A dog’s break­fast . . .

Lesotho Times - - Scrutator -

t HIS Satur­day is a mo­men­tous day. not only are we headed to the polls to bury the tom and Jerry coali­tion gov­ern­ment that had be­come an un­bear­able al­ba­tross around our King­dom’s neck, we do so bear­ing heavy in­di­vid­ual and col­lec­tive re­spon­si­bil­ity to en­sure that we don’t give life to an­other Looney tunes coali­tion ar­range­ment.

this, we can only achieve if we go to vote in droves and hope to pro­duce one clear win­ner with an unas­sail­able man­date to gov­ern. this would have been much eas­ier if we had fewer po­lit­i­cal par­ties and a sim­ple elec­toral sys­tem.

as I have ar­gued be­fore, and as I will re­peat again now, the tragedy of Le­sotho is that pol­i­tics here is a pro­fes­sion for all and sundry. It is seen as the eas­i­est source of living and gate­way to wealth.

Con­se­quently, a small coun­try of less than two mil­lion peo­ple, of which the ma­jor­ity are chil­dren, will have 24 po­lit­i­cal par­ties con­test­ing for a slice of the po­lit­i­cal cake on Satur­day.

Only two par­ties con­test elec­tions in the united States, the wealth­i­est coun­try in the world, with a pop­u­la­tion of more than 370 mil­lion.

Equally, not more than five par­ties con­test elec­tions in the united King­dom, the sixth largest econ­omy in the world with a pop­u­la­tion of more than 70 mil­lion.

En­ter Le­sotho and every­body wants to be their own prime min­is­ter.

there would be noth­ing wrong with that in prin­ci­ple were it not for the fact that most of th­ese un­cle/ nephew po­lit­i­cal par­ties only ex­ist to foster quan­tity and not qual­ity onto our po­lit­i­cal land­scape.

thanks to our very gen­er­ous elec­toral sys­tem, sev­eral of th­ese un­cle/ nephew par­ties will scrap some seats in Par­lia­ment. In­stead of achiev­ing demo­cratic di­ver­sity and qual­i­ta­tive de­bate, we end up with first class con­fu­sion and end­less quar­rel­ing.

Judg­ing by the size­able crowds at the Demo­cratic Congress (DC) and all Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) ral­lies, it seems this will be a tightly con­tested elec­tion. an­other coali­tion is thus likely, un­for­tu­nately.

But let this be a coali­tion of like­minded po­lit­i­cal pro­tag­o­nists and not a coali­tion of po­lit­i­cal con­ve­nience like the one we are bury­ing on Satur­day.

My ad­vice on achiev­ing this is for ev­ery voter to ig­nore time-wasters and fo­cus on a party with ei­ther a cred­i­ble chance of win­ning the polls or of at least mak­ing a pos­i­tive im­pres­sion by win­ning a size­able num­ber of seats.

If we fol­low this cri­te­ria, we should then whit­tle down Satur­day’s 24 party con­test to one com­pris­ing of only se­ri­ous con­tenders, the ABC, DC, the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD), the Ba­sotho na­tional Party (BNP), and to an ex­tent the Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (RCL). We cut off all the pre­tenders.

Can any­one out there tell me any ben­e­fit of cast­ing a bal­lot for some­thing called the White-horse Party (WHP), the Sankatana So­cial Democ­racy (SSD), the Hamore Demo­cratic Party, the Lekhotla La Mekhoa Le Meetlo, Mophato Monyake’s so-called Pro­gres­sive Democrats or any of the other hus­band and wife par­ties ap­pear­ing on Satur­day’s bal­lots.

What’s the ben­e­fit in wast­ing your vote on a party with no chance in hell of win­ning power but only scrap­ping a few PR seats? the re­sult of wast­ing your vote on th­ese use­less par­ties is to di­min­ish the chances of pro­duc­ing a clear win­ner to as­sume the man­tle to gov­ern with­out be­ing shack­led by the in­tri­cate com­pro­mises re­quired of a coali­tion.

Re­mem­ber, we are in this sit­u­a­tion to­day be­cause the 2012 polls did not pro­duce a clear win­ner. Giv­ing the man­date to gov­ern to one party makes it eas­ier to hold it accountable to its in­evitable mis­gov­er­nance than a coali­tion of par­ties.

Hard as it may seem, let’s try and aim to pro­duce a clear win­ner in this elec­tion. If there be a coali­tion, let it be be­tween ei­ther the ABC/ BNP/RCL nexus or the DC/LCD al­liance.

I men­tioned Monyake by name above be­cause sev­eral peo­ple pur­port­ing to be his sup­port­ers wrote to me ask­ing why I had not cri­tiqued the Pro­gres­sive Democrats (PD)’S man­i­festo as I had done with other par­ties.

Out of po­lite­ness, I replied to one of the mails say­ing I couldn’t be­cause there are just too many par­ties con­test­ing and I had to pick those I feel are likely to fare bet­ter in the polls. I re­frained from di­rectly con­demn­ing the PD as a hus­band/con­cu­bine po­lit­i­cal party. But that’s what ex­actly it is.

Ihad the good mis­for­tune of at­tend­ing Monyake’s launch “rally” at the Pitso grounds. In at­ten­dance were the for­mer cabi­net’s min­is­ter’s el­derly par­ents, his three neph­ews and two aunts. a hand­ful of other cu­ri­ous on­look­ers were in at­ten­dance. I saw noth­ing to sug­gest that th­ese other on­look­ers, not num­ber­ing more than 20, were in at­ten­dance to lis­ten to Monyake.

they seem to have at­tended out of cu­rios­ity of the colour­ful blue and yel­low party re­galia Monyake was wear­ing. Sud­denly it ap­peared like Le­sotho had pro­duced its own ver­sion of Kanda Bongo Man or Pepe Kalle, those colour­ful Zairean kwasa kwasa mu­si­cians known for their sug­ges­tive twerk­ing dance moves.

When it be­came clear that Monyake was not bring­ing in any mu­sic in­stru­ments to play Rhumba mu­sic but was at Pitso to launch a po­lit­i­cal party, the hand­ful of peo­ple present dis­persed leav­ing Monyake to ad­dress his own par­ents. Even the neph­ews seemed dispir­ited and left.

to then say Scru­ta­tor should thus pay at­ten­tion to the man­i­festo of such a friv­o­lous po­lit­i­cal party is be­ing un­kind to me. Why un­der­es­ti­mate me to such highly dis­re­spect­ful lev­els? Why ex­pect me to waste my time on ev­ery tsepo, tsepiso and tsep­ang po­lit­i­cal party that ex­ists in this coun­try.

I, of course, com­mented on Monyake’s party when he launched it be­cause the sym­bol it used then, akin to rais­ing the mid­dle fin­ger at vot­ers, was too hi- lar­i­ous to ig­nore.

For­tu­nately, Monyake heeded my ad­vice and I see that he has now cho­sen a bet­ter but sim­i­larly bizarre sym­bol of a rocket tak­ing off from earth to a planet in outer space.

I wish this could be a real rocket so that Monyake can in­vite his other col­leagues lead­ing equally inane po­lit­i­cal par­ties and take off to Mars never to re­turn again to con­fuse our po­lit­i­cal arena.

Monyake will, of course, not ad­mit that he acted on my ad­vice. He has been telling any­one who cares to lis­ten that he dropped the mid­dle fin­ger sym­bol be­cause it was al­most sim­i­lar to that of the BNP.

there were never any similarities how­ever. the Bnp’s victory sym­bol (two raised fin­gers) has never been of­fen­sive.

Those who have send me a flood of other emails ac­cus­ing me of only cri­tiquing the DC man­i­festo and not do­ing the same to other ma­jor par­ties are ei­ther clearly con­fused or sim­ply be­ing mis­chievous. I started by cri­tiquing the DC man­i­festo be­cause it was the first to be dis­trib­uted pub­licly and widely.

When I fi­nally got the re­main­ing man­i­festos of the other ma­jor par­ties, I cri­tiqued them in Is­sue 45 of the Le­sotho Times.

I have al­ready ex­plained above why I could not be both­ered with the rest of the other hus­band/con­cu­bine par­ties con­test­ing on Satur­day. to ac­cuse me of bias for any party is wholly disin­gen­u­ous. there has never been and there will never be holly cows in mama Scru­ta­tor’s world.

For the avoid­ance of any doubt, I re­state my views. the man­i­festos of the ABC, DC, LCD, BNP and RCL are col­lec­tively a dog’s break­fast. none im­pressed me. For me, the real is­sue in Le­sotho that should con­sume ev­ery savvy politi­cian’s at­ten­tion is the econ­omy. It’s the econ­omy, stupid.

to bor­row from Bill Clin­ton. none of the agen­das pro­posed by th­ese par­ties con­vinced me that any of them have any real un­der­stand­ing of ba­sic eco­nomics and what is re­quired to take this coun­try of the dol­drums of poverty, squalor and penury.

I want to see Le­sotho be­ing the Kuwait of africa, or the Dubai of sub-sa­ha­ran africa. I have re­peat­edly said that a cen­tral ques­tion that any se­ri­ous man­i­festo must an­swer is: What does our coun­try have that oth­ers don’t have? Coun­tries be­come wealthy by pro­duc­ing goods and ser­vices to sell to other coun­tries.

For ex­am­ple, we have the splen­dour of the best moun­tains in africa. not a sin­gle party an­swered the ques­tion of how we can ex­ploit th­ese moun­tains to pro­duce ser­vices to earn us the hard cur­rency needed to boost our econ­omy?

he Kenyans and tan­za­ni­ans are mak­ing good out of their God-given na­tional parks. Why can’t we do the same out of what we have that many other coun­tries don’t have? Of course there were a few ex­cep­tions.

the Bnp’s eco­nomic pro­pos­als on us­ing our abun­dant wa­ter for hy­dro power sta­tions are com­mend­able .

For any­one to there­fore ac­cuse me of any bias when I made my views clear is disin­gen­u­ous.

those crit­i­ciz­ing me ei­ther missed the is­sue in which I made this cri­tique or read the pages of that par­tic­u­lar edi­tion from right to left.

Of course I am still go­ing to vote on Satur­day de­spite the unin­spir­ing agen­das of the key con­test­ing par­ties. to for­feit my right to vote is to cut my­self on the throat. I won’t do that. I also urge ev­ery Mosotho of a sound mind to go and cast their bal­lots.

In the ab­sence of any en­cour­ag­ing man­i­festos on the is­sues that I deem im­por­tant, my vote will go to a party led by a leader likely to adopt and im­ple­ment my bound­less ad­vice and wis­dom once they are in power. I will make the fi­nal de­ci­sion in the ac­tual bal­lot box as to who that leader is.

I, of course, can­not stop think­ing what’s go­ing to hap­pen af­ter the con­clu­sion of Satur­day’s polls. What will hap­pen if Mr Size two wins?

Will we see the re­turn of the small time ter­ror­ist and the con­do­na­tion of all his ac­tions.

Will we see all the crooks cur­rently in court over all man­ner of shenani­gans be­ing let off the hook? What will hap­pen if Cy­clone tom sur­vives and re­tains power? Will we see the fir­ing of vir­tu­ally ev­ery­one in gov­ern­ment by the third month af­ter he has been sworn in?

Will we see the jail­ing of the small time ter­ror­ist and hold­ing him accountable for the sense­less loss of lives in all his machi­na­tions? Only time will tell.

I also can­not help but feel pity for Ntate Marsh­mal­low Mets­ing. If I were him, I would fire all cur­rent ad­vi­sors and pos­si­bly find the best witch doc­tor around, that is as­sum­ing he in­deed has some ad­vi­sors.

Who­ever let Mr Marsh­mal­low pro­ceed with his con­sti­tu­tional case seek­ing to cen­sure banks for pro­vid­ing his bank ac­count in­for­ma­tion to cor­rup­tion-bust­ing au­thor­i­ties needs to have his/her head ex­am­ined.

How did Mets­ing think he could ever win such a case. It has be­come manda­tory for banks the world over to dis­close in­for­ma­tion about their clients if they con­duct their ac­counts in a sus­pi­cious man­ner.

When my hun­dreds of mil­lions, from the sale of my trea­sure trove of di­a­monds I dis­cov­ered while dig­ging my granny’s grave, fi­nally land in my ac­count, I am rest as­sured this will elicit a call from both my bank and the DCEO to ex­plain my source of moolah.

If there is noth­ing un­to­ward about my money, as surely there isn’t, I should be ready to go and ex­plain to ev­ery­one’s sat­is­fac­tion. You can­not be earn­ing a star­va­tion wage, like Mr Marsh­mal­low’s deputy prime min­is­te­rial salary, and then sud­denly start to re­ceive huge un­ex­plained amounts and then de­mand pri­vacy when asked to ex­plain the source of the funds.

un­der South africa’s FICA law, banks are re­quired to dis­close any sus­pi­cious amounts of money flow­ing into their clients’ ac­counts.

Such laws have be­come al­most uni­ver­sal as gov­ern­ments seek to com­bat money laun­der­ing and fund­ing for big time ter­ror­ists.

there is there­fore no pri­vacy over any bank ac­count in­for­ma­tion. How then did Mr Marsh­mal­low ex­pect the South african judges who pre­side over th­ese FICA laws and cases to rule in his favour.

Le­sotho fol­lows South african ju­di­cial rules and prece­dents. Em­ploy a good witch doc­tor for an ad­vi­sor Mr Marsh­mal­low for he/she will be bet­ter than your cur­rent han­dlers.

Ache !!!

PD leader Mophato Monyake.

kanda Bongo Man

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