADC for help. Remember, Matekane is a successful businessman. He has, on more than one occasion, explained that he wanted to use his prowess in business to take Lesotho forward. As a businessman, Matekane has faith in his ability.
Words that come to mind here include self-confidence and trust in himself. He believes in himself. Running to SADC does not display this faith in his ability to deal with problems emanating from his opposition.
Hill argues that riches, or any form of success and achievement, begin with a thought. Faith removes limitations. Matekane must apply his faith as a businessman to become a successful politician.
To summarise, the article explores the events emanating from the fiasco of the no-confidence motion. The individuals who ought to champion constitutional democracy in Lesotho betrayed Basotho by scoring hordes of own goals.
I explored the meaning of concepts that helped me unpack some of these own goals. These were democracy, faith and desire. Also, I coupled these with scholarly research views on the constitution of Lesotho.
I contest that while the opposition may argue that they are within their rights to ruffle the government, the PM must use different tactics. He must display faith and confidence in himself and trust Basotho.
The move to influence the voters to back him deserves a big WOW! He must hold more campaigns to persuade voters to support his government. Voters may make or break him.
MPs waste time in discussing trivial issues that have no bearing on the national agenda. Often, they focus on self-serving matters. The RFP promised to refocus Lesotho towards national development and improving the quality of life.
The article also shows that the PR system does not benefit Lesotho. It diminishes accountability and the principle of quid pro quo. Also, it ballooned the numbers in parliament unnecessarily. It increased political instability by forging formations of coalition.
Politicians must refrain from abusing the judiciary by making them make political decisions. Involving the courts in making political decisions leads to encroachment. Encroachment defies democracy.
In conclusion, Matekane must not allow his detractors to derail his mandate. The same is true for the opposition leaders who attempt to dethrone him. No party campaigned on removing sitting PMs.
Also, the MPs must take the responsibilities that Basotho entrusted them with. It is high time that they make the political decisions instead of shifting them to the judiciary or external bodies.
Matekane, his business associates and technocrats in his government should revisit attributes that made them successful. One such attribute is their faith in their abilities. They must remember that riches (and success) begin with a thought, and faith removes limitations.
Dr Tholang Maqutu
Painting mood effectively
Writing is not different from beautiful artwork. Just like a skilled painter holding a brush with its broad strokes, the writer occupies the same place and vocation in life. Writing is a work of painting life’s experiences, its hues and beautiful unfolding internal journeys. In this piece we focus on mood and how it can be achieved. Many students struggle with understanding and contemplating the scope and ambit of mood in writing.
It is hard to define and frame the scope of mood in writing. What really constitutes mood? Generally, mood encapsulates the totality of the “air” or “spirit” or “aura” that a certain work of art evokes in the human mind, feeling or sensibility. There is a certain dominant feature or streak associated with a certain work of art, place or person.
There is something which is evoked in our hearts which is associated with a certain place, person or event. Every place or event or person carries or imbues with him or her a certain mood or sensibility; and there is a panorama of sensibilities; for instance, a happy or sombre or whimsical mood. We will now focus on a certain extract and discern how it paints mood.
“He quickly rights himself and keeps walking, but there is an unsteadiness to his knees. He has been given many looks in this quarter – dirty ones, blank ones, sympathetic ones, annoyed ones. For the most part, he had learned to tolerate those than can be tolerated, and ignore those that should be ignored, but the look this woman gave him is not a look one gives to humans but to flies, ticks, cockroaches, fleas…Thato feels anger, then humiliation, then something nameless. If he were in his own country he would turn and confront the woman; but now he’s hurt, wounded, a part of him wishing he were invisible. Breathing evenly, he walks with care, only lifting his eyes once he reaches his own quarters, among his own people. He proceeds to his shack. He could stop by Thapelo’s, his neighbour, where he knows that men and women are already congregated to watch videos from home. Yet, no matter the promise of good fellowship and laughter, Thabo does not join them. Watching videos is a form of forgetting; the 2008 elections, the police with batons, the soldiers with guns, the militia with machetes. Do you remember? Limbs broken. Roofs blazing. I remember.”
This extract is characterised by the intensity of feeling and evokes feelings of sadness, despair and pain. The excerpt paints a harrowing and blood-curdling account which produces a sombre, dull and subdued mood. Thato, the protagonist in the story is in a foreign land. He was impelled to leave his country as a result of political violence which saw many people lose limbs and lives. He feels lonely and unwanted in the foreign land. He feels lost and alienated.
There are sentiments of xenophobia expressed through the glances of citizens of the foreign country he is in. Even if he were to entertain himself together with his countrymen residing in that foreign land, Thato still felt a deep and nagging feeling of being an outcast. Thus, we have made very deep and broad descriptions of the circumstances in which the protagonist finds himself with a view to demonstrate how mood is created in a narrative. The creation of mood feeds into the description of the character’s circumstances, his mindset and the space and place in which he finds himself.
Mood, as we have demonstrated from the portrayal of Thato’s experience, has a link with pathos. Pathos is that streak of sadness which pervades a story and creates empathy in the reader. The aim of effective writing is to move the reader and to impel him towards certain sensibilities which are of an affective kind. Mood, when effectively created, allows the reader to grasp meaning which is not directly said in the story or composition.
Meaning in a story is an interaction between the words in a text as read together with the effect of the words, the tone used and the created mood. There are certain words in a text which do not just communicate, but etches in the reader’s mind certain thoughts, viewpoints and feelings. These words would be so evocative. One such word describes Thato’s deepest sense of alienation in the extract given above.
The word describes him as nursing a wish of invisibility, he felt or wished he were ‘invisible.’ His wish for invisibility is of great importance. It portrays how he was deeply affected by the loathing expressed in the eyes of those looking at him with hate and disdain.
So, here we are! Creating a mood is a craft which takes time to acquire and hone. But when achieved, it makes effective reading and allows the reader to get meaning which goes beyond the text.
Vuso Mhlanga teaches at the University of Zimbabwe. For almost a decade and half he taught English language and Literature in English at high school. Send your comments and questions to: email@example.com
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