MPS have be­come Mpigs!

Lesotho Times - - Scrutator -

SCRU­TA­TOR was in­trigued by news­pa­per head­lines last week sug­gest­ing that Ntate Mo­sisili had given up on his ef­forts to get Cy­clone Tom back into the coun­try.

“PM gives up on Tha­bane”, screamed one of the head­lines. At a pub­lic rally, Ntate Mo­sisili had ex­plained his frus­tra­tions at the fail­ure, thus far, of his spir­ited ef­forts to get Cy­clone Tom to end his self-im­posed ex­ile.

There are of course many rea­sons why Ntate Mo­sisili would want Bo-ntate Tom, Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane and Keketso Ran­tšo to end their ex­ile. The per­cep­tion out there re­mains that the cur­rent Pink Pakalitha Coali­tion is a bru­tal regime hell bent on elim­i­nat­ing all forms of dis­sent.

There have been sug­ges­tions that Le­sotho might as well be off the AGOA list this year be­cause of all that has hap­pened since Ntate Mo­sisili’s re­turn to power.

The bru­tal mur­der of Maa­parankoeeeeeeeeeeee re­mains an al­ba­tross around the neck of the seven party coali­tion. The op­po­si­tion lead­ers con­tinue to shout that Le­sotho is an in­hab­it­able place since Ntate Mo­sisili’s se­cond com­ing.

Only the end­ing of ‘Maserib­ane, Ran­tšo and Tha­bane’s ex­ile will change all the neg­a­tive per­cep­tions of Le­sotho by out­siders. So it is easy to un­der­stand why Ntate Mo­sisili is par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in end­ing Cy­clone Tom’s ex­ile.

Cy­clone Tom is the main op­po­si­tion leader hav­ing won half of all the con­tested seats in the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 gen­eral elec­tions. If he comes home and he lives hap­pily ever af­ter with his young con­cu­bine in tow, then the deal is done.

Ran­tšo and ‘ Maserib­ane can marry in ex­ile and pro­duce half a dozen or even a full dozen kids and the world won’t no­tice. As long as Cy­clone Tom is in SA, the Pink Pakalitha Coali­tion con­tin­ues to suf­fer an im­age cri­sis.

I fully un­der­stand Ntate Mo­sisili’s logic. I sym­phathize with him whole­heart­edly. Pol­i­tics is about self-preser­va­tion. Ntate Mo­sisili must do ev­ery­thing he can to en­sure his sur­vival. I equally un­der­stand Cy­clone Tom’s own reser­va­tions.

Ntate Tha­bane is cer­tain that if he sets his feet on Le­sotho’s soil any­time soon, King Kamoli will make mince­meat of him. “I would rather be a liv­ing coward than a dead hero,” seems to have be­come Cy­clone Tom’s mantra.

There could also be other rea­sons why Cy­clone Tom has elected to con­tinue with his ex­ile de­spite all the guar­an­tees that Ntate Mo­sisili has given him.

Life could have be­come far much sweeter for him with a young con­cu­bine far away from the rough and tum­ble of pol­i­tics. If that is the case, then Ntate Tha­bane owes it to all Ba­sotho to ex­plain this fact.

Ntate Tha­bane’s rea­son of fear­ing for his life is pretty un­der­stand­able. One can never take King Kamoli for granted. But Scru­ta­tor also has im­mense dif­fi­culty un­der­stand­ing what ben­e­fits Ntate Tha­bane thinks his long ex­ile will achieve.

There is that me­dieval wis­dom that ex­horts us to get out of the kitchen if we can­not stand the heat. Ev­ery man has a right to be fear­ful, but me thinks that Ntate Tha­bane should re­turn and fight on home soil rather than leave his party on auto-pi­lot. For that, I share Ntate Mo­sisili’s frus­tra­tion, al­beit for dif­fer­ent rea­sons.

If ever there were any lin­ger­ing doubts about politi­cians suck­ing this na­tion dry, they were put to rest by this fi­asco of gov- ern­ment cough­ing up M32 mil­lion to pay for the debt of mem­bers of the eighth Par­lia­ment.

Our Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment (MPS) live the charmed life, with M500 000 in­ter­est-free loans among other perks. Fol­low­ing the pre­ma­ture end­ing of their term of of­fice late last year, af­ter the col­lapse of the Cy­clone Tom-led coali­tion govern­ment, the MPS de­manded that govern­ment pay off their loans “for the sake of peace and sta­bil­ity in the coun­try”.

Ac­cord­ing to a Le­sotho Times story, of the 120 MPS, only Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili and Cy­clone Tom did not take the loans. Yet there were many big­wigs in par­lia­ment who are al­ready rich, al­though Scru­ta­tor will not name them, not for any fear of reprisals but just out of be­ing a nice woman.

For the MPS, it was not enough that the loans were in­ter­est-free and that they were un­der­writ­ten by govern­ment, which also paid the in­ter­est on their be­half. They also de­manded a right, which they were not en­ti­tled to, of hav­ing the rest of the loan paid off by the al­ready over­bur­dened tax­pay­ers.

They ar­gued that they could find them­selves in jobs that do not en­able them to ser­vice the loans.

This ar­gu­ment is lu­di­crous con­sid­er­ing that the Con­sti­tu­tion is clear that par­lia­ment can be dis­solved at any time. MPS have no five-year con­tracts and, like am­bas­sadors, can be re­called at any time.

As if that is not shock­ing enough, govern­ment has again guar­an­teed new M500 000 in­ter­est-free loans taken by mem­bers of the cur­rent Ninth Par­lia­ment from a lo­cal bank. At this rate, we are mak­ing mil­lion­aires of th­ese MPS, since a num­ber of them were re­elected dur­ing the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 elec­tions.

The ques­tion then be­comes if the cur­rent coali­tion govern­ment also col­lapses, will govern­ment pay the loan again for the cur­rent par­lia­ment. And at what price to this al­ready ema­ci­ated econ­omy?

Scru­ta­tor can­not agree more with the sen­ti­ments of Ba­sotho Na­tional Party deputy leader Joang Mo­lapo ahead of the clos­ing of par­lia­ment last year as quoted by Pub­lic Eye. Mo­lapo ar­gued that leg­is­la­tors can­not ex­pect to be given spe­cial priv­i­leges that were not ex­tended to or­di­nary peo­ple.

”If we are lead­ers of this coun­try and un­der­stand that it is right or wrong to take dis­ci­plinary mea­sures against mem­bers of the pub­lic ser­vice, we must also be ready to ac­cept that the same mea­sures should be taken on us,” he said.

“We came to this House with a clear un­der­stand­ing that this par­lia­ment would sur­vive for five years, as ex­pected. We came out and took loans and all other things but if through our ac­tions we caused this par­lia­ment not to live its full life, the in­sin­u­a­tion of be­ing given a para­chute of pub­lic money for our soft land­ing is wrong. We must be ac­count­able for our own ac­tions.”

Mo­lapo stressed that each MP who had taken a loan must also be ac­count­able for its ser­vic­ing, adding: “In­stead of ad­her­ing to His Majesty’s speech to find out how we could use this very lim­ited time left to de­velop our coun­try we dwell on in­di­vid­ual loans.”

He added that ev­ery leg­is­la­tor should be re­spon­si­ble for the loans they took from the bank. Those pleas cer­tainly fell on deaf ears.

As if to un­der­score the MPS’ de­ter­mi­na­tion to fleece hap­less tax­pay­ers, leader of Ba­sotho Batho Demo­cratic Party (BBDP), Jere­mane Ra­math­e­bane is also quoted say­ing: “I am here for work and when I go back to Mo­hale’s Hoek, I should be able to give sweets to my chil­dren so that they be­come pa­tri­otic and not hate pol­i­tics.”

Ntate Ra­math­e­bane should find him­self an­other line of work which is not the pub­lic ser­vice. Le­sotho can ill-af­ford pam­per­ing politi­cians.

No won­der the Kenyans call their MPS “Mpigs”. In 2013, the Kenyans would have none of their leg­is­la­tors de­mands for a monthly salary of about $10 000 (M142 978), with pro­tes­tors re­leas­ing three dozen pigs and an­i­mal blood spilt at the en­trance to Kenya’s par­lia­ment.

“Mpigs” was painted on all of the pigs, with Kenyan po­lice scur­ry­ing af­ter the an­i­mals, while other small pigs munched on par­lia­men­tary flower beds.

“Don’t like the pay? Quit!” one of the pro­tes­tors plac­ards read. It cer­tainly ap­plies in Kenya as in Le­sotho.

It’s a pity that good politi­cians like Mo­lapo never make it to State House. I am sure if Mo­lapo were to be­come Prime Min­is­ter one day, he would do the honourable thing and abol­ish the MPS loan fa­cil­ity and other perks al­to­gether.

Af­ter all, most of th­ese MPS are lazy bones whose only con­tri­bu­tion is to snore in Par­lia­ment. We cer­tainly can do with­out them or their lav­ish perks.

Ache !!!!

PRO­TES­TORS douse pigs in blood dur­ing a demon­stra­tion out­side par­lia­ment in Nairobi, Kenya in this 2013 file pic­ture.

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