Thank You Ntate Sekata . . .
TO be a politician is to develop a generally fractious relationship with the truth. Which explains why the great philosopher Henry Adams once trenchantly commented that “practical politics consists in ignoring facts”. Truthful politicians are as rare as a pink mongoose.
It therefore becomes a huge source of relief when once in a while, we encounter a truthful and honest politician.
Ntate Teboho Sekata, the spokesman of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), is an honest politician. Or at least he has elected to be honest on one critical issue that has been vexing all and sundry.
At a press conference in Maseru last week, Ntate Sekata confirmed what we have all suspected but what no other politician has had the audacity to admit publicly; that King Kamoli is not going to vacate his crown as proposed by SADC. For this, I say thank you Ntate.
The LCD is a central player in the coalition government. In fact it is the Kingmaker. Since our fairly eccentric electoral system is unlikely to produce one outright winner in the foreseeable future, we can take it as given that the LCD will occupy this Kingmaker role for some time to come. So, if it is the LCD’S view that King Kamoli stays put, we can take it as given that that view represents the entire seven party coalition’s perspective as the coalition would implode without the LCD.
For all those who missed last week’s issue of the Lesotho Times, this is what Ntate Sekata had to say in summary; l Lieutenant-general Tlali Kamoli is here to stay and no amount of pressure would force the coalition to fire him.
• Lt-gen Kamoli would remain head of the military until Lesotho goes to the polls in 2020.
l If exiled opposition leaders continue insisting on Lt-gen Kamoli’s dismissal as a precondition for their return, then they might as well stay in South Africa for the next four years until the country holds its next scheduled general elections.
l Civic groups that protested last week and demanded speedier implementation of SADC recommendations were wasting their time.
The demand that King Kamoli vacates his lofty crown is central to the recommendations authored by the stubborn Justice Mphaphi Phumaphi. The mighty King’s removal is “in the interest of restoring trust and acceptance of the Lesotho Defence Force to the Basotho nation…….”, opined Justice Phumaphi.
Bontate Mosisili, Metsing and Mokhosi, the Premier, Deputy Premier and Defence Minister in that corresponding order have been coy and diffident about addressing this key issue.
When Ntate Mosisili grudgingly accepted the SADC report and released it to parliament in February, his exact words were; “A mere glance at some of the recommendations indicates that they are implementable immediately, whereas others will take time, and still others may not see the light of day.”
It was left to all and sundry to speculate about which recommendations may not see the light of day. But there could be no prizes for guessing that the proposal for the King to be dethroned was one such that could probably never see the light of day.
Curious reporters had tried to prod Bontate Mosisili, Metsing and Mokhosi to explain if indeed and when King Kamoli could be dethroned but to no avail.
We now know from Ntate Sekata that the King is going nowhere and will remain ensconced in his imperial chair until the rivers start flowing upwards in the mountains of Qacha. The only way to alter this reality is if a new government excluding the current coalition partners comes to power in 2020, according to Ntate Sekata.
So, this is the reality we are faced with. Any attempts to discredit Ntate Sekata, in the manner that ABC spokesman Tefo Mapesela, tried to do are very unhelpful. In- stead let’s thank Ntate Sekata for putting us right into the brain of the coalition.
Describing Ntate Sekata’s comments as unfortunate, Ntate Mapesela demanded that the government explains if it had mandated the LCD to speak on its behalf.
“Sekata has no authority to be saying all this. There were many recommendations made by the Commission of Inquiry so why does he think we are only interested in this particular one which calls for Kamoli’s removal?” queried Ntate Mapesela.
My question to Ntate Mapesela is simple. Which planet have you descended from? Haven’t Uncle Tom, Ntate Thesele and Auntie Keke made it clear that they will not return from exile until King Kamoli is no longer reigning at the LDF?
Technically Ntate Mapesela is right that Ntate Sekata cannot speak for government. But Ntate Sekata has every right to speak for his party and its positions in the ruling coalition.
The next critical question is thus: What next for Lesotho with King Kamoli here to stay?
Does this mean that national reconciliation will remain elusive, with the opposition leaders remaining in exile until 2020 or presumably beyond as the King is on the throne for the long haul? Does this mean Lesotho keeps the middle finger against key international partners who have demanded the LDF King’s ouster?
Does this mean that we tell SADC, which wants to see all the recommendations implemented to go jump? Does this mean that we also repel the African Union (AU), which has now joined the bandwagon of demanding implementation of the recommendations, to go and jump into the deepest part of the very deep blue sea?
Does this mean that the opposition leaders opt for permanent exile and basically forfeit their leadership roles of their parties?
What strategy can the opposition and civic groups resort to to achieve the King’s ouster? Does this mean all those clamouring for the King’s ouster should drop this demand and just focus on implementation of other recommendations?
Iwelcome your answers to these questions. My own position on King Kamoli has always been very clear. Lesotho will be far better off if King Kamoli is seconded permanently to help the international coalition fighting Islamic State in Syria or alternatively the Boko Haram Islamic terrorists?
Those ruthless radical Islamic terrorists who decapitate the heads of opponents need their match? Who better to derail them than the King himself?
With King Kamoli on that noble mission, we can create room for national healing and reconciliation. When he finally returns, we may have become a nation at peace with itself.
Alternatively, if the Russians won’t see value in inviting the King to help them in the Isil war, a solution can come from King Kamoli himself by a simple one sentence note addressed to the Basotho nation saying
“My fellow countrymen, I seem to have become an albatross around the neck of this great nation.
“I am quitting voluntarily to create space for dialogue needed to move this country forward on condition that there are no recriminations against me…….. yours Truly — King Kamoli The First.”
If that were to happen, I promise I will be the first in line to donate money for the King to go on a permanent holiday in the Seychelles?
But since there is a better chance of you getting struck by lightning than having any of these two options happen, Henry Adams is again right in defining politics as the systematic organisation of hatreds.
Our country certainly faces an uncertain future? For now, thank you Ntate Sekata for telling the truth. At least it helps all and sundry in crucial decision making.