Stereo­typ­ing is counter-pro­duc­tive

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ANY­ONE who has trav­elled into Maseru’s cen­tral busi­ness dis­trict dur­ing peak hours will at­test to the large dose of pa­tience they have to take while watch­ing taxis and 4+1’s break ev­ery rule on the road.

Add rain and or a col­li­sion to this al­ready hot mess and what you have is peo­ple spend­ing vast amounts of pro­duc­tive time in traf­fic.

This is thanks to a boom­ing mid­dle class and the ubiq­uity of “mo­japane” cars that have be­come even more ac­ces­si­ble to Ba­sotho.

This is great but it also means that Le­sotho re­mains a dump­ing ground for other coun­tries (this is a story for an­other day).

For a long time, I was of the be­lief that the gov­ern­ment should take a se­ri­ous look into paving new roads out of town to ease the flow of traf­fic.

In fact (note I do not have any qual­i­fi­ca­tion in town plan­ning) I have gone as far as

They make such claims with­out any ba­sis at all and for grounds that are glar­ingly scan­dalous.

This begs the ques­tion, no mat­ter where a well-mean­ing for­eigner comes from across the globe, the mo­ment he sets foot in the Moun­tain King­dom, and sees mat­ters dif­fer­ently from cer­tain politi­cian lead­ers, he is la­belled a na­tion­al­ist or con­gress-in­clined.

I al­ways won­der rather disin­gen­u­ously, how they man­age to take out party mem­ber­ship of ri­val po­lit­i­cal for­ma­tions.

This clearly de­fies logic and com­mon sense. It is reck­less po­lit­i­cal ut­ter­ances in the ex­treme. How­ever, the gullible masses in our pop­u­lace read­ily sub­scribe to this sense­less la­belling stereo­types. map­ping these roads in my head and I would hap­pily share these with our beloved town plan­ners.

A con­ver­sa­tion with a friend al­lowed me to see the folly of my ways. No amount of road build­ing will ever be enough to clear the mess that Maseru is in right now. Not to men­tion there seems to be very lit­tle space left for new roads.

We have man­aged to con­struct build­ings ev­ery­where. I, there­fore, pro­pose six so­lu­tions to this prob­lem. The first two I will not dis­cuss in de­tail as they re­quire gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion.

1. Build more roads This is a long-term project that re­quires gov­ern­ment in­ter­ven­tion.

2. De­cen­tralise This en­tails build­ing other busi­ness dis­tricts just out­side town (of­fice parks, shop­ping

I am alarmed to the core by some po­lit­i­cal lead­ers who as­cribe the scourge of HIV-AIDS to fol­low­ers of a cer­tain po­lit­i­cal per­sua­sion. They ut­ter these un­for­tu­nate state­ments well-know­ing that ow­ing to a va­ri­ety of fac­tors in our so­ci­ety peo­ple af­flicted by this de­bil­i­tat­ing con­di­tion are un­for­tu­nately stig­ma­tized by the larger com­mu­nity.

This in ef­fect says that fol­low­ers of this po­lit­i­cal for­ma­tion should be stig­ma­tized and sub­tly sug­gest­ing, which is dis­heart­en­ing in­deed, that the fol­low­ers of this po­lit­i­cal for­ma­tion have brought mis­ery on the na­tion.

This com­ing from some po­lit­i­cal lead­ers de­serves to be dis­missed with ut­ter con­tempt. It is ut­terly dis­turb­ing. HIV-AIDS is a con­di­tion that ex­ists through­out the world across the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum and does not de­serve dis­crim­i­na­tion.

6. Leave our high fuel con­sump­tion cars

at home and use pub­lic trans­port Firstly this can be done lit­er­ally overnight. Se­condly, in these fi­nan­cially try­ing times, it can save you quite a bit of money.

Thirdly, as far a pub­lic trans­port goes, Le­sotho has a pretty de­cent pub­lic trans­port in­fra­struc­ture (if you ig­nore the way they drive).

Also, all these car fumes can’t be good for our small coun­try let alone our health.

Traf­fic jams in Maseru are not go­ing any­where! In fact, I would go as far as blam­ing the traf­fic on ev­ery per­son who drives into town, es­pe­cially the one per­son in a seven seater car (I know some cir­cum­stances dic­tate that you have to drive).

My point is, there is no one so­lu­tion to the cur­rent traf­fic con­ges­tions. It is re­ally on us (for­get the gov­ern­ment) to make the change, oth­er­wise have fun sit­ting idly by in peak hour traf­fic, ev­ery day for five days a week.

Ler­ato Thakholi.

It is equally dis­heart­en­ing to hear cer­tain po­lit­i­cal lead­ers in pub­lic fo­rums ar­gu­ing ve­he­mently that per­sons who be­long to dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal for­ma­tions are, to use the overused cliché, oil and wa­ter.

Th­ese is quite a telling pub­lic ut­ter­ance par­tic­u­larly to these of our peo­ple who have pro­found knowl­edge of chem­istry in that they can at­test to the con­clu­sion that oil and wa­ter do not mix un­der any cir­cum­stances.

This in ef­fect means that Ba­sotho, though eter­nally bound by cul­ture, tra­di­tion and fam­ily can­not live to­gether peace­fully.

Th­ese stereo­types are ut­terly dis­turb­ing and ought to be con­demned at all costs. This na­tion can­not af­ford it when its lead­ers sow di­vi­sion in­stead of unity.

If this stereo­type is not ar­rested timeously be­cause it is counter-pro­duc­tive it will de­gen-

AS the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in this coun­try is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly fluid and ex­plo­sive, it is ab­so­lutely vi­tal that all stake­hold­ers work to­gether to en­sure Le­sotho is re­stored to a state of san­ity, not to men­tion peace, progress, jus­tice, and — ul­ti­mately — pros­per­ity.

One thing that ev­ery­one needs to un­der­stand is that this strug­gle on the po­lit­i­cal play­ing field is do­ing noth­ing to solve our im­me­di­ate prob­lems and they are many.

In fact, the bat­tle is merely a di­ver­sion and has forced the key de­ci­sion-mak­ers to take their eyes off the real is­sues con­fronting us as a na­tion.

The bat­tle is ab­sorb­ing re­sources and at­ten­tion that are ur­gently needed to tackle our im­me­di­ate prob­lems; it is deep­en­ing the cri­sis we all face.

The po­lit­i­cal risk stem­ming from the de­ci­sions made by politi­cians, looms large. While eco­nomic risk is of­ten re­ferred to as a coun­try’s abil­ity to pay back its debts, po­lit­i­cal risk is some­times iden­ti­fied as the will­ing­ness of a coun­try to pay its ar­rears or main­tain a hos­pitable cli­mate for in­vest­ment.

Even if a coun­try’s econ­omy is strong and the po­lit­i­cal cli­mate is un­friendly, the na­tion may not be a good in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion.


er­ate to the level where even var­i­ous re­li­gious or­ders in re­li­gious de­nom­i­na­tions, the bedrock on which our col­lec­tive moral fi­bre rests, to be la­belled be­long­ing to cer­tain po­lit­i­cal for­ma­tions which is bor­der­ing on blas­phemy.

In­deed some of our lead­ers have stooped so low as to la­bel any or­ga­ni­za­tion or groups that by ac­ci­dent, are clod in colours of a cer­tain po­lit­i­cal for­ma­tion as be­long­ing to that for­ma­tion. We have de­gen­er­ated to a level where we are now afraid to wear a par­tic­u­lar coloured cloth­ing let alone dis­agree with a cer­tain politi­cian, where are in­evitably la­belled, stereo­typ­ing, be­long­ing to na­tion­al­ists or con­gress aligned.

It is the re­spon­si­bil­ity of all our po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to stop pub­lic ut­ter­ances that stereo­type peo­ple with dif­fer­ent views from oth­ers.

They have to show po­lit­i­cal ma­tu­rity and depth that pro­mote unity and tan­gi­ble rea­son­ing not show­ing di­vi­sion and ir­ra­tional la­belling that drives a wedge be­tween this deeply po­larised na­tion. The mes­sage is sim­ple: stereo­typ­ing is counter-pro­duc­tive.

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