Basotho need to choose great minds
THE Mountain Kingdom will again go into elections two years after having gone through the same process in 2012.
The crisis over majority rule that became apparent in the 2012 elections sparked great trouble for the Kingdom. The elections failed to produce a clear winner and made a few groups attempt to form a government that, within a space of one-and-a-half years, failed the people of Lesotho completely.
A coup attempt ostensibly to remove the problem causers was made. In the end, big brother South Africa and SADC intervened quickly to quell the fire.
The three coalition partners who had agreed to establish a government could not meet and face each other as they had done when they defeated the Democratic Congress (DC) led by former premier, Pakalitha Mosisili.
It is likely that some among the three who formed the coalition — Thomas Thabane, Mothetjoa Metsing and Thesele ‘Maseribane of the All Basotho Convention, Lesotho Congress for Democracy and Basotho National Party respectively — failed to stick to the rules of engagement hence the squabble and failure of the government.
This statement, however, is assisting the people of Lesotho to be more conscious and rational on the way they decide to choose their future leaders.
First of all, Basotho must know that the coalition government that was instituted after the general elections of 2012 has wasted precious time for the citizens and the Kingdom.
Basotho were looking forward to the coalition leaders putting their personal interests aside and uplifting the lives and infrastructure development of the citizens of the Kingdom.
However, disappointingly Lesotho as a country and its people became the losers while the three leaders were still on the payroll and enjoying government benefits.
It is for this reason that I appeal to the people of Lesotho to be cautious and lucid in the way they exercise their voting rights on 28 February 2015.
African states are hungry for human and infrastructure development. They aspire for selfless leaders, and are yearning for great minds who think beyond selfish and personal gains.
Lesotho is endowed with natural resources, and is the sole supplier of water to South Africa. Water is a resource that does not need to be produced but is a natural blessing from the Creator. Lesotho is also among nations producing high value diamonds with a single stone with 198-carats that costs millions of dollars.
It is, thus, disconcerting to see the Kingdom’s subjects languishing in poverty and the infrastructure deteriorating as if it does not have leaders. A Kingdom that is 30 355 square kilometres, the size of some national parks with a meagre population equal to that of some townships in Africa, our poverty must worry the citizens especially the youths looking at their future.
I sincerely believe that the resources at this country’s disposal can transform the lives of its impoverished citizens. Because of the shortsightedness of some of our leaders, the political fights are more to do with the fight for control of resources than anything else.
If our politicians are not seeking personal gain, why is it that we bicker so much for a nation for a people who speak one language?
We are not like Namibia whose 13 regions speak 13 languages including Afrikaans that has dominated as the official language in the country. Why then is it so difficult for Basotho, who are one people, to understand each other?
If their main objective was to serve the people and the nation wouldn’t the three leaders have reached a consensus?
This should be worrying for all citizens of the continent, for a Kingdom to conduct two elections in the space of two years one can sense the seriousness of the differences between the three leaders.
However, I urge the three leaders not to take the citizens for granted. You can fool some people sometimes but you can never fool all the people all the time; this is a prophecy that is coming to pass in Lesotho.
To the citizens of the Kingdom, I appeal to you all to go and exercise your birth right to vote. But go with enlightened and upright minds. Do not just go and vote for leaders, go and choose people of great minds.
This Kingdom is looking for great minds and not just leaders. There is a precedent that needs to be set, there is a legacy that has to be preserved, there is past that has the future, there is greatness in the Kingdom.
There is need for leaders of great minds that must return Lesotho to its original image and prominence.
Do not just vote. Look around and analyse the present Lesotho, the past Lesotho and envision the Lesotho of tomorrow - then go and vote.
Towns and districts are being forgotten, roads and infrastructure development are restricted to the areas where the leaders are from; what about the majority one million citizens from Butha Buthe, Mokhotlong, Leribe, Pitseng, Ha-morapo, Mohaleshoek, Mafeteng, Thaba Tseka?
If these towns are rotting and dilapidating what about the rural areas of Qhola-qhoe, Peka, Teyateyaneng, Mapoteng, Matelile and outskirts of the remotest areas like Semonkong?
Basotho politicians must be ashamed over their conduct with regards to the wellbeing of the Kingdom’s citizens.
Two wrongs do not make a right. If past leaders were wrong why can’t the new leaders change the story of the nation?
The leaders that will be chosen in February should look beyond their personal interests and do right by the country and its people.
You are leaders that are on the forefront peripatetic in SADC summits in major cities of the region, you see with your eyes what other states are struggling to do with development despite their large population but they are refurbishing and rebuilding with decorations their towns, cities and rural areas.
You are financially abled figures if you cannot go because of AU summits or SADC conferences you manage to go for leisure with your families or mistresses; you see how your sister countries are trying their best to develop their states apart from corruption and embezzlement of public funds - but they facelift their nations.
Mountainous as it is, Lesotho has only one road that stretches from the Maseru to Mokhotlong, the same goes from the capital southwards.
This road was supposed to be transformed into a highway because it is the only one. Make it a dual lane or dual carriageway from the south to the north.
Unlike other countries where their N1 road stretches from Musina in Limpopo to Cape Alguas at the extreme South of Cape town which is over 2000 kilometers.
From Luderitz to Katima Mulilo in Namibia stretches up to 2200 kilometers. From Lubumbashi to the border of Burundi is over 3000kms but they bituminize and seal potholes.
Some of these states are struggling with population growth of over 50 million but this Kingdom is having only one million citizens and a road network of approximately 280kms.
We are tempted to ask where the money is from the taxes and diamond sales. Where does the money South Africa pays the Kingdom for water go and what does it do to the people and the Kingdom?
All these questions must be in the heads and minds of Basotho citizens as they queue next month to go and choose their new leaders.
African citizens are warned that there is no any other place that is sweet more than home. If development is coming to our door step, the word “Home Sweet Home” will have a meaning.
For this word to make a mark it is for governments and our leaders to utilise the rich resources we have in the continent to develop each and every part of the continent.
We need the best roads, infrastructure, towns, villages, hospitals, schools, recreation centers, houses, playgrounds, stadiums, food, medicines in hospitals, structures of buildings not the ones in Teyateyaneng that makes the town look ghostly. We need modern life because we have the resources that fit for modern development.
Lesotho must bury the tradition of coup d’états and embrace democracy. SADC must do its best to instill in the Lesotho Defense Force (LDF) a discipline that is neutral to politics.
The LDF is a professional army with a good track record all over the world. It has participated in different activities starting from the UN peacekeeping missions to AU peace making assignments. It needs to remain professional like that and leave politics to politicians. The Sovereignty of the Kingdom is their mandate and the security of its citizens.
Let the new Lesotho that will be born in February be a different, modern and adorable one.
States of South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Botswana just concluded their peaceful and credible elections, we wish you our other Kingdom in the region a peaceful and credible elections too.
A happy people, free people, open people have all the rights and hope for the better future.
In your own domain you say “Khotso” “Pula” “Nala” which literally means Peace, Rain and Prosperity.
These “three Sacred Doctrines” have meaning if all the citizens are united towards common cause and hope for the better. Lesotho was born for a reason she has to be preserved, protected, developed and uplifted.
ERSTWHILE coalition government partners (from left) Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, and Sports Minister Thesele ‘Maseribane.