How Lesotho can beat scourge of poverty
THE United States of America is the land of opportunities and a Canaan for refuge seekers. In Australia, you can build your own wealth and prosper. Iceland is regarded as one of the most peaceful countries globally.
Luxembourg is a country with immense while the Swiss are among the world’s richest countries. How do all these countries make it to the top and how do they manage to stay on top while their counterparts continue to dissolve into extreme poverty? Poverty means different things to different countries.
According to the Economist in 2011, the poor in Europe are those whose income is below 60 percent of the median. The US, however, uses a method achieved by determining overall cost of food for a household multiplied by three.
If the family’s pre-tax income falls below this number, then they are poor. Generally, a country is deemed poor when its resources do not contribute to the livelihood of the people or cannot sustain them.
In most cases, such a country has low capita per income. Income per capita is mean or average income of people in a particular area such as country or city.
This being clarified, one can easily see which countries are doing better and how long they have been doing so while others seem to be like dirty water rushing through a drain, and this being classified, lets look at the case of our beloved mother kingdom.
Lesotho on its own is a story to be told which unfortunately has no epilogue. Lesotho is among the few countries in the world with renewable electricity.
The very idea that Lesotho has 100 percent renewable electricity poses the first question of why the country is still so poor. This production of electricity should be enough to carry Lesotho to a certain level of development but for some reasons, it has not done so.
Then there is the Letšeng diamond mine which is the highest average dollar per carat kimberlite mine in the world.
Letšeng produces large diamonds of top white which are exported mainly to Europe, Antwerp to be particular. This mine of exceptional quality produce is in a country deemed as one of the poorest in the world.
The first phase of how a country gets poor is denied in Lesotho. Lesotho has enough resources to sustain the country and its neighbours. South Africa depends on Lesotho for water and other resources produced by water.
Amazingly enough, despite the large bodies of water in Lesotho, some Basotho still don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. This begins the first chapter of poverty in Lesotho. If we have so much that we can even share, why do we as citizens of this wealthy country go without? The mismanagement of resources in Lesotho is not the only reason we have sunk into the state we are in.
Lesotho keeps sinking deeper into corruption each day and this is the very cause of our poverty. Lesotho as a whole is a country capable of sustaining its people and moving forward but the people somehow prevent it from doing so.
I find it quite moronic for Basotho to continue hoping that a certain politician or political party will bring about change to our Kingdom. At this stage, it is fair to say every politician has been granted a fair chance to bring about a new tomorrow to Basotho, but we are still living in the dark, waiting and hoping.
If the very people we trust with our country seem to be behind its destruction then what shall we do? Are we going to sit down, cry and watch them ruin it to the very last or are we going to stand united and fight?
I think each and every Mosotho had a certain politician in mind that they thought and believed would change Lesotho and make it Canaan, alas, such thoughts have since died.
As Basotho, it was part of our culture to blame every problem on the current government, claiming that so and so would do better. But so and so together failed to lead us elsewhere until another group of so and so came in and things still don’t look better. What do we do now, go back and rethink the idea of grand coalition or give up on Lesotho?
At this point it is clear that our leaders, politicians and people do not fully understand what politics mean and what they should achieve. Tracing the history of politics in Lesotho and Africa in general, there is one thing in common.
Those in leadership always seem to think they own the people and country. Many Africans who venture into politics thinking it’s their golden ticket. They escape the poverty in their homes without realising that they shift that poverty to the whole country. One man gets rich while many get poor.
The very notion of politics has caused so much death to many Africans and sadly it still continues. Politics, however, is meant to bring together intellectuals who can move a country forward and help turn resources into livelihood.
How many politicians ever think of this and those who do, how many make it a reality. The squabbling amongst the men in suits makes them forget even the simplest life rules; humanity first!
Now back to history of politics in history. If throughout time, all leaders had one problem of colonizing the people without their concern, then surely one thing would solve this; merging of more politicians to form a government. When three people come together, corruption is reduced because ideas are shared and equality reformed.
However in the case of Lesotho, the joining of more people means more corruption, more squabbles and massive hatred so much that those people are never going to work together again.
We cannot deny here then that our leaders did not take time to fully study the science of politics. Their main issue is that of attaining power and accumulating wealth for themselves.
Do these people love Lesotho like we do or do they see Lesotho as a whore who can give them infinite pleasure? More Basotho are going hungry while Lesotho feeds only the few selects.
It’s time we as people did some- thing to change our lives. If there is still someone out there who thinks the government and leaders will help them out, then they are truly under a mystery spell. Right now, the only solution to our problems is to help each other.
If someone out there needs capital to start a survival business, then someone who has extra M200 should consider helping out. When the person helped out has collected enough, she should help out someone else too.
When one sees a hungry person, give them a plate of food and then help them start something that will sustain them in the long run.
If we as people do not help each other, then there will be many people who will go to bed without food and eventually die from hunger. Is that what we really want? There is a man in my village who started by selling fat-cakes.
Fat-cakes always sell because no matter how bad things are, one always has to eat and they are quite affordable. Within a year he had saved enough to build a bigger room, moved from a shack he used and sold even better in a house.
Last week when I passed by, he was finishing off a house which he plans to lease out to an Indian supermarket owner. It all took patience and endurance.
Today he has employed two more Basotho and the business keeps blooming, not to mention more Basotho who will be employed in the Indian supermarket. The notion here is, Mosotho help out another Mosotho and we will defeat this impeding poverty.
We don’t even need thousands of maloti, just M200 to start a fatcake stall, just M500 to start a spaza shop. If one can spare such an amount, then please go ahead, for the sake of Lesotho.