My leader was ill-ad­vised on the Gup­tas

Lesotho Times - - Opinion & Analysis -

I MUST say that I took spe­cial in­ter­est in the opinion ar­ti­cle pub­lished in last week’s is­sue of the Le­sotho Times ti­tled “Was Prime Min­is­ter Mo­sisili right to kick out the Gup­tas as spe­cial ad­vi­sors?”

My in­ter­est stems from the fact that as a com­mit­ted mem­ber of the rul­ing Demo­cratic Congress (DC), I have been wreck­ing my brains, try­ing to un­der­stand the school of thought that my leader, Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili, was com­ing from when he made the de­ci­sion to strip the Gupta fam­ily mem­bers of their diplo­matic pass­ports, is­sued them by for­mer premier Thomas Tha­bane.

I am de­lighted to note that it was not only I who was shell-shocked and gob smacked, by the premier’s seem­ingly mis­in­formed move.

Yes, Dr Tha­bane did in­deed is­sue the Gupta fam­ily pa­tri­arch Atul Ku­mar Gupta and his nephew Essa Omar Aziz, with Le­sotho diplo­matic pass­ports, to give them cre­dence af­ter ap­point­ing them as his In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Ad­vi­sors, rea­son­ing that due to their wealth and far-reach­ing in­flu­ence, they were the per­fect can­di­dates to at­tract in­vest­ment for Le­sotho from the Mid­dle-east and else­where.

I will not even go into how you my leader en­gi­neered for the diplo­matic pass­ports to be re­voked or how For­eign Af­fairs Min­is­ter Tlo­hang Sekhamane crit­i­cised the move, even go­ing short of say­ing it was “il­le­gal” back in the days when the now rul­ing Demo­cratic Congress (DC), was lan­guish­ing in the op­po­si­tion wilder­ness.

Well, I will also, like the au­thor of last week’s opinion piece, un­equiv­o­cally state that Dr Mo­sisili, re­voked the diplo­matic pass­ports through Home Af­fairs Min­is­ter Lekhetho Rakuoane, un­der the mis­guided no­tion that Dr Tha­bane’s de­ci­sion to is­sue them in the first place was “short of il­le­gal and cor­rupt”.

But who are the Gup­tas re­ally? Are they re­ally the peo­ple you have de­lib­er­ately been mis­in­formed to “think” they are; “al­legedly cor­rupt and shady”, the same mise­d­u­ca­tion your trusted team of lieu­tenants have used to rec­om­mend you to de­clare their cit­i­zen­ship null and void.

My firm view is that Ntate Mo­sisili was de­lib­er­ately mis­in­formed about the Gup­tas, and the premier acted with­out es­tab­lish­ing the truth. I dare say the Gup­tas are not bad for my Demo­cratic Congress and in­deed my gov­ern­ment.

The crit­i­cal ques­tion is what is the cost of the fore­gone or what econ­o­mists will re­fer to as op­portu- nity cost in this case po­lit­i­cal op­por­tunism.

Did you ever even for once­sisili, con­sider the con­se­quences of jeop­ar­dis­ing what had the po­ten­tial to be the best strate­gic re­la­tion­ship of your po­lit­i­cal ca­reer es­pe­cially at this point in time when my DC is clearly shaken by the rise of other po­lit­i­cal par­ties such as the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion, un­less I am not read­ing the chang­ing po­lit­i­cal land­scape prop­erly.

I will pose a few but very per­ti­nent ques­tions which I be­lieve will urge you my beloved Dr. Mo­sisili, to re­think this de­ci­sion and start to very se­ri­ously con­sider invit­ing the Gup­tas for eco­nomic in­vest­ment.

Be­sides, Dr Mo­sisili you and the Gup­tas do not know each from Adam and have there­fore never fought over any­thing, apart from the fact that you were irked by Dr Tha­bane’s de­ci­sion to is­sue them with diplo­matic pass­ports.

But, through it all, did you ever con­sider that by alien­at­ing the Gup­tas, you were creat­ing am­ple room for them to sym­pa­thise with Dr Tha­bane’s All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) and thus give him an edge over congress par­ties?

Dr Mo­sisili, we can­not turn a blind eye to the fact that the ABC has grown in leaps and bounds, es­pe­cially in the last elec­tion, and that its growth def­i­nitely means our congress par­ties sup­port has been eroded at the grass­roots.

From the per­spec­tive of some­one who is a DC sup­porter, I am yet to un­der­stand why my leader re­jected the Gup­tas in the first place.

I can as­sure you Ntate, as some­one who loves you and the DC with a pas­sion, if you don’t re­con­sider your stance and con­tinue snub­bing the Gup­tas — I dare say for ab­so­lutely no rea­son, you are open­ing up the flood­gates to them look­ing at the ABC as a cred­i­ble al­ter­na­tive.

To be hon­est with you Ntate Mo­sisili, I will never un­der­stand, un­less you help out here, why you can­not ex­tend a peace-pipe to the Gup­tas, whom you have never fought with, yet you were quick to make peace with your Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Metsing, the man who pushed you to jump ship and form the DC, leav­ing him at the helm of the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD).

It is no se­cret that there was bad blood and open an­i­mos­ity be­tween the two of you but through the power of di­a­logue and com­pro­mise, here you are today, hold­ing the reins of Le­sotho’s gov­ern­ment with your for­mer neme­sis Metsing’s help.

Why then can you not, en­gage in di­a­logue with the Gup­tas, un­der­stand them for who they are and not the per­cep­tion and im­age of them cre­ated by the South African me­dia and the in­fight­ing within the rul­ing African Na­tional Congress (ANC)?

Should you not try to find out what they have to bring on the ta­ble, while at the same time forg­ing what will likely be a po­lit­i­cally vi­able and strate­gic re­la­tion­ship of your po­lit­i­cal ca­reer?

And be­fore I for­get my good leader, be­ing the vi­sion­ary leader that we know you to be, you are very much aware that the cur­rent coali­tion gov­ern­ment is not ex­actly a per­fect po­si­tion.

By virtue of be­ing in a sev­en­party coali­tion gov­ern­ment, your strength is ques­tion­able, your weak­nesses are ex­posed to all and sundry and your threats are lim­it­less.

There is a say­ing in strat­egy “you know you have strat­egy when you know what you are not go­ing to do”. The Gup­tas are both a threat and an op­por­tu­nity to my DC. In DC and my leader I trust. As the old adage goes Ntate Mo­sisili “One word to the wise is enough.”

Tharollo Litabe.

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