Con­ver­sa­tions with par­rots

Lesotho Times - - Opinion & Analysis -

what they have been go­ing through.

They vowed that the Phumaphi re­port would not be ac­cepted and pub­lished un­til Lieu­tenant-colonel Tefo Hashatsi’s case (to have the SADC in­quiry de­clared il­le­gal) was fi­nalised in the Le­sotho courts.

Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili brought the re­port from Gaborone, Botswana on 19 Jan­uary 2016 and had it pub­lished soon af­ter.

They vowed that they were not bound to im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions of the Phumaphi re­port. Af­ter one week of a fu­tile shut­tle diplo­macy by Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing to Botswana and Mozam­bique, the deputy pre­mier ended up telling the me­dia that the gov­ern­ment will im­ple­ment the rec­om­men­da­tions.

Af­ter declar­ing that op­po­si­tion po­lit­i­cal party lead­ers in ex­ile had no cred­i­ble rea­son for flee­ing the coun­try, the gov­ern­ment has been fever­ishly ne­go­ti­at­ing for the re­turn of those lead­ers with se­cu­rity in line with the let­ter by Mozam­bi­can Pres­i­dent Felipe Nyusi to Dr Mo­sisili.

In­ci­den­tally, the pro­pa­gan­dists have, at the same time, ar­gued that Mr Nyusi has no cred­i­bil­ity in the Le­sotho mat­ter since Mozam­bique has its own in­ter­nal dif­fi­cul­ties lead­ing to some peo­ple tak­ing refuge in Malawi.

What this es­sen­tially means is that state pro­pa­ganda points to the op­po­site di­rec­tion to what re­al­ity is. But as this di­ver­gence in­creases, the shriller be­comes their at­tacks against whomever they see as dis­agree­ing with their delu­sional per­spec­tives.

But for mis­in­for­ma­tion to be ef­fec­tive, it must be in­tel­li­gently driven rather than con­coct facts and hope that what one puts in the me­dia will be taken as the truth.

It is important to em­pha­sise putting out

in­for­ma­tion to the pub­lic arena re­quires a bit of in­tel­li­gence and skill.

These are not the at­tributes which some of the gov­ern­ment pro­pa­gan­dists have. Theirs is merely to say what they be­lieve their em­ploy­ers would like to hear.

It is this that makes it dif­fi­cult to have sen­si­ble con­ver­sa­tions about Le­sotho pol­i­tics with those who see their job as de­fend­ing po­si­tions rather than pro­vid­ing cred­i­ble in­for­ma­tion.

The con­ver­sa­tion which has emerged in the past few months or so on Le­sotho pol­i­tics has been marred by peo­ple who mean to de­ceive rather than to in­form.

It is a con­ver­sa­tion which goes be­yond talk­ing to the wall. It is one where ig­no­rance and de­ceit pre­dom­i­nate.

For some, the important thing is to par­rot what­ever they think will please their em­ploy­ers. It is a con­ver­sa­tion with id­iots and par­rots rather than a dis­cus­sion with peers.

l Se­jana­mane is a pro­fes­sor of Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence at the Na­tional Univer­sity of Le­sotho.

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