Hunting with the hares while running with the hounds.....
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 ( www.au.int/en/press 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.