Of politicians and their myopia
The present leadership is equally competent, and visionary, it is only that for some imperceptible reason it is clinging on to policies and a vision that is counter-productive and it insidiously if not arrested, leading our country to junk status, for lack of a better term
THE public sphere is abuzz with quotes from our leaders that are not only disturbing, unfortunate and distressing but quite myopic in the extreme.
I was particularly disturbed by the following quotes, in seriatim:
“It is better to mis-govern ourselves than be governed (correctly) by foreigners.”
On the face of it, this statement might sound magnanimous and humble but to a seasoned politician it is counter-productive and smacks of the antiquated dis-proven rhetoric of the former liberation fighters in colonial Africa, including South Africa and disturbingly Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe, who symbolizes the common characteristic of African leaders who cling on to power irrespective of their obvious past their sell-by-date.
This statement demonstrates a leader who sub-consciously acknowledges that he is misgoverning a country thereby leading his people to perdition through his untenable and destructive policies but nevertheless who feels it is his divine right endowed only on him to mis-govern his country. This statement encapsulates a leader who feels that he is indispensable to the political landscape of his country.
Unfortunately, such leaders are disingenuous to the sad reality that with the passage of time there are young capable leaders with new vision and policies that can lead to their respective countries to the betterment of their people.
Unfortunately, as earlier alluded to, Lesotho is not alone in this malaise. This is a common thread that runs through virtually all African leaders.
The second segment of this quote, which owing to lack of space I did not quote in extenso, reiterates that being governed by foreigners is an antithesis to self-government and independence. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The sad reality is that realizing that his policies no longer pass the developmental muster this leader instead of moving from his impracticable policies disingenuously cast the blame on foreigners. The truth of the matter is there is a dire need for fresh ideas and policies from leaders with new vision taking the country forward.
In a tone reminiscent of leaders of modern post-apartheid South Africa who blame the white supremacists for all their unworkable policies and insidious plundering of the country’s wealth, our leaders stress the sovereignty of Lesotho while our country is in effect regressing. They blame all these unfortunate scenarios on rhetoric such as Lesotho is an independent country that gained it status through the blood of our forefathers. This they continue blaming on foreigners.
In a scenario that is reminiscent of the difference between day and night and is hypocritical in the extreme, the very next day because our leaders have run the country to ground economically owing to their unimaginative policies they take on a charm offensive on the very same foreigners for assistance that they so vehemently launched a vitriolic attack on for the self- inflicted misfortunes of their nation that was brought about by their own ill-fated policies.
I am not advocating that Lesotho should be re-colonized but rather that my motherland should be governed properly by leaders with fresh ideas and new vision. Indeed, I hasten to add, the present leadership is equally competent, and visionary, it is only that for some imperceptible reason it is clinging on to policies and a vision that is counter-productive and it insidiously if not arrested, leading our country to junk status, for lack of a better term.
Our country will soon degenerate into a pariah state yet our leadership wants to cast the blame on foreigners. All that is needed to extricate our country from this morass is simply to embrace democratic ideals and laissez-faire policies on the economic front in addition to creating an investor-friendly environment and creating job opportunities for Basotho.
“Theirs is a very unfortunate guest because if it is collapse (AGOA),… will not be individually affected or any of the ministers. Those who will suffer are people working in textile factories who will lose their jobs as a result”.
This quote demonstrates egotism at its most potent and worst form. It defies logic, common sense, humility, leadership qualities, compassion and above all else, vision for a leader to even dream of uttering these words.
For purpose of clarity, let me recite this anecdote: a captain is by convention, supposed to be the last person, to abandon a stricken ship. Yet in this scenario, owing to his ill-fated policies and stewardship, the captain of our imaginary ship, Lesotho, upon realizing that the ship is inevitably listing later to be wholly submerged under the sea, barring a miracle, shouts over the public address system to all passengers on board, that because of the inescapable demise of the vessel, he is leaving them in an inflatable boat so they may all meet their watery grave. As for
him and his colleagues, he shouts, they will be safe on dry land.
Politicians, by virtue of being elected to public office by popular vote as in Lesotho, ought to feel pity for the fate that will seemingly befall us the ordinary citizens who for the life of me, are not the author of the crisis that this impoverished nation is teetering towards unless something drastic and remedial is undertaken by our leaders to salvage the inevitable demise of this nation.
Yet, lo and behold; some politician with seemingly no compassion has the audacity to warn the poor Basotho that he and his colleagues will not suffer. They will continue living their lifestyle irrespective of whatever ensues, AGOA or no AGOA.
The hurt on us poor Basotho, becomes unbearable when we consider that the crisis is not of our making and that these self-same politicians occupy those lofty positions because of our combined vote.
They miss the point that the withdrawal of AGOA will reverberate across the entire Basotho nation including government revenue on which they survive, taking a telling knock.
The consequences will be too ghastly to contemplate as the old overused cliché goes, and have far-reaching repercussions on our employment opportunities, crime rate, moral degeneration, funding of social upliftment programmes, stability and overall governance. The withdrawal of AGOA for this politician, to know, will only compound problems for Basotho and their government. Maybe he is taking a cue from Zimbabwe, Swaziland and others that no longer benefit from AGOA.
However, unbeknown to him, these countries’ economics are far stronger that our beloved Lesotho’s.
Ominously, they no longer practice anything close to democracy, accountable and transparent govern- ments that observe the rule of law and protect human rights.
All those governments are autocratic to maintain their leaders in power.
We cannot wish this scenario on Lesotho. Period!
In conclusion, all these quotes clearly demonstrate how our democratic ideals and aspirations as espoused in our Constitution for the betterment of all of us Basotho, and in relations with other countries and the world, are slowly being eroded at the expense of convenience to a few politicians. This can be summed up in one word: Myopia.