If I were Ntate Mot­soa­hae

. . . I would head to Ha-abia yes­ter­day

Lesotho Times - - Scru­ta­tor -

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!!!

Ache!!!

abc leader Thomas Tha­bane

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