Let’s steal this bril­liant idea!

Lesotho Times - - Scrutator -

IHAVE al­ways told Ba­sotho that the only way for us to de­velop as a na­tion is to cul­ti­vate ideas, trans­late them into ac­tion, and then prod­ucts that we can ex­port to other coun­tries to earn good money for in­ter­nal ser­vice de­liv­ery pur­suits.

A ba­sic rule of eco­nom­ics is that for any­one to be­come wealthy, they must pro­duce a prod­uct that is prefer­ably in scarce sup­ply and sell it to those who need it.

Bill Gates de­vel­oped the first ma­jor per­sonal com­put­ers soft­ware which all of us badly need. He has con­sis­tently topped the world’s rich list as a re­sult of his in­ven­tion.

Coun­tries be­come rich by pro­duc­ing prod­ucts and sell­ing them to other coun­tries. So it goes with­out say­ing that coun­tries with the best en­trepreneurs pros­per more than those who have less or hare brained en­trepreneurs. In South Korea for in­stance, a few fam­ily-con­trolled en­ter­prises Sam­sung, LG (life’s good), Hyundai and dae­woo con­trol a huge chunk of that coun­try’s econ­omy. In fact, they rep­re­sent the very essence of South Korea’s econ­omy. The own­ers of th­ese cor­po­rate be­he­moths were not helped by their govern­ment to in­vent their wares. They thought for them­selves. now their in­tel­li­gence has ben­e­fited their whole coun­try.

If you are read­ing this ar­ti­cle right now, you are likely to be a Sam­sung user. If you are a man and you are at home you are prob­a­bly plac­ing or hid­ing it some­where just in case your con­cu­bine phones and all hell breaks loose with your wife. If you are read­ing this ar­ti­cle now, you are also most prob­a­bly be a driver of a Volk­swa­gen or a Toy­ota ve­hi­cle.

Ger­many was once a pro­ducer of a very proud ve­hi­cle make called the VW Bee­tle. Fol­low­ers of his­tory will know how the VW Bee­tle trans­formed Ger­many af­ter the se­cond world war.

Iron­i­cally, the VW Bee­tle was it­self an in­ven­tion of Adolf Hitler who in 1934 gave an ul­ti­ma­tum to Fer­di­nard Porsche o de­velop a ve­hi­cle that would be deemed to cater for the peo­ple. The car would be called Volk­swa­gen, mean­ing the Peo­ple’s Car.

even though the VW Bee­tle has its gen­e­sis in Hitler’s largely ka­put logic, the ve­hi­cle per­formed fun­da­men­tally well af­ter the end of the se­cond world war, sell­ing more than 22 mil­lion units, the largest ever haul of any au­to­mo­bile man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pany.

The rea­son why I am say­ing all this is be­cause – as I have al­ways told you be­fore – real pros­per­ity will only come to this coun­try if we can de­velop on-de­mand prod­ucts that we can sell to other coun­tries.

Africa needs en­trepreneurs who can start and run busi­nesses.

For long I have held out hope that one day, I will wake up to news head­lines that a Mosotho has de­vel­oped a car that will be pro­duced in Le­sotho and sold to other coun­tries. or has rather in­vented a new good IT sys­tem that will be sold to banks and other cus-

tomers world­wide. That has not hap­pened.

So you can imag­ine why I am en­vi­ous. I love my Le­sotho and I love you all my peo­ple (in the sense of you be­ing all my coun­try­men). So you can also imag­ine why I am an­gry that Zim­babwe has now be­come the first ever African coun­try to de­clare that it will soon man­u­fac­ture a ve­hi­cle of its own for ex­port into the rest of the African mar­ket. I had al­ways con­sid­ered that to be Le­sotho’s first ever pre­rog­a­tive.

How a coun­try that can­not pay salaries of civil ser­vants nor hon­our any of its debt obli­ga­tions now start pro­duc­ing ve­hi­cles for ex­port can only bog­gle the imag­i­na­tion. But that’s how in­no­va­tive our brothers and sis­ters from across the Lim­popo are de­ter­mined to go.

As I say, I am jeal­ous that Zim­bab­weans, peo­ple who are known for be­ing bil­lion­aires of a worth­less cur­rency are now steal­ing the thun­der from us by be­com­ing the first ever African coun­try to pro­duce a purely Zim­bab­wean or African in­vented ve­hi­cle for ex­port to oth­ers.

A press re­port in Zim­babwe’s Her­ald news­pa­per said the ve­hi­cle, which is pe­cu­liarly Zim­bab­wean, will be pro­duced with the as­sis­tance of Italy’s el Badaoui Group. need­less to men­tion that Scru­ta­tor has not heard of such a unique Ital­ian firm. Let’s point a hy­po­thet­i­cal sit­u­a­tion here. As I have al­ready men­tioned, the VW Bee­tle trans­formed Ger­many’s econ­omy post war. In some coun­tries like Mex­ico, the VW Bee­tle was un­til re­cently been the ve­hi­cle of choice for taxis. It re­mains the world’s only ve­hi­cle make to have sold the most units af­ter more than 25 mil­lion Bee­tles were sold.

The Zim­bab­weans have not named their ve­hi­cle yet. Ru­mour has it that it will be called the RGM, an acro­nym for Robert Gabriel Mu­gabe. The idea to name the Zim­bab­wean ve­hi­cle RGM is to en­sure that it eas­ily ri­vals the best make on the mar­ket, the BMW. Both makes will have a sim­ple three let­ters as their ab­bre­vi­a­tions.

Let’s point a fur­ther hy­po­thet­i­cal sit­u­a­tion and imag­ine that the RGM sur­passes the Bee­tles’ sales of more than 25 mil­lion units and sells a third more. That will im­me­di­ately guar­an­tee Zim­babwe’s pros­per­ity and en­sure that Zim­bab­weans be­come bil­lion­aires in real terms. Zim­babwe will be­come in­stantly rich and, as­sum­ing that Mu­gabe is no more, Grace will inevitably also come up for grabs. I must say I hate her as a per­son with my heart, soul and spirit. But be­cause she is be­ing groomed to take over from her 92-year old hus­band, one must tread with cau­tion.

There are many hur­dles though to Zim­babwe’s dream of pro­duc­ing the first ever African car. Soon af­ter the sign­ing of the MOU with the Ital­ian firm, a sleuth of new prob­lems have be­gun.

For ex­am­ple, Robert Mu­gabe has since seized the farm that had been ear­marked for de­vel­op­ment of the fac­tory for the man­u­fac­ture of the RGM ve­hi­cle that bears his name. This not­with­stand­ing that his prin­ci­pal sec­re­tary in the min­istry of trade had as­sured the pro­ject’s tech­ni­cal part­ners that all was in place and the land for es­tab­lish­ing the fac­tory had been ac­quired. There is also no elec­tric­ity nor wa­ter to en­sure smooth pro­duc­tion at the plant due to be es­tab­lished at that fac­tory. Ap­par­ently, elec­tric­ity is only avail­able to most Zim­bab­wean busi­nesses and house­holds in the evenings. Who surely will still be up dur­ing that awk­ward time?

Luck­ily for the Ital­ians who want to as­sist Zim­babwe in in­vent­ing its own mo­tor ve­hi­cle, they will find a way out. But Scru­ta­tor’s ques­tion to them re­mains: What will be that way?

one thing I can tell them for Sure is that if you sur­vive reg­u­la­tory bot­tle­necks in Zim­babwe, then you can sur­vive any­where in the world.

For me how­ever at a per­sonal level, no cred­i­ble ve­hi­cle will be pro­duced in Zim­babwe as long as Mu­gabe re­mains in power. It’s a mat­ter of time be­fore the Ital­ians flee.

So why don’t we Ba­sotho seize the mo­ment and pro­duce our own ve­hi­cle type and then chan­nel its sales to­wards up­lift­ing the en­tire con­ti­nent? There is cer­tainly scope for jour­nal­is­tic ethics.

I am not sure how we would call the first ever African ve­hi­cle to be pro­duced on the con­ti­nent and re­spond ac­cord­ingly. The prob­lem will be of course how to name the child. I would call the child Maaa­parankoeeeee. other will say Poipoi Bil­lia­nard. For me, I did a deal pre­vi­ously to show­case my prod­ucts. For now let’s just prom­ise that I will be back?

Ba­sotho cer­tainly de­serve bet­ter. We need qual­ity jobs and em­ploy­ment. That can only hap­pen in a nor­mal good en­vi­ron­ment.


THE VW Bee­tle sold more than 22 mil­lion units.

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