My leader was ill-advised on the Guptas
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 once Dr.mosisili, 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.”