Ba­sotho need to choose great minds

Lesotho Times - - Opinion & Analysis - Saun­ders Jumah

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.

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