From Marsh­mal­low to King­maker

. . . and a bit of Mo­choboroane magic

Lesotho Times - - Scrutator -

Love him or hate him. You just can­not take away his now en­trenched at­tribute as the ul­ti­mate sur­vivor. He is in­deed Mr Sur­vivor. For the fore­see­able fu­ture, we will have to ac­cept and live with Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing’s now en­trenched role as the King­maker in Le­sotho’s pol­i­tics. He brought down a gov­ern­ment.

He has just given life to an­other. While Cy­clone Tom has been dis­patched to Habia, with tail firmly be­tween legs, Mets­ing gets to keep his perquisites. The more his Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) im­plodes, like its lat­est dis­mal two con­stituency seats win, the more Mets­ing’s star seems to rise. Pol­i­tics can be strange af­ter all.

even if the LCD loses the two seats in 2020 (as­sum­ing the new coali­tion lasts that far) I can bet an ounce of my flesh that Mr Sur­vivor will make it again. He will def­i­nitely be part of any post 2020 coali­tion. A caller to Har­vest FM last week de­scribed Mets­ing as a po­lit­i­cal “pros­ti­tute”. I dis­agree com­pletely. In pol­i­tics you are al­lowed to be as mer­cu­rial as you can be.

By bring­ing the cur­tain down on his coali­tion with Cy­clone Tom, Mets­ing must have known that he was tak­ing a huge risk. If Cy­clone Tom had won, as he nearly did, there is no doubt Mets­ing would have been in deep trou­ble.

The en­tire power of Cy­clone Thomas was pre­par­ing to blow him away and have him cre­mated. He took the risk, nev­er­the­less, in­stead of cos­set­ting Tom to save their trou­bled mar­riage in the hope that he would then be spared.

Last week I said Mets­ing was the big­gest win­ner of this elec­tion. He is the prover­bial cat with nine lives. I promised to find a new de­scrip­tion for him as it is no longer fair nor just to con­tinue de­scrib­ing him as a marsh­mal­low. In a na­tion where the ex­pected norm is to re­vere the monar­chy, his open dec­la­ra­tion that King Let­sie III can be sued ex­em­pli­fies a high level of guts.

Mets­ing is no more a softie-softie. I had wanted to see how he fares in the new coali­tion first be­fore af­ford­ing him a new ep­i­thet. That is not nec­es­sary. Based on the cur­rent re­al­i­ties, I think I can safely af­ford him a new la­bel; The King­maker or

The Sur­vivor. King­maker is prob­a­bly most fit­ting and more re­spect­ful. But I will use it in­ter­change­ably with Mr Sur­vivor. In fact ei­ther de­scrip­tion is more re­spectable than the Mr Marsh­mal­low la­bel which I will dis­con­tinue forth­with.

The good think in the ven­er­a­ble books of Scru­ta­tor is that ev­ery­one earn their stripes. Mets­ing has had his fair share of cen­sure in this col­umn.

But when some­one works hard to prove a point and achieves suc­cess, I am al­ways the first to ac­knowl­edge. By walk­ing away from Cy­clone Tom and agree­ing on a new elec­tion, which he was never sure to win, Mets­ing proved that he is no longer a softie or a marsh­mal­low.

He is a hard-man.

The longevity of Mr Size Two’s new coali­tion is also en­tirely de­pended on Mets­ing as the King­maker. If he gets fed up and with­draws his 12 seats, the new coali­tion ef­fec­tively col­lapses. Never rule out any­thing in the strange world of pol­i­tics.

When Mets­ing and Tha­bane were mak­ing love (not in the lit­eral sense) at Le­sotho Sun af­ter May 2012, shar­ing queen cakes over rooi­bos tea while putting the fi­nal touches to their mar­riage, no one would have pre­dicted that it would end in an ac­ri­mo­nious di­vorce a short two plus years af­ter.

I re­mem­ber bump­ing into them while they plot­ted to bury Size Two and re­mark­ing to my­self then that “this is a mar­riage made in the higher heav­ens”. What has since hap­pened be­tween the two is now his­tory.

But a sit­u­a­tion in which Mets­ing might rush back to Tha­bane and say “Ntate, I am sorry I ditched you. It has not worked with Mr Size Two. Let’s get into bed again and aim for new or­gasms ….” can­not be ruled out. What all this un­der­scores of course is Mets­ing’s in­dis­putable role as Le­sotho’s ul­ti­mate King­maker; thanks partly to our gen­er­ous elec­toral sys­tem.

The cru­cial thing for Mets­ing to now recog­nise is that his King­maker role is not only good for his pol­i­tics of sur­vival. It also comes with im­mense re­spon­si­bil­ity. The sooner the King­maker takes re­spon­si­bil­ity the bet­ter.

The courts have for in­stance dis­missed Mets­ing’s bid to halt the Dceo’s graft al­le­ga­tions against him. The King­maker can­not al­low this cloud to hang over him in­def­i­nitely. This is a mat­ter that can­not sim­ply be wished away. Scru­ta­tor and many Ba­sotho want to know the source of all that moolah that flowed into the King­maker’s ac­count. It’s not a crime in it­self to have cash flow­ing into any­body’s ac­count as long as this is accountable moolah.

The King­maker was quick to an­nounce that Direc­tor of Public Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP), Ad­vo­cate Thet­sane, is now free to have his job for as long as he wants af­ter Cy­clone Tom’s ear­lier at­tempts to drown Thet­sane down the deep oceans. Is this some at­tempt at some kind of trade off? Me thinks it was not wise for the King­maker to make such a pro­nounce­ment. Re­mem­ber not only Scru­ta­tor, but the en­tire world is watch­ing.

Me thinks the wise thing for the King­maker to do is to co­op­er­ate with the Dceo over this mat­ter fully.

If I were him, I would make a public state­ment ex­plain­ing where I got this money and clear the is­sue once and for all. I would then con­cen­trate on re­build­ing the LCD into the for­mi­da­ble force that it once was with­out a cloud hang­ing over me.

It will also be in­ter­est­ing to see how Size Two is go­ing to pro­nounce him­self on this mat­ter. It is a mat­ter that can­not sim­ply be wished away. Will Size Two say to the Dceo and other cu­ri­ous Ba­sotho; “to hell with you all. Leave my King­maker alone. He has no case to an­swer. Af­ter all his main role was to make me, which he has done.

ev­ery­thing else is use­less”. or will Mr Size Two say; “The law must take its course. If my deputy has a case to an­swer, let the law take its course. . . I as Size Two also wants to know the source of this moolah”

But more cu­ri­ously, how will the DPP tread af­ter the prom­ise that he can keep his job for as long as he wants. Re­mem­ber, there is a very fine line be­tween a ba­nana and ap­ple repub­lic. No one wants us to slip into the for­mer and it’s the han­dling of cases like this one that de­ter­mines it all.

The best way out for ev­ery­one is for the King­maker to make a public pro­nounce­ment on the mat­ter and clear his own name. even if he does not dis­close the whole truth, that ef­fort alone will go a long way to­wards com­pletely re­deem­ing him and the LCD. of course the rel­e­vant law en­force­ment au­thor­i­ties will have the fi­nal say.

But it goes with­out say­ing that were a public of­fi­cial makes the best ef­fort to be accountable on any is­sue, they win some sym­pa­thy even if they are not telling the truth.

If this is­sue is not cleared once and for all, it’s one that the now main op­po­si­tion leader , Cy­clone Tom, will al­ways seek to ex­ploit to re­store his po­lit­i­cal for­tunes.

Not all hope is lost for the LCD de­spite the poor two seats per­for­mance. It all will de­pend on how the King­maker han­dles him­self.

Just as I was im­pressed by Joang Mo­lapo and Th­e­sele Maserib­ane’s ill-fated ef­forts at re­ju­ve­nat­ing the Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP), I see a ris­ing star in the LCD. My ris­ing star there is none other than the lo­qua­cious Se­libe Mo­choboroane. It is no mean feat for Mo­choboroane to be the only other LCD man to win a con­stituency af­ter the leader him­self.

Ap­par­ently, news com­ing out of his con­stituency is that this young man from Mafeteng has made his Tha­bana-morena con­stituency a no go area for any other party. While all the other LCD stal­warts were los­ing all the con­stituen­cies won in 2012, Mo­choboroane was win­ning his con­stituency with an even big­ger mar­gin. It’s called the Mo­choboroane Magic. For him to have done so well in a heart­land of his po­lit­i­cal ad­ver­saries can only mean that Mo­choboroane is a politi­cian par ex­cel­lence.

Mo­choboroane’s op­po­nents love dis­miss­ing him as an in­tel­lec­tual dwarf or mid­get. They are very wrong. This young man is an as­tute politi­cian and I think the for­tunes of the LCD now squarely rest in his hands. If I were Mets­ing, I would make full use of Mo­choboroane.

I would af­ford him a very se­nior na­tional role in the party and en­able him to lead the party’s na­tional po­lit­i­cal re­ju­ve­na­tion pro­gramme to win back lost sup­port. In fact I would ap­point him as my deputy to re­place the glum Mot­lo­h­eloa Phooko and or­der ev­ery­one to ac­cept the ap­point­ment out­side congress.

There is no doubt that if Mo­choboroane can do for the LCD, at the na­tional level, what he did for the party in his own con­stituency, then the party might fare bet­ter in the fu­ture.

The King­maker surely can­not want to be a per­pet­ual deputy to some­one else in coali­tions. With Mo­choboroane lead­ing the pol­i­tics, I will rope in Josh Setipa to di­rect pol­icy so the LCD can have an at­trac­tive pol­icy plat­form to woo vot­ers other than its man­i­festo promis­ing to build gravel roads.

Just as I have done with many oth­ers, I have al­ready put Setipa through the mill and groomed him into a good politi­cian. There is no doubt that Setipa has an in­tel­li­gent brain and is far ahead of the ubiq­ui­tous boloney that pop­u­late our po­lit­i­cal land­scape. equally good is out­go­ing en­ergy min­is­ter and act­ing LCD sec­re­tary gen­eral Tšeliso Mokhosi.

There is no doubt the King­maker has no short­age of hu­man re­sources on which to build a for­mi­da­ble po­lit­i­cal ma­chine. It’s his fail­ure to use them ef­fec­tively that seems to be a bane for the LCD. I will not be sur­prised if he lets th­ese three good LCD politi­cians go.

If that hap­pens, the LCD is dead. With­out Mo­choboroane, Mokhosi and Setipa, the LCD is dead. So I say to you Mets­ing, I have de­voted this en­tire col­umn to ac­knowl­edge your now in­dis­putable role as the King­maker and to give you free ad­vice on how you can con­sol­i­date your po­si­tion and im­prove your party’s for­tunes.

As usual, be wise and em­brace this ad­vice. or ig­nore it at your own peril as a per­pet­ual deputy . . . Ache!!!!

LCD Spokesper­son Se­libe Mo­choboroane

LCD leader Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing

Joshua Setipa

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