If I were Ntate Motsoahae
. . . I would head to Ha-abia yesterday
HOPEFULLY, you all had a good Easter break and you are all back to your respective stations fired up. I am sticking to my subject about the critical need for the opposition and all their leaders to return to Parliament forthwith. This has been my subject for several weeks now for very good reasons. Once again, congratulations (or for the sake of emphasis; congradulations) to all you opposition Members of Parliament (MPS) who listened to my advice and agreed to return to the august house.
In my last column, I chose to publish in full a letter I received from All Basotho Convention (ABC) MP Monaphati Moraka, who had taken umbrage with my own opposition to the opposition’s continued boycott of Parliament.
It’s clear that Ntate Moraka misunderstood my position and I wish to revisit the subject to clear the air with him and other opposition parliamentarians.
Firstly, I have never said that the boycott of Parliament by the opposition parties was a useless strategy. I also never said your reasons of embarking on the boycott were flimsy. I need all of you opposition MPS to understand this. For us to have credible robust debate, we ought to understand each other and avoid putting words into each other’s mouths.
Indeed the circumstances which forced you to embark on the boycott were legitimate and understandable. Remember, I was the first to speak loudly and clearly against the violence unleashed on unsuspecting Basotho resulting in Ntate Maaparankoe’s demise. It is because of this outspokenness that I have now asked for official SADC protection as my life is in grave danger.
While the circumstances and background of your boycott strategy were understandable, what I said was that the boycott had ceased to be a viable strategy for addressing your concerns.
By their very nature, strategies must evolve in line with the objectives they are aimed at achieving. If you stick to a strategy which is not producing the desired results, then you are inexorably bound to fail.
In this case, the boycott strategy was clearly not working and you needed to change tack. I argued that a boycott cannot be an end in itself but a means to an end. If it ceases to be the means of achieving an end, then the strategy must evolve.
You all know one Morgan Tsvangirai from Zimbabwe. He has been repeatedly bashed by Robert Mugabe and defeated in rigged elections. Instead of changing tactics, Tsvangirai has continued participating in those rigged elections only to complain loudly after defeat. The result is he has delegitimised himself and legitimised Mugabe’s crookedness.
In your case, the boycott had served its purpose and my view was that you were better off evolving your strategies and getting back to Parliament to, not only do what you were elected to do, but to use the very public and legitimate platform of Parliament to fight for what you want. You could have continued to boycott Parliament until Jesus comes (to quote one Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma) but without achieving anything.
And what if Ntate Mosisili had elected to call your bluff and convene by elections in your constituencies over your continued absenteeism as mandated by the Constitution. Would you still have boycotted those elections and lost your seats?
It’s simply not correct for Ntate Moraka or any Mp for that matter to suggest that I trashed your grievances. I never trashed your grievances or your initial strategy. I came out in opposition to your strategy when I felt it had outlived its usefulness. It’s also not true that I ever said you were idle during your boycott. You probably were busy with various engagements. The problem is that when you fight a political battle, it must be visible. You cannot fight a political war in your own backyard. The world won’t notice. The voters won’t notice.
Which all leads me to my point of this week. If I were Ntate Motsoahae, I would ask Liabiloe to pack all my pyjamas, cross the Ficksburg/maputsoe border and catch the next four by four to Maseru soon after reading this article.
Again, I must emphasize that I am not trashing the reasons why Ntate Thabane, Ntate ‘Maseribane and Auntie Keke fled to South Africa. But the critical question remains: Is their continued self-exile serving any purpose anymore, particularly for their political durability and purpose. My honest answer is no.
In calling for the opposition to head back home, particularly Ntate Thabane who is the official leader of the opposition, I am simply using logic and common sense.
In remarks to this newspaper last week, Ntate Thabane made it clear that he will not return until His Infinite Majesty King Kamoli of the Lesotho Defence Force is fired. Ntate Thabane reasons that as soon as he lands in Maseru, King Kamoli will instruct men under his command to kill him. I have serious problems with this reasoning which I think defies all common sense.
Firstly, while it might be true that King Kamoli would rather have Ntate Thabane in the high heavens, I don’t think he would be so rash as to want to kill a popular official opposition leader. I am only using logic here and correct me if I am wrong.
I think that’s all because King Kamoli recognises the severe consequences of killing Ntate Thabane.
If King Kamoli really wants to bump off Ntate Thabane, why can’t he just sent his men to do it in Ficksburg?
I have always contended that Ficksburg was never a good hiding place. It’s too close for King Kamoli to dispatch a drone and take out Ntate Motsoahae without anybody noticing. From where I sit, I think it would be much easier for King Kamoli to target Ntate Mosohae in Ficksburg or anywhere in South Africa and just attribute it to that country’s astronomical crime levels in which a woman is raped every three seconds and a person murdered every two seconds. So I think Ntate Motsoahae is better off in Lesotho than Ficksburg.
Secondly, King Kamoli will know that if he kills Ntate Thabane, this country will explode. We are talking of a man who has sustainably increased his support base since the launch of his ABC in 2007 and who won about half the popular vote in the last general elections. We are talking of a man who counts Jacob Zuma and the Guptas among his friends. We are talking of a man who once summonsed an entire contingent of SADC guards to protect him. We are talking of an immensely handsome ex-prime minister who is a magnet for not only women, but multitudes of supporters. Who would dare kill such a man?
Thirdly, King Kamoli already has his hands full over the killing of Ntate Maaparankoe by men under his command. SADC’S Phumaphi commission has called for King Kamoli’s head. So why would he want to add another burden onto himself by killing a man who is much more popular and internationally recognised. I just don’t see it making sense for King Kamoli to undertake such a mission.
Fourthly, King Kamoli will know that he is better off with Ntate Thabane here performing his duties as official leader of the opposition. The more democratic normalcy returns to Lesotho, the more people will forget past atrocities and allow the nation to move on. So why would King Kamoli want to bring the spotlight on himself and his LDF again by targeting a popular opposition leader instead of letting the politicians tear each other apart in Parliament once Ntate Thabane returns.
Fifthly, I don’t think Ntate Mosisili is ever going to fire King Kamoli as exhorted by SADC. Not least because Ntate Kamoli has evolved into becoming His Infinite Majesty, but also because Ntate Mosisili will never find a messenger willing to deliver a dismissal letter to Makoanyane Barracks.
Who would ever dare undertake such a dangerous mission? Does this therefore mean that if King Kamoli rules the LDF for the next decade, Ntate Thabane will then effectively become a citizen of Ficksburg?
Just like the boycott of Parliament strategy became obsolete, I think the exile strategy has also become obsolete. Now for the sake of emphasis, and for the benefit of Ntate Moroka, I am not invalidating the reasons why Ntate Thabane and others fled into exile. He had legitimate reasons to do so. What I am invalidating are the reasons of his not wanting to return.
Me genuinely thinks that King Kamoli will not dare kill Ntate Thabane nor dispatch any men to perform the task on His Infinite Majesty’s own behalf as alleged by Ntate Thabane. I believe so for the reasons I have stated above. I am only using logic and common sense. Of course, some of you will argue that logic does not exist in the LDF. I beg to differ. A wise general fights one battle at a time. I genuinely think that King Kamoli and his cohorts know that. They would rather bump off Thabo Thakalekoala, as very few or nobody will notice, than the hugely popular Ntate Motsohae. I am not encouraging them to do that because all life is valuable.
But the consequences of Ntate Motsohae’s prolonged exile are too ghastly to contemplate. Both for his party and his political future. These are glaringly clear even to the blind.
The more he stays out, the more he loses his grip over his party. After all, the ABC is a personification of Ntate Thabane. He is the epitome and embodiment of the party. Remember the time he wanted to pull a Kamuzu Banda and actually declare himself life president of the ABC? The party needs him in as much as he needs the party.
Ntate Thabane is better off fighting his opponents in Parliament and on their doorsteps in Lesotho by convening those huge rallies. He is better off galvanising support for his party ahead of the 2020 plebiscite. He is better of sizing up Mr Size Two in Parliament. For his political sake, Cyclone Tom is worse off in Ficksburg.
The more he stays away, the more the ABC centre is likely to unravel. The more his opponents will eat into his support base. The more his party will lose its edge, luster and patina. If I were Ntate Thabane, I would pack my bags soon after reading this free advisory and catch the next bus to Maseru.
On a lighter note, Ntate Thabane will soon celebrate his 76th or 77th birthday. When I reach that age myself, I will not so much worry about King Kamoli and death. I will instead worry about my legacy. Boxing and knocking off Mr Size Two in the National Assembly is a much better legacy than hiding in a very unsafe Ficksburg.
With advance apologies to Ntate Moraka if my wisdom here has caused you more offence… Ache!!!
abc leader Thomas Thabane