‘My peo­ple, what have I done to you?’

Lesotho Times - - Opinion & Analysis - Ut­loang Ka­jeno

IN the Old Tes­ta­ment book of Micah 6:1-4, it is said: (un­der the aptly ti­tled “The Lord’s Case against Is­rael”,

“Lis­ten to what the Lord says: “Stand up, plead my case be­fore the moun­tains; let the hills hear what you have to say. Hear, you moun­tains, the Lord’s ac­cu­sa­tion; lis­ten, you ev­er­last­ing foun­da­tions of the earth. For the Lord has a case against his peo­ple; he is lodg­ing a charge against Is­rael. My peo­ple, what have I done to you? How have I bur­dened you? An­swer me. I brought you up out of Egypt and re­deemed you from the land of slav­ery”.

In Ge­n­e­sis 1:27 it is said: “so God cre­ated hu­man be­ings in his own im­age, in the im­age of God he cre­ated them; male and fe­male He cre­ated them”. The Holy Bi­ble then goes on to tell that the Lord God breathed into the nos­trils of man the breath of life and the man be­came a liv­ing be­ing.

The Bi­ble there­fore teaches us that man is cre­ated in the im­age of God. That what­ever hard­ship and wrong a man vis­its on a fel­low hu­man be­ing, he by ex­ten­sion, is in­flict­ing that pain on God him­self.

In the book of Micah, pre­vi­ously quoted, The Lord God urges all his earthly cre­ations, in­clud­ing the moun­tains and the hills, to lis­ten to His case against his peo­ple. It is be­cause His peo­ple have for­saken and dis­ap­pointed Him both by deeds and ut­ter­ances.

In Le­sotho’s snap gen­eral elec­tions of 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015, this na­tion re­posed all pow­ers to gov­ern this coun­try on Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili and his six coali­tion part­ners, in the same man­ner that the Lord God brought his peo­ple up from the Land of the Pharaohs in Egypt, from bondage, though I has­ten to add, the pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ment was in no way the prover­bial land of bondage.

How­ever, within four months, all the trust that Ba­sotho and the world had re­posed in this gov­ern­ment has all but come to naught. Ba­sotho have re­posed gov­ern­men­tal power in Ntate Mo­sisili to lead them to pros­per­ity but all they suf­fer are ac­ri­mony, vengeance, vi­o­la­tion of hu­man rights, ero­sion of the rule of law and dis­missals at an un­prece­dented scale.

Even more dis­turb­ing is the pos­si­ble loss of liveli­hood in the form of jobs to more than 45 000 textile fac­tory work­ers and their hun­dreds of thou­sands of de­pen­dents and the pos­si­ble with­drawal of the sec­ond com­pact of the United States (US) Mil­le­nium Chal­lenge Cor­po­ra­tion (MCA) as­sis­tance that runs into bil­lions of maloti.

This mas­sive loss of jobs to these poor Ba­sotho means that we will have even thou­sands more Ba­sotho roam­ing our towns and vil­lages un­em­ployed. The in­for­mal sec­tor of the econ­omy, in­clud­ing the re­tail in­dus­try and thou­sands of streets ven­dors, who con­trib­ute a lot to our gross do­mes­tic prod­uct will face vir­tual clo­sure. There will be no more gov­ern­ment rev­enue from this sec­tor of the econ­omy. The el­i­gi­bil­ity of Le­sotho goods and ap­parel to en­ter the US de­pend on the not so strin­gent Africa Growth Op­por­tu­ni­ties Act (AGOA) passed by US congress on gov­er­nance.

The vi­a­bil­ity and sus­tain­abil­ity of these 45 000 plus jobs de­pends en­tirely on the huge and lu­cra­tive US mar­ket. For Le­sotho to qual­ify to ac­cess this huge lu­cra­tive mar­ket, our coun­try needs to pro­mote and up­hold cer­tain re­quire­ments and stan­dards.

These are but not lim­ited to, gov­er­nance, rule of law, in­de­pen­dence of the ju­di­ciary, pro­mo­tion of ba­sic hu­man rights, civil­ian con­trol of the se­cu­rity in­sti­tu­tions and a free press.

Le­sotho has, in re­cent months, how­ever, failed dis­mally in these bench­marks thus com­pelling our ma­jor de­vel­op­ment part­ners, the US and the Euro­pean Union, to warn that they will re­con­sider their co-op­er­a­tion with this im­pov­er­ished na­tion.

The MCA has over the years as­sisted Le­sotho with bil­lions of Maloti in the health, ju­di­cial, ru­ral de­vel­op­ment, wet­lands re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, na­tional iden­tity pro­ject and many other sec­tors of our de­vel­op­ment. Again, to be el­i­gi­ble for this as­sis­tance, Le­sotho has to meet the above-men­tioned bench­marks.

Dr Mo­sisili, his coali­tion min­is­ters as well as his party’s youth league have in the media and in in­ter­na­tional fora be­rated these de­vel- op­ment part­ners for what they per­ceive to be un­war­ranted in­ter­fer­ence in the do­mes­tic af­fairs of Le­sotho.

Ob­vi­ously, this dan­ger­ous and un­called for rhetoric from these quar­ters spells doom for the en­tire na­tion. In ef­fect, they are show­ing the prover­bial hand that feeds us the mid­dle fin­ger.

The Le­sotho De­fence Force, un­der the re­in­stated Lieu­tenant Gen­eral Tlali Kamoli, who still has to an­swer for a va­ri­ety of of­fences re­lat­ing to killings and ba­sic hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions, left sol­diers un­der his watch to in­tim­i­date mem­bers of the ju­di­ciary, lawyers and the gen­eral public.

There is seem­ingly no end in sight to the abuse and in­tim­i­da­tion. For all prac­ti­cal pur­poses, the rule of law is un­der siege as heav­ily-armed bal­a­clava-clad sol­diers daily kid­nap and frog-march their col­leagues in leg-irons, in a men­ac­ing con­duct be­fore the courts. No one seems to care to rein-in the er­rand sol­diers who have vir­tu­ally be­come law unto them­selves as may­hem reigns supreme.

To add in­sult to in­jury, all the three ma­jor op­po­si­tion lead­ers have fled to South Africa for their safety.

This is in keep­ing with the Se­sotho id­iom that, loosely trans­lated, means, “I will chas­tise the herd­boy so that all his flock may scat­ter all over with no lead­er­ship”. In­deed, both Con­tin­ued on Page 14 . . .

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