Open letter to the prime minister
RIGHT Honourable Prime Minister, let me first humbly request your indulgence to address you as Your Excellency, if only to preserve space in this letter. Second, this might appear a bit unconventional and bordering on the presumptuous, kindly exercise your prerogative to consider this open letter as a genuine unpretentious attempt to bring to the fore issues of national importance that surely need your urgent attention and intervention.
This unprecedented move is also necessitated by my genuine realization that owing to your undoubted excellent academic qualifications, genuine desire to promote the welfare of the entire Basotho nation and no doubt, your genuine desire, Your Excellency, to get the attitude of us, the man in the street and their ilk, on issues of national importance.
No doubt, owing to the magnitude of your huge responsibilities, on matters of state, you might not have the time to read this morsel of advice.
However, I have no doubt again that because you have around you technocrats of huge expertise who are paid specifically from the national purse to advice Your Excellency, when matters go awry, they will, if you happen to miss this correspondence, have the temerity to bring it to your attention so that you may act upon it.
Your Excellency will realize that, also with the advantage of abundant experience in the highest office in the land, the tenure of ministers in his Majesty’s government depend on Your Excellency’s pleasure. By extension, you have every right to bring to order any minister who fails to execute his mandate and responsibilities for the benefit of this nation and therefore erodes the confidence of the nation in Your Excellency’s efforts.
Your Excellency, I am fortified in this view by my reading of section 87 (3) and (4) of the Constitution which states that: “There shall be, in addition to the office of the Prime Minister such other offices of the Minister of the Government of Lesotho (not being less than seven in number and one of which shall be the office of Deputy Prime Minister) as may be established by Parliament or, subject to any provisions made by Parliament, by the King, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister”.
“The King shall, acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister, appoint the other Ministers from among the members of the National Assembly or from among the Senators who are nominated by the King under section 55 of this Constitution.”
Thus, the only person, Your Excellency, who can rein-in ministers if they go overboard or are plain incompetent by sleeping on the job, is yourself.
Your Excellency, there is this saga of the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC), wherein the responsible minister is having an extended public spat with the entire Board of Directors including the Principal Secretary of his ministry.
All of us know that the LNDC is the investment and trade flagship of the Lesotho government, a behemoth that Your Excellency heads.
Therefore, literally thousands of jobs of Basotho depend on a seamless LNDC that is at peace with itself and has inter-corporate relations that are as calm as the Dead Sea, if you excuse my French.
In addition, reputable international credit ratings agencies, Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch, have in recent months, downgraded Lesotho’s credit ratings thereby in effect warning international investors about committing their investment into our fragile untrustworthy economy.
Naturally, the LNDC, as your gov- ernment’s investment arm, ought to be at the forefront of restoring, and soliciting foreign investors’ confidence in our fragile economy.
The LNDC saga, without a doubt, requires you to bring the warring parties to order, whether collectively or separately.
I do not doubt your abilities and leadership qualities. How else can you be the longest-serving democratically-elected Prime Minister if you did not have these qualities in abundance.
Tell them in no uncertain terms that Lesotho is far bigger than them. That this impoverished nation deserves better.
That the LNDC is the fulcrum around which Lesotho’s formal economy revolves. I hold in high regard the minister and principal secretary, considering their undoubted track record and profiles in the fields of commerce, finance and related fields, internationally at that.
To justify these appointment by Your Excellency, it is worth mentioning that this minister (which you no doubt considered in appointing) has invaluable experience and qualification as the Special Advisor to the former chief of the International Monetary Fund.
This is no lesser influential job and responsibility by any standards, let alone internationally, where the bar is even raised higher and the pool of candidates is much wider. He is therefore without doubt a man of great expertise and a highly educated expert in his own right.
His PS, with his entire Board, is a former executive of a major commercial bank in South Africa, for both these experts to hold these lofty positions, Your Excellency, says a lot about their credentials, capabilities as well as their qualifications.
Without a doubt, they are therefore capable of leading the LNDC and therefore create a conducive environment for investors into our fragile economy.
Your Excellency, therefore, I urge you to bring them to order. Make them aware that their egos have to take a back seat to the bigger national interest.
If this saga is not stopped and amicably settled soonest this undoubtedly will further wreck Lesotho’s battered economy.
Fortunately, as you are an avid Christian, refer them to Mark 3:24-25, which says: If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand”.
In effect the moral behind these seminal words is that an institution that is experiencing infighting is inevitably destined for selfdestruction and utter ruin.