On second thoughts, Phumaphi was wrong
PRIME Minister Pakalitha Mosisili last week released the Mpaphi Phumaphi Commission report and described some of its recommendations as really, really, really good while he condemned others. That’s his prerogative.
Ntate Mosisili promised to implement some of the report’s recommendations forthwith, some in the medium to long-term while others will — in Ntate Mosisili’s own words — never see the light of day. No prize for guessing that the recommendation to relieve King Kamoli of his duties is probably one such proposal that will never see the light of day.
That’s not the point however. The point here is Ntate Mosisili has released the report, tabled it for debate and accepted at least some of its recommendations. It’s now for every Mosotho to debate the Prime Minister’s actions.
After the Prime Minister’s statement last week, Scrutator is therefore flummoxed and flabbergasted by Ntate Tefo Hashatsi’s determination to continue with his lone ranger fight to get the courts to completely nullify the Phumaphi report.
What point or interest is Ntate Hashatsi trying to serve? Which interests is he trying to protect seeing that the report is now in the public domain and the debate should now be on the legitimacy, or lack thereof, of Ntate Mosisili’s decision to cherry pick which recommendations to implement?
There is a school of thought, which lady Scrutator subscribes to — as she argued last week that the national interest would have been better served by implementing all the recommendations. That should be the main focus of any debate.
Ntate Hashatsi lost his initial court bid to have the Phumaphi report nullified. That was to be expected. I had predicted that Ntate Hashatsi was a recipient of jaundiced legal advice. But that is where the matter should have ended. However, on the same day last week that he lost his court case, and with evangelical zeal, Ntate Hashatsi lodged an appeal.
I am perplexed that Ntate Hashatsi is not letting matters lying down and has now taken his case to the Appeal Court. What interest or purpose is to be served by this appeal seeing that Ntate Mosisili has pronounced on this matter and the debate should now be on the correctness or wrongfulness of the Prime Minister’s choices regarding the Phumaphi report?
Is it not better for Ntate Hashatsi to devote his time and energies to helping in the current lethargic fight against crime by deploying his special forces to trace the ever growing band of trigger happy criminals who are terrorizing innocent Basotho and gunning them down willy-nilly. Only this week, four Basotho revelers were gunned down in a senseless cold blood shooting.
Alternatively, is it not better for Ntate Hashatsi to spend his time making love, seeing that he recently snatched a beauty from far flung Botswana, than expending energies on this futile and unhelpful court case.
One reason why Ntate Hashatsi wants the Phumaphi Commission nullified is that it heard evidence in South Africa while it was established in terms of the laws of Lesotho.
This reason is not tragic. It’s simply hilarious. Surely does it matter whether this evidence was heard in Mokhotlong, Qacha, Juba (South Sudan), Siberia, the Russian steppes, or even on Planet Jupiter?
Is the location of where the evidence was heard more important than the substance of the evidence itself and the goal of healing the divisions tearing us apart? The only value of Ntate Hashatsi’s proposition is that if I ever commit murder and flee to a foreign place, I will refuse to be arrested as I can argue that the murder was committed in Lesotho and I should only be arrested on Lesotho soil.
Though it remains highly unlikely, let’s imagine that Ntate Hashatsi is lucky enough to stumble upon a judge high on Nyaope who grants his appeal. Has Ntate Hashatsi even thought about the consequences of any such success? What will become of this country if Phumaphi’s recommendations, that represent the best hope of moving this country forward, are nullified by court action? Would that not put this entire country’s future in jeopardy?
All I can do for now is to appeal to Ntate Hashatsi to try and put this country first. Let’s all be patriotic and get guided by the national interest.
However, there is some good that has come out of Ntate Hashatsi’s court action.
Scrutator has heard a rumour that whenever court papers bearing Ntate Hashatsi or King Kamoli’s names appear on the desk of any judge or magistrate, these judicial officers effectively wet their pants and some seek temporary exile in the mountains. This rumour is either misleading or merely unfounded as it now appears that there are men and women on the bench with nerves of steel.
One such man is none other the formidable and indefatigable Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi of the “car boots” fame. Remember the Judge’s wise words of wisdom when he was acting chief justice and condemned our many lawyers who operate their “law firms” from the boots of their second, third and sometimes fourth hand car imports from Japan. Judge Monaphathi’s words of wisdom still resonate with me.
As the universities churn more law graduates and as paying clients become fewer and fewer, Scrutator is informed that a new class of “car wash kiosk” and “coffee shop” lawyers is emerging. This is a new class of lawyers who cannot even afford to buy even the cheapest fifth hand (not even second hand) cars from Japan.
To hide the fact that they don’t have offices, these lawyers chaperon their clients to the coffee shops at Pioneer and Maseru lawyers under the pretext that they want to take instructions under a hospitable consultation environment. What these lawyers would be hiding is the fact that they don’t have offices. Not even the car boots from where to run their “law firm”.
One of the lawyers hit a snag recently when his card bounced and was unable to pay his M129 bill. The same client he was trying to impress ended up paying the bill and never returned to that “lawyer” again. That is the law of unintended consequences. The car wash kiosk lawyers typically lie to their clients that they are just getting their cars washed and the client should visit them at a car wash stall or kiosk.
A typical car wash “lawyer” will then point to any car in the washing bay as his or hers while taking in- structions from the client. One such “lawyer” was exposed and humiliated when the real owner of the car left in a washing bay after receiving an emergency call and drove off in a hurry.
I sincerely hope Ntate Hashatsi is not receiving legal advice from any such “coffee shop” or “car wash kiosk” lawyers. If he is indeed serious about his court case, then Ntate Hashatsi is a practitioner of realpolitik.
Ihave been singing praises of Judge Phumaphi’s recommendations and suggested that the best way of moving this country forward is to implement them all. But on second thoughts, I think the good judge from Botswana was wrong. Of course not for the reasons advanced by Ntate Hashatsi but because he could have done better in formulating the recommendations.
Surely, Ntate Phumaphi and his fellow commissioners should have foreseen that the central recommendation to dismiss King Kamoli from his ivory tower at the LDF would put Ntate Mosisili and his coalition government in an invidious and unenviable position.
I am not surprised if this recommendation is one of those classified by Ntate Mosisili among those that will never see the light of day.
If I were Judge Phumaphi, I would have gone around this recommendation by simply advocating the total abolishment of the LDF. This would have relieved the Prime Minister of the unenviable task of having to be forced to act against the man whose actions propelled him back into power. Not least even contemplating whom he will have to send to the gallows by entrusting him/her with the task of delivering King Kamoli’s dismissal letter.
The duty of any army is to protect a nation against external enemies while the police force is responsible for internal policing matters or domestic law enforcement. Lesotho faces no threats from nobody as we are an entire colony of the Free State and Kwazulu Natal provinces, not even of entire South Africa.
If South Africa wants to invade, it will do so easily and overrun us with a fraction of a battalion. There will even be no point for King Kamoli and Ntate Hashatsi to offer any resistance against any invasion. That’s however unlikely. Why would South Africa want to invade us, especially under Jacob Zuma whose energies are forever expended on his favourite pastimes; singing, dancing, and philandering?
If we could not be invaded and overrun by successive repressive apartheid governments, why would a democratic government, even one owned and run by Zuma ever contemplate doing so? Equally, there is a more realistic chance of getting every member of the human race (more than 7 billion of us) get struck by lightning at one go, than having any other crossing South Africa to invade us.
Who would dare invade South Africa first, with all its military might, to reach us? It won’t happen.
With no LDF in place, we can create an effective para-military force run by trained and experienced policemen to take charge of internal policing issues. Disciplined cadres of the LDF can be conscripted into such a paramilitary force which can even retain the sexy acronym, LMPS.
This is the route that many small countries with no real external enemies nor real prospects of defending themselves against powerful neighbours have opted for. Costa Rica, Haiti and Grenada have no standing armies but limited military forces after undergoing deliberate demilitarization processes.
Other countries with no standing armies at all are Andorra, Dominica, Kiribati, Liechtenstein, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and the Vatican City. Countries with no standing armies but limited military forces to protect certain special interests like maritime activities are Iceland, Mauritius, Monaco, Panama and Vanuatu.
Some countries with no standing armies have signed treaties with others to protect them such as Andorra’s agreement with Spain and France. Australia is responsible for Nauru’s defence under an informal agreement between the two countries. The 8 000 member National Police Force is responsible for domestic law enforcement in Mauritius.
Imagine how happy Zuma would be if we decided that we are abolishing our LDF and outsourcing our national security to Pretoria just in case of a foreign invasion. Just consider how frustrated Zuma was the other day when he prematurely announced on t SABC that Lesotho would be suspended from SADC if Ntate Mosisili remained obstinate by not accepting the Phumaphi report.
South Africa would be more than happy to have a Lesotho at peace with itself, not a constant nuisance requiring Cyril Ramaphosa’s constant deployment at huge expense to the legitimate South African taxpayer excluding the Guptas.
All the countries mentioned above with no standing armies or with limited military forces have one thing in common. They are all prosperous with the exception of that constant, hopeless and hapless basket case: Haiti.
Just imagine for a moment a life in Lesotho without military coups (real or attempted), Prime Ministers being forced to flee across the borders at midnight in their underpants, a professional police force doing its work without the fear of being bombed, and a citizenry living in peace and harmony.
Imagine if the entire defence budget since independence had been used to build schools, hospitals, roads, houses, water and sewerage systems. None among us would be living in the capital Maseru and yet squatting over a pit latrine.
Judge Phumaphi was therefore wrong in singling out King Kamoli, instead of the entire LDF, to empower the Prime Minister with the requisite authority to take action without having to be seen as singling out the man whose controversial actions he benefited from.
Justice tšeliso Monaphathi.