Hunt­ing with the hares while run­ning with the hounds.....

Lesotho Times - - Scrutator -

In case you did not know, Toy­ota, the Japanese au­to­mo­bile multi­na­tional, has just com­mis­sioned a M6, 1 bil­lion new car as­sem­bly fac­tory in Dur­ban.

The new plant, com­mis­sioned by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma this week, will cre­ate about 4000 new jobs. The fac­tory is al­ready pro­duc­ing 550 new au­to­mo­biles a week. The fac­tory will pro­duce new Hilux and For­tuner mod­els.

While a coun­try next door is achiev­ing such a tremen­dous mile­stone, what are we do­ing in Le­sotho?

We are launch­ing a zil­lionth po­lit­i­cal party, the so called Demo­cratic Party of Le­sotho (DPL).

While this should not be sur­pris­ing, it is nev­er­the­less dis­ap­point­ing.

Ba­sotho have per­fected the art of pol­i­tick­ing. Splin­ter­ing and form­ing new po­lit­i­cal par­ties is not only a favourite pas­time. It has be­come our main re­li­gion.

My heart sinks. I am not op­posed to any­one ex­er­cis­ing their con­sti­tu­tional pre­rog­a­tive to form a po­lit­i­cal party to ad­vance their agen­das. I just don’t see how form­ing po­lit­i­cal par­ties will trans­form our Me­dieval King­dom and put food on the tables of all and sundry.

Imag­ine if Ba­sotho had the same pas­sion of form­ing vi­able com­pa­nies as they have for po­lit­i­cal par­ties. Le­sotho would by now be an in­dus­trial hub of Africa. The new Toy­ota plant opened in Prospec­ton, Dur­ban, and this week would most prob­a­bly have been com­mis­sioned in TY. We would then be as­sem­bling the dif­fer­ent brands of Toy­ota’s for ex­port to South Africa and the rest of the world. Just as the South Africans pro­duce BMWS and Mercedes Ben­zes for sale to Amer­ica.

It’s very easy to mo­bi­lize an in­ter­na­tional brand to set up shop in any coun­try, as long as the peo­ple in that coun­try are smart, hard­work­ing and per­se­ver­ant. Many Amer­i­can and Bri­tish com­pa­nies have moved their man­u­fac­tur­ing func­tions to China. For very good rea­sons of course. The Chi­nese are hard­work­ing, se­ri­ous and smart. The re­sult has been a boom­ing Chi­nese econ­omy for decades. In ex­cess of 400 mil­lion Chi­nese have now been lifted out of poverty.

Visit China and you will never en­counter any­one talk­ing pol­i­tics. Its work, work, work, work, work and more work.

Here we are fix­ated with pol­i­tics. We see pol­i­tics as the gate­way to pros­per­ity. So if we are not form­ing new po­lit­i­cal par­ties, we are at each other’s throats within the ex­ist­ing par­ties. Just wit­ness the cur­rent may­hem within the DC. Many are now pre­dict­ing that it is not a mat­ter of if but when the DC will splin­ter with Ntate Monya and his al­lies be­com­ing in­creas­ingly im­pa­tient over their turn for the Pmship.

But at least it makes sense for a split to hap­pen in a big party like the DC, which it­self is a splin­ter from the LCD.

What I can­not com­pre­hend is the ef­fi­cacy of a splin­ter party from within a small po­lit­i­cal for­ma­tion like the BNP which won only one con­tested seat. When some­thing splits from a small thing, it be­comes even smaller be­cause it is splin­ter­ing from an­other tri­fling.

While the name Demo­cratic Party of Le­sotho ( DPL) sounds a bit sexy, that’s where it will all end. Be­cause of our very gen­er­ous and inane po- lit­i­cal sys­tem, the founders of the DPL, Lim­pho Tau, ‘Ma­mako Mo­hale and Mal­i­ma­tle Hlalele, will most prob­a­bly scrap a few votes to win one PR seat.

They will then fight over who takes the seat and they splin­ter again. So while in China the lan­guage is work, work, work and more work. In Le­sotho its po­lit­i­cal splits, splits, splits and more splits.

In­stead of form­ing the DPL, I think its three founders would have been bet­ter off join­ing ei­ther the DC, ABC or LCD.

I fer­vently hope for a day when more and more Ba­sotho will as­pire to be­come ma­jor in­dus­tri­al­ists than be­ing politi­cians. I fer­vently hope for a day when we will have few — at most three — se­ri­ous po­lit­i­cal par­ties con­test­ing for power rather than hav­ing a plethora of them.

The United States, the rich­est coun­try in the world with hun­dreds of mil­lions of peo­ple, only has two par­ties that ex­change power at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals. Le­sotho, a coun­try of only two mil­lion, has more po­lit­i­cal par­ties than reg­is­tered vot­ers.

no won­der why we are not only de­fined as an LDC (Least De­vel­oped Coun­try), but also a by­word for squalor. All that will change of course if we jet­ti­son our fix­a­tion with pol­i­tics and form­ing par­ties in favour of eco­nomic am­bi­tion.

With the right think­ing in place, we can be­come an­other Brunei with vir­tu­ally zero un­em­ploy­ment, zero PAYE, zero tu­ition fees and a gov­ern­ment able to buy a house and car for ev­ery cit­i­zen.

Ku­dos how­ever, to Ntate Eli­jah Led­imo. He did not bring us a Toy­ota as­sem­bly fac­tory.

But he opened last week a state of the art deal­er­ship to en­sure that the thou­sands of Toy­otas in the coun­try are ser­viced lo­cally and not in South Africa.

It’s a very good start and it shows what can be achieved with the right mind­frame. What a pity that we only have a few Ntate Led­imo’s and more politi­cians. Throw a stone around Lancers Inn dur­ing the rush hour and it will al­most cer­tainly hit a politi­cian and def­i­nitely not an aspir­ing busi­ness­man.

I nev­er­the­less wish the DPL good luck even though I have no hope they will be the next gov­ern­ment as de­clared at their launch party. I also wish in ad­vance good luck to all the par­ties that Ba­sotho will form next week, the week af­ter the next, next month, the month af­ter the next, next year, the year af­ter the next and all the plethora of par­ties that will spring up just be­fore the 2020 elec­tions. I wish you all good luck.

It is com­mon prac­tise in the media that a dif­fer­ent media house will try to fol­low a story pub­lished in an­other media house. So it was a good thing that a weekly Fri­day pa- per tried to fol­low up on a story pub­lished a day ear­lier in the Le­sotho Times about African Union (AU) chair­man nkosazana Dlamini Zuma’s con­dem­na­tion of Le­sotho over what she de­scribed as the “break­down in the rule of law” in Le­sotho.

How­ever, a media house want­ing to fol­low a story pub­lished by an­other media house must at least fully un­der­stand the story it is fol­low­ing through. To this end, reporter Kananelo Boloetse did a very shabby job.

“Govt dis­misses “bo­gus” AU let­ter” — One of the head­lines in the Fri­day pa­per screamed. The story went on to quote Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions Tlo­hang Sekhamane as say­ing the let­ter from the AU was ef­fec­tively bo­gus.

“The Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, Tlo­hang Sekhamane, yes­ter­day dis­missed as bo­gus a let­ter writ­ten to Le­sotho pur­port­edly by the of­fice of the African Union (AU) chair­per­son, Dr nkosazana Dlamini-zuma….” Ntate Boloetse’s story read.

It fur­ther quoted Ntate Tlo­hang as say­ing: “I saw and read the let­ter. Very for­tu­nately I am with the AU Chair­per­son at a sum­mit in Rome… I con­fronted her over the let­ter but she was as­tounded by it as much as I was ……”

Ob­vi­ously Ntate Sekhamane is an as­tute politi­cian. He was asked a wrong ques­tion and as a shrewd politi­cian, saw an op­por­tu­nity to wig­gle his way out.

Of course, Dr Dlamini-zuma never wrote a let­ter to the Le­sotho gov­ern­ment. She is­sued a press re­lease dated 16 May 2016 which re­mains posted on her web­site on the AU com­mis­sion web­site. The press re­lease is re­splen­dent with her good face. Any­one in­ter­ested can see the press re­lease on the web­site ad­dress ( re­leases).

no one ever said that Dlamini-zuma wrote to the Le­sotho gov­ern­ment. Cer­tainly not the Le­sotho Times. Writ­ing to a gov­ern­ment and is­su­ing a pub­lic press re­lease for in­ter­na­tional con­sump­tion are two dif­fer­ent things.

So Ntate Sekhamane is right in us­ing the epi­taph “bo­gus” be­cause there was never such a let­ter. What is as­tound­ing of course is his claim that

“I saw and read the let­ter”. Surely he could not have seen and read a let­ter which was never writ­ten. Does this mean that Ntate Sekhamane is be­ing eco­nom­i­cal with the truth?

I say eco­nom­i­cal with the truth be­cause it is rude and im­proper to ac­cuse a se­nior diplo­mat who rep­re­sents us abroad of ly­ing even if the old adage that a “diplo­mat is a man or woman sent abroad to lie on be­half of his coun­try” is fac­tored in.

The in­tel­li­gi­ble thing to do would have been for the reporter, Boloetse, to ask Ntate Sekhamane, to com­ment on a pub­lic press re­lease posted on Dr Dlamini-zuma’s of­fi­cial web­site, which used un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally harsh lan­guage against a mem­ber state.

Maybe Dr Sekhamane would have said the press re­lease and the en­tire web­site are bo­gus. This would have ef­fec­tively meant that the en­tire AU ap­pa­ra­tus is also bo­gus.

So far, Dr Dlamini-zuma has not re­canted the press re­lease. It is still tak­ing pride of place on her web­site. In­stead of seek­ing to run with the hounds and hunt with the hares, the proper thing for Dr Sekhamane would be to deal with the con­tests of the Press re­lease.

Me thinks that any crit­i­cisms lev­elled at Le­sotho by con­ti­nen­tal bod­ies such as SADC and the AU ought to be taken very se­ri­ously.

The con­ven­tional wis­dom is that Le­sotho is go­ing to be a much bet­ter place for all of us if the gov­ern­ment im­ple­ments the rec­om­men­da­tions of SADC’S Phumaphi Com­mis­sion, un­palat­able as some of them sound.

All the gov­ern­ment needs to do now is to out­line a clear roadmap for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of these re­forms.

We have long known from Ntate Mo­sisili that some of the rec­om­men­da­tions will be im­ple­mented in the short and medium term while oth­ers will never see the light of day.

As cit­i­zens we are en­ti­tled to de­mand from our lead­ers to know the rec­om­men­da­tions that will be im­ple­mented now and those that will never see the light of day.

The gov­ern­ment must take us into its con­fi­dence and tell us a clear plan of ac­tion re­gard­ing im­plan­ta­tion of these rec­om­men­da­tions. We at least know from Ntate Te­boho Sekata that the rec­om­men­da­tion to fire King Kamoli is one such that will never see the light of day.

Even though I have since praised Ntate Sekata for telling the truth, I think there is merit in the ar­gu­ment that the gov­ern­ment must prop­erly pro­nounce it­self on the mat­ter since Ntate Sekata only speaks for one party in the seven party coali­tion.

Who bet­ter to do that than Bon­tate Mo­sisili and Mets­ing them­selves?

Ul­ti­mately, the fu­ture of this coun­try partly hangs on how the gov­ern­ment will deal with the is­sue of im­ple­ment­ing these rec­om­men­da­tions. So far the omens are not good.

noth­ing has been done in the way of im­ple­ment­ing any of the SADC rec­om­men­da­tions. At least as far as Scru­ta­tor is in­formed.

The Au­gust re­port back dead­line for SADC is loom­ing. It would be very sad if the gov­ern­ment pitched up at the SADC event with noth­ing to re­port. We need more clar­ity on this mat­ter.

I will for­feit my en­tire col­umn for next week and al­low Ntate Mo­sisili to use this space to tell us his gov­ern­ment’s roadmap on the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the SADC rec­om­men­da­tions. Only if I can find him?


AU Com­mis­sion Chair­per­son Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-zuma.

Prime min­is­ter Pakalitha mo­sisili.

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