A dog’s breakfast . . .
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.
PD leader Mophato Monyake.
kanda Bongo Man