We miss Mosisili’s steadying hand

We miss Mosisili’s steadying hand

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane is unfit to hold office. A Prime Minister is supposed to be fundamentally fit — intellectually, morally, temperamentally, and psychologically to hold office. For me, that is the paramount consideration in electing a Prime Minister.

That is because at some point it’s reasonable to expect that a Prime Minister will face an unexpected crisis — and at that point, the Prime Minister’s judgment and discernment, his character and leadership ability, will really matter.
Too bad for Basotho, the crisis has arrived in the form of the coronavirus pandemic. The Prime Minister and his government are unable to cope. Unfortunately even the government-in-waiting is unable to reasonably address this pandemic.

Pakalitha Mosisili came to power in the bleakest of hours of 1998. No one knew whether our country could recover from the devastating economic hit of 1998, political instability, destabilizing unemployment, deadly disease of AIDS and a city burned to ashes.
Yet, under Mosisili’s leadership, the Constitution and the market economy survived, and the tyranny and involvement of the military in politics fell. Now, in our own extraordinary moment, facing a pandemic and panic, we are desperate for the steadying hand that Mosisili offered Basotho not so very long ago.

Let me remind you of a very important event initiated by Mosisili. He submitted himself to an HIV test to launch the Know Your Status Campaign that the government of Lesotho had initiated as one of its strategies for scaling up the national response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Lesotho.
Lesotho was the first African country to initiate Universal Voluntary Counselling and Testing (UVCT), and only the second country in the world, after Brazil, to do so. That is what responsible leaders do, but our leaders today are concerned with remaining in government while others want to go into government.

In all the 15 years in power, Mosisili never used Section 91 (3) that gave him power to act on behalf of the King: “Where the King is required by this Constitution to do any act in accordance with the advice of any person or authority other than the Council of State, and the Prime Minister is satisfied that the King has not done that act, the Prime Minister may inform the King that it is the intention of the Prime Minister to do that act himself after the expiration of a period to be specified by the Prime Minister, and if at the expiration of that period the King has not done that act the Prime Minister may do that act himself and shall, at the earliest opportunity thereafter, report the matter to Parliament; and any act so done by the Prime Minister shall be deemed to have been done by the King and to be his act.”

But Prime Minister Thomas Thabane on Saturday March 21, 2020 acted on behalf of the King and prorogued Parliament.
Unfortunately, there is no such hand at this hour for Basotho. Political party leaders from the ruling parties and opposition parties are all consumed by their selfish interests to gain power. These leaders and MPs are failing to rise to the occasion as they are busy negotiating new coalitions in the mist of COVID-19. These leaders are not on a mission to preserve lives but are pre-occupied with political power.

Two weeks ago I watched a press conference where the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa  and Julius Malema, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) President, were providing leadership to the people of South Africa by acting in unison to address the COVID-19 challenge.
But in my country this past weekend, my political leaders spent the whole weekend cat fighting. Yet, we do not have a national strategy and we are still unable to test for Coronavirus.
Thabane and Deputy Prime Minister Moleleki prorogued Parliament to make sure that the amendment of the constitution falls off before it is passed in the Senate and suspend Parliament temporarily to avoid change of government. The instrument that prorogued Parliament was badly written and failed to meet the requirements of the constitution.

It was unconstitutional. Thabane has lost the power to govern. He was sabotaged in his attempt to dismiss the Police Commissioner, with a badly written letter. He has been sabotaged today by a badly written legal instrument to prorogue Parliament. Prime Minister Thabane hired people to help him with their skills in order to govern better but they are all betraying him.
The opposition Democratic Congress party called a special conference last weekend to discuss the issue of the formation of a new coalition and the ousting of Thabane. They risked the health of their own members because of their hunger for power. I seriously think the conference could wait and focus be given towards helping the government deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

All Basotho Convention MPs convened an urgent meeting on March 22, 2020 to appoint Thabane’s successor in government. I seriously think the meeting could wait and focus be given towards helping the government deal with COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday March 16, 2020 the DC had impressed me by calling off its rally to celebrate the birthdays of the founder former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and DC leader Mathibeli Mokhothu. But they shocked me when they called for a conference.

he marriage proposal between Democratic Congress, the movement I love and follow, and the All Basotho Convention is not based on addressing the needs of the masses of our people. It’s another marriage of convenience. If it was not, it would respect that our people are facing a very serious pandemic. We have a serious problem, these people we follow are busy positioning themselves at the expense of our health and safety.

These leaders were able to find a bipartisan solution when they amended the constitution to suit their political interests to remain in Parliament but they failed to drink and dine with each other and find a bipartisan solution on COVID-19.
In the meantime in South Africa a total lockdown from Thursday midnight to the 16th of April has just been announced by President Ramaphosa due to the COVID 19. This strategy is supported by major political parties and their leadership.

The Prime Minister used prorogation to force Parliament to go on a break citing COVID-19 as the cause of his action. It is clear that Thabane and Moleleki and their government intend to interpret the virus not primarily as an existential threat to Basotho, but as an existential threat to their own political power.
The Prime Minister and his coalition government are responsible for grave, costly errors, most especially the failure to have a testing centre, problems in the supply chain of protective clothing and non-compliance with government strategy.

These mistakes have left us blind and badly behind the curve, and, for a few crucial weeks, they created a false sense of security.
Who knows, maybe the coronavirus has silently spread in the past several weeks, without us being aware of it and while we were doing nothing to stop it. Containment and mitigation efforts could have significantly slowed its spread at an early, critical point, but we seem to have frittered away that opportunity.
I wish my leaders could think about us for once, put our health and safety first, and collectively do everything possible to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Political machinations, alliances, ousting and power brokering can wait for a few weeks.

Ramahooana matlosa

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