‘To­gether we can’

Lesotho Times - - Scrutator - scru­ta­tor266@gmail.com

Un­less you have just landed from planet Pluto, you must by now know that only two out­comes are pos­si­ble from the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 snap elec­tions and both in­volve an­other coali­tion ar­range­ment.

The first is the very pos­si­ble­si­ble re­turn of Pakalitha Bethuel Mo­sisili (Mr size Two) and his Demo­cratic mo­cratic Congress (DC), in coali­tion with the le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy moc­racy (LCD) and the plethora of other congress par­ties that willl scrap some par­lia­men­tary seats (mainly pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tionn (PR) seats).

The sec­ond is that Thomas as Tha­bane (Cy­clone Tom) stays inn power, with his All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion­nven­tion (ABC) in al­liance with thehe Ba­sotho na­tional Party ( BNP),np), the Re­formed Congress of le­sotho (RCL), plus a few other hus­band and wife par­ties like the Pop­u­lar Front for Democ­racy (PFD) that may also scrap some PR seats.

ei­ther way, we are guar­an­teed an­other coali­tion govern­ment af­ter 28 Fe­bru­ary. Bar­ring a ma­jor po­lit­i­cal earth­quake, none of the two big­gest par­ties, the ABC or DC, will in­di­vid­u­ally mas­ter the 61 seats re­quired to form a govern­ment. there was no way Mr size Two could

If there is any­one out there who have pulled an­other leabua trick se­ri­ously be­lieves that Methotjoa from and got­ten away with it. Mets­ing (Mr Marsh­mal­low) and his But ev­ery­one also knows that deLCD will win enough votes to lead spite all the at­tempts at im­prov­ing, a coali­tion, then such a per­son is the Big Men syndrome re­mains Afliv­ing in a par­al­lel uni­verse. such a rica’s big­gest blight. These ubiquiper­son will be­lieve it if I told them tous Big Men will kill, rape, torture that I, scru­ta­tor, am also the Pope. and steal elec­tions with­out the mi

nutest sense of shame.

This is not to com­pletely rule out Mr Marsh­mal­low none­the­less. His party may get enough seats to jus­tify his re­main­ing as deputy prime min­is­ter in a Dc-led coali­tion. even though politi­cians are gen­er­ally crass pros­ti­tutes and their al­le­giances change as of­ten as we change un­der­wear, I frankly don’t see any pos­si­ble re­turn of Mets­ing as a deputy to Tha­bane. At least not af­ter this elec­tion.

It is against this back­ground that I am de­vot­ing this week’s col­umn to analysing the strengths and weak­nesses of each of these two men (Tha­bane and Mo­sisili) who are likely to emerge as prime min­is­ter and the traits they seem to have in com­mon.

Most of you know the re­spec­tive strengths and weak­nesses of both Mr size Two and Cy­clone Tom.

You are just too scared to de­bate them hon­estly. some sim­ply wait for scru­ta­tor to lead the way. I am happy to do that. At the end of my anal­y­sis, I am go­ing to sug­gest what I think is the best case sce­nario for the coun­try af­ter 28 Fe­bru­ary.

It may not be a fea­si­ble sce­nario but I think it’s the best. so please hold your breath. This anal­y­sis is not meant to de­cide for you who you must vote for. ex­er­cise your right to vote in terms of your con­science.

I have made this point be­fore. I will re­peat it now and in the fu­ture.

Mo­sisili’s great­est strength is his em­brace of democ­racy as ex­em­pli­fied by his de­ci­sion to pass on the ba­ton peace­fully af­ter fail­ing to forge a coali­tion af­ter the May 2012 elec­tions.

Af­ter win­ning the most seats in 2012, Mo­sisili could have used ev­ery trick to cling on. We saw it in 1970 with leabua Jonathan. In­stead of ac­cept­ing de­feat and hand­ing over to the Ba­sotholand Congress Party (BCP), Jonathan nul­li­fied the elec­tions, de­clared a na­tional state of emer­gency, sus­pended the con­sti­tu­tion, dis­solved Par­lia­ment and plunged the King­dom into cri­sis un­til Justin lekhanya came to the res­cue in 1986.

For­tu­nately, the late Jonathan’s Ba­sotho na­tional Party (BNP) is now un­der­go­ing a rapid resur­gence un­der the ste­ward­ship of Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane and Joang Mo­lapo.

One can ar­gue that in this age of African re­newal and the Thabo Mbeki-in­spired NEPAD project,

The 91-year old sav­age crim­i­nal in Zim­babwe re­mains the best ex­am­ple. Also wit­ness the re­cent de­vel­op­ments in the DRC, where dozens have died in protests against Joseph Ka­bila’s at­tempts to ex­tend his ten­ure and Blaise Cam­paore’s shenani­gans in Burk­ina Faso, for proof that tol­er­ance re­mains a scarce com­mod­ity in Africa’s pol­i­tics.

The 2009 at­tempt to kill Mo­sisili by a group of ban­dits led by ex-army of­fi­cer, the late Mako­toko Lerotholi, was a das­tardly act. Mo­sisili could have used it as an ex­cuse to go af­ter his op­po­nents. Moreso, con­sid­er­ing lerotholi was an ABC man. Mr size Two kept his cool and al­lowed the nor­mal le­gal process to un­fold against the ar­rested cul­prits.

In a nut­shell, Mo­sisili is a tol­er­ant politi­cian. That partly ex­plains why, dur­ing his en­tire 15-year ten­ure, he also man­aged to hold the King­dom in rel­a­tive peace and sta­bil­ity. His ges­ture in en­abling a peace­ful tran­si­tion in 2012 cat­a­pulted le­sotho into a ma­ture democ­racy then, be­fore the small time ter­ror­ist trashed all that on 30 Au­gust 2014.

Con­sid­er­ing our his­tory of in­sta­bil­ity Mr size Two set an im­por­tant prece­dent in 2012. Will Tha­bane up­hold that prece­dent if he loses next satur­day? let’s wait and see.

De­spite these ob­vi­ous strengths, Mr size Two is a man of many weak­nesses.

Dur­ing his ten­ure, cor­rup­tion grew to in­dus­trial lev­els with lit­tle or no ac­tion to com­bat it. In fact, it was Mo­sisili’s cab­i­net that al­lowed poor Ba­sotho tax­pay­ers to be nikuved. It re­mains a mys­tery why Mr size Two him­self was never brought to ac­count over the award of a lu­cra­tive deal to print pass­ports and iden­tity doc­u­ments to the so called nikuv In­ter­na­tional Projects with­out a com­pet­i­tive bid­ding process.

There can be no greater de­ter­rent to cor­rup­tion than the knowl­edge by pub­lic ser­vants that if they steal, they will def­i­nitely be in­ves­ti­gated, ar­rested and pos­si­bly jailed. All those who stole un­der Mo­sisili’s ten­ure did so know­ing that they will ul­ti­mately get away with it be­cause he paid lip ser­vice to graft.

like with most other politi­cians, Mo­sisili’s ap­point­ments were never based on merit but po­lit­i­cal loy­alty.

I am not aware of any min­is­ter or pub­lic of­fi­cial who was ever fired by Mo­sisili for in­com­pe­tence, graft or theft.

When Mr Size Two fired Mets­ing, Mot­lo­h­eloa Phooko and Khotso Matla, in Jan­uary 2012, it was be­cause of pol­i­tics than any­thing else.

le­sotho re­mains a poorly in­dus­tri­alised back­wa­ter with noth­ing to show eco­nom­i­cally de­spite Mr size Two’s 15-year reign.

Mo­sisili is also a very cold and aloof politi­cian with poor re­la­tions with the me­dia. Try­ing to get an in­ter­view with Mr size Two is like pan­ning for gold in the River Thames. You are first told to sub­mit ques­tions to some of­fi­cial at DC head­quar­ters and then wait for an ap­point­ment that of­ten does not ma­te­ri­alise.

Get­ting an in­ter­view with any politi­cian should not be like try­ing to talk to Je­sus Christ. If Mo­sisili was a south African politi­cian, he would be Thabo Mbeki. They share a com­mon trait of aloof­ness that is very ir­ri­tat­ing. Mo­sisili’s fail­ure to con­demn the events of 30 Au­gust 2014 will for­ever rank among his big­gest blem­ishes. no demo­crat should ever tol­er­ate the over­throw of a demo­crat­i­cally-elected govern­ment.

en­ter Thomas Mosoa­hae Tha­bane and the ball game changes on the aloof­ness stakes. When it comes to be­ing me­dia savvy, Tha­bane is le­sotho’s own Barack Obama. Cy­clone Tom is eas­ily ap­proach­able, cour­te­ous and al­ways will­ing to ac­count for his ac­tions and en­gage the pub­lic through the me­dia. He does not make a fuss if a jour­nal­ist rings him di­rectly.

He is also a very ar­tic­u­late and hum­ble man who does not look down upon anybody. no one will dis­pute that Cy­clone Tom hit le­sotho like a tsunami. He has been the only prime min­is­ter who has taken a very se­ri­ous stance against cor­rup­tion, en­abling se­nior crooks to be in­ves­ti­gated, ar­rested and ar­raigned be­fore the courts.

His de­ci­sion to bring back Ad­vo­cate Borotho Mat­soso, the in­cor­rupt­ible anti-graft buster, at the DCEO (the Direc­torate on Cor­rup­tion and eco­nomic Of­fences) is am­ple tes­ti­mony of Tha­bane’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to root out graft.

Tha­bane has faced crit­i­cism from the LCD that he has mainly tar­geted its mem­bers. But the ques­tion is; are any of the glum men and women from the ABC who sur­round Tha­bane clever enough to steal. Me thinks oth­er­wise. Can Ntate Tlali Kasu be schem­ing enough to abuse his po­si­tion at the Mines min­istry to steal a di­a­mond. I doubt it, judg­ing by his looks.

The fact is in Cy­clone Tom we have a prime min­is­ter who has taken a tough stance against cor­rup­tion. That is good. Although he is now zoom­ing around in the lat­est lexus suvs and en­joy­ing the trap­pings of power, in­clud­ing a con­cu­bine young enough to be his grand­daugh­ter, there can be no doubt that Tha­bane re­mains a mod­est man.

There is no ev­i­dence that Tha­bane, his rel­a­tives and close friends are abus­ing the ten­der sys­tem for their ben­e­fit at the same in­dus­trial scales as we saw dur­ing Mo­sisili’s ten­ure. There is no ev­i­dence of any prim­i­tive ac­cu­mu­la­tion by Tha­bane him­self to se­cure his com­fort when he bows out of power.

Tha­bane is the first African politi­cian I know to be trig­ger happy to fire min­is­ters or of­fi­cials for graft, in­com­pe­tence and for what­ever rea­son. That’s a ma­jor strength of his. Dur­ing his short two-year ten­ure, Cy­clone Tom has fired more peo­ple for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons than Mo­sisili ever did in 15 years.

Tha­bane’s nick­name of Cy­clone Tom is well de­served. Tol­er­at­ing non-per­form­ers and cor­rupt politi­cians and of­fi­cials in ex­change of their loy­alty is one of the big­gest blem­ishes of many African lead­ers.

Tha­bane has none­the­less been dif­fer­ent and a breath of fresh air.

But that’s also where Tha­bane’s ma­jor weak­nesses be­gin. You can­not just fire peo­ple for the sake of it, or fire peo­ple with­out ex­plain­ing why you are fir­ing them. How do you ex­pect them to learn from their mis­takes and im­prove if you don’t ex­plain why you are fir­ing them as we saw in Mophato Monyake’s one line dis­missal let­ter.

I some­times imag­ine that Tha­bane wakes up early in the morn­ing af­ter a good night with li­a­biloe and, af­ter giv­ing his young wife a good morn­ing kiss, then whis­pers into her ear; “sweetie my hands are itch­ing to fire some­one to­day….”

Cy­clone Tom then takes a shower, puts on his suit and en­ters the kitchen and tells the cook, “you are fired”. He then walks into the yard and tells the gar­den boy, “you are fired”, be­fore pro­ceed­ing to the guy wash­ing his car and telling him the same. It would be fine if it all ended there. It then be­comes a prob­lem if Tha­bane pro­ceeds to the of­fice of the direc­tor of pub­lic pros­e­cu­tions and equally an­nounces to him, “you are fired”.

And then tracks the at­tor­ney­gen­eral who might be at a busi­ness meet­ing at a restau­rant to tell him; “you are fired”, be­fore look­ing for a prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary to fire. All in the same day.

Much as it is good to have a prime min­is­ter who does not care about loy­alty but ac­tu­ally fires peo­ple, it be­comes a prob­lem if such fir­ings are whim­si­cal. I have of­ten been at sea over the rea­sons be­hind some of Tha­bane’s fir­ings. Af­ter these fir­ings, it seems Tha­bane re­mains with no clue about what to do next to get this coun­try for­ward.

He then con­tem­plates and im­ple­ments more fir­ings. Af­ter three years as premier, I am still strug­gling to pin down Tha­bane’s vi­sion for this coun­try. If Tha­bane was a south African politi­cian and could sing, dance and be a phi­lan­derer, he would be Ja­cob Zuma. I equally strug­gle to un­der­stand Zuma’s vi­sion for south Africa. Hav­ing served in just about ev­ery govern­ment in le­sotho since 1966 and with such vast po­lit­i­cal and ad­min­is­tra­tive ex­pe­ri­ence, one would ex­pect much more from Tha­bane. Yet af­ter fir­ing peo­ple, he sits like a man with­out a clue about what to do next. He then fires more.

Tha­bane and Mo­sisili of course share com­mon traits. They both have a pen­chant for po­lit­i­cal slo­gans like “grow­ing the econ­omy”, “erad­i­cat­ing poverty”, “im­prov­ing ed­u­ca­tion and health”, “creat­ing jobs” with­out ar­tic­u­lat­ing any re­al­is­tic strate­gies to achieve these noble ob­jec­tives. Both men are in their 70s.

Both men are hand­some. On this point, I will put my head on the para­pet and be bi­ased by declar­ing that Tha­bane is more hand­some and sexy than Mo­sisili. I think it’s Tha­bane’s sex­i­ness that drove him to ap­point an equally hand­some spokesman, Thabo Thakalekoala. Imag­ine pol­i­tics with­out these hand­some faces.

It would be like Zim­babwe with­out their celebrity face, Wil­liam Masv­inu (see the above pics). I re­cently spent a week on a jour­nal­ism course in Zim­babwe and each time Masv­inu’s pic­ture donned the tele­vi­sion screen, ev­ery­one in the fam­ily I lived with smiled broadly.

I sali­vate when­ever Tha­bane or Thakalekoala’s faces ar­don my TV screen,

This leads me into what I think is the best case sce­nario for the coun­try. The Bnp’s ‘Maserib­ane will not be prime min­is­ter him­self. But his party’s tagline “To­gether we can” is, in my view, the ul­ti­mate an­swer to le­sotho’s prob­lems and pro­vides the most fea­si­ble so­lu­tion to sta­bilise this coun­try af­ter 28 Fe­bru­ary.

I give ku­dos to ‘Maserib­ane and Mo­lapo for carv­ing out the most in­no­va­tive and in­spir­ing tagline of the cur­rent cam­paign. If we all em­brace it as Ba­sotho, then we will have a coali­tion govern­ment con­sist­ing of both Tha­bane and Mo­sisili with ei­ther man pre­pared to serve un­der the other de­pend­ing on who wins the most seats for the sake of this coun­try.

Tha­bane can rope in his al­lies from the BNP and RCL, which I ex­pect to scrap some seats, while Mo­sisili brings in his al­lies from the LCD and other congress par­ties. The fo­cus of such a broad­based coali­tion govern­ment should then be on good gov­er­nance. A govern­ment ex­clud­ing one of these two top men is likely to guar­an­tee us more strife at the ex­pense of na­tional devel­op­ment.

Con­sid­er­ing the jibes and brick­bats they have been throw­ing at each other, I ad­mit I am be­ing too am­bi­tious in imag­in­ing a Tha­bane/ Mo­sisili coali­tion. That, of course does not de­tract from the fact, con­sid­er­ing all the strife we have en­dured since Au­gust 30 2014, this will be the best case sce­nario for the coun­try. Re­mem­ber scru­ta­tor’s God given wis­dom can all be ig­nored to a na­tion’s peril.


From left: DC leader Pakalitha mo­sisili, Prime min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane, Prime min­is­ter’s Spokesper­son Thabo Thakalekoala and Wil­liam masv­inu

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