Honest advice to Mr Size Two
LIKE most of you, I had been keenly awaiting the release of the Phumaphi Commission report by the 1 February 2016 deadline imposed by SADC so I can dissect it in this column for the benefit of the Basotho nation.
But alas, that is not to be. Despite SADC’S bravado in threatening to release the report itself if the coalition government did not do so, both SADC and the Mosisili government reached an amicable settlement to delay the release of the report until Parliament reopens on Monday.
Ntate Mosisili has been adamant that he wants the report to be released to Parliament first and he has urged all and sundry to end their exiles and be present for this propitious event.
No prizes for guessing whether Cyclone Tom will abandon the splendour and comfort of Ficksburg to grace this occasion. He has said he will only come with heavily-armed SADC bodyguards in tow to protect him just in case his chief nemesis — King Kamoli — becomes trigger happy.
As there is no precedent of any regional organisation deploying heavy muscled men to protect an opposition leader, Cyclone Tom’s arrival remains as unlikely as Lesotho producing a Mark Zuckerberg.
However, all the high stakes over the Phumaphi Commission report have less to do with Cyclone Tom’s decision to come or stay away than Ntate Mosisili’s own actions. Ntate Mosisili has already threatened to edit it before its release if he deems some of its sections as a threat to national security.
Because of the Phumaphi report’s overall importance to the political and economic future of the Basotho nation and its bearing over the Kingdom’s relations with international partners, I have decided to devote this column to giving Ntate Mosisili my honest and best advice about how he must proceed.
In doing so, I am not seeking to dislodge Fako Likoti from his lofty perch of being the PM’S senior economic and political advisor. I love Dr Likoti too much to want his job. I may not agree with him on many issues but I love his frankness. That’s a story for another day however.
My word to Ntate Mosisili is that a country like Lesotho, with a large portion of its citizenry consumed in such humdrum entrepreneurial endeavours like fruit vending and car wash stalls provides very scarce opportunities for any leader to find legacy defining moments.
I attended the Democratic Congress event last week at which Ntate Mosisili excoriated the behind the scenes manoeuvring by his maverick party colleagues who want to see his back. Ntate Mosisili reigned for 14 years before the Cyclone hit.
He has been lucky enough to make a comeback. If I were him, I would now start think- ing seriously about my legacy. Not least because some in the DC now think its Ntate Moleleki’s turn.
I cannot think of any better legacy defining moment than the one now presented before Ntate Mosisili by the Phumaphi commission.
So here is my free advice to you Ntate. Please ensure that this report is released and no other excuse ensues to justify any further delays after Monday. Perhaps your decision to insist that you want to release it to Parliament first is out of deference to our MPS.
There is nothing particularly wrong with that, except that some in our Parliament are overweight and ever dozing and don’t seem to care much about what happens in this August house.
If I were you, I would have released the report to the public straight away without waiting for Parliament. Be that as it may, please ensure that the report is released on Monday without fail. This must happen regardless of whether Cyclone Tom, with young Liabiloe in tour, decides to show his handsome face or not.
I personally don’t see any point in all other opposition parliamentarians, who don’t seem to face any immediate danger from King Kamoli, and have been here ever since their leaders bolted into exile, boycotting this event. If I were them, I would come for this report and then resume the boycott later.
Secondly, please jettison all your threats to edit the report. I can hardly fathom anything in the report (even though I haven’t seen it) that can be remotely contemplated as being a threat to national security.
Release the report, unedited, unexpurgated, unabridged, uncut and unrevised. Release it full length. There have been excerpts purporting to be from the report doing the rounds on social media.
All serious newspapers have been responsible enough to ignore them. Even our normally wayward radio stations have ignored them. But one weekly newspaper saw it fit to headline one of its editions with the words — SADC Report leaked — basing the story on the social media excerpts that were virtually unverifiable. To imagine that any editor can in this day and age pick up anything on social media and present it as fact is a bit depressing.
But let’s just for once imagine that the report will concur with the reports on social media and recommend the lynching of a few Basotho behind the tragedies that prompted the establishment of the Phu- maphi commission in the first place.
My advice to you Ntate Mosisili remains that please come clean on this report even if you may not like what it says. Show some savvy brinkmanship. Allow this nation to have access to the entire report.
Please don’t sacrifice this nation or your legacy because of the need to protect a few wayward individuals who made their beds but don’t want to lie on them. Put the national interest first.
After the nation has had access to the original unedited and uncut report, allow a time of reflection and debate among all and sundry.
You must then address the nation on your take on the report. Be as frank as you can. If you embrace all its recommendations, explain why to all Basotho.
If you decide to accept some and recant some, please explain why. Invite all Basotho, including all your friends, enemies and frenemies, to study the report and give their input.
The worst mistake you can make is to edit the report and confine it to an elitist debate by our large bodied MPS at the expense of the povo.
Imust state that I don’t envy you at this stage. You may feel the need to want to protect those whose actions propelled you back into power. But your guiding principle should be the national interest. This is time for leadership. You are a leader and your actions must not only exemplify leadership, they must prove it.
One fact is indisputable. Your handling and mishandling of this report will be a mark on your legacy and that of your party. By coming clean on this report, you would have shown leadership.
You will set the stage for healing and re-uniting this country which is split right through the middle. You would have enabled the country to begin some serious soul searching for national reconciliation.
Great leaders are often called to take unpalatable decisions. The most enduring and defining quality of good leadership is the ability to distinguish between personal and national interests.
The Phumaphi Commission provides the best opportunity to right what is wrong in this country. It is the best opportunity for us to kick-start national dialogue to move this country forward.
If the report recommends that some among us must fall on our very sharp swords, so let it be. As we have now experienced, court efforts to stall it were not only untenable, they were dump. The Basotho nation is greater than the individual interests of some among us. Go for it.
Do the right thing Ntate Mosisili. I know you can do the right thing Mr Size Two. You are on the cusp of doubling your size so that no other politician can never be able to fill your shoes again.
Prime minister Pakalitha mosisili