It’s never cool to misgovern ourselves
Ntate Mosisili is consistent and insistent on his mantra that “it is better to misgovern ourselves than to be governed well by others”.
He has propounded this theory at several events including recently at last week’s sod-turning ceremony of the new Simione Police Post to be built in Makhaleng. He has also said it at international fora at which he has asserted africa’s right to self-determination.
i am nevertheless a bit ambivalent about this pronouncement. i will explain why by painting a hypothetical scenario.
Let’s suppose for a while that we allowed ourselves to be ruled just for a few years by some foreign creature. i will call that foreign creature Mr Foreigner, for ease of reference in this article.
Let’s assume Mr Foreigner arrives with his team of advisors and takes over State House by consent of the government. if not so by stealth after defeating King Kamoli’s men and women. Mr Foreigner immediately establishes a new government, comprising of mostly his fellow foreigners, and announces a new programme of action to take Lesotho forward.
Let’s assume Mr Foreigner’s first move in his action plan is to immediately ban the establishment of all car wash businesses as the main entrepreneurial endeavour for Basotho. Mr Foreigner then orders all young and middle aged Basotho to go back to vocational schools and learn skills that will help them become real entrepreneurs in today’s global knowledge economy and establish better businesses to car wash stalls. Because Mr Foreigner is ruling with a small cabinet of only eight ministers instead of 30 plus, he is able to save money and devote more resources to ensure efficient vocational training. He is even able to import foreign lecturers well equipped to assist in such vocational training.
Mr Foreigner then announces a lucid and coherent industrial programme that will make Lesotho a destination of choice for foreign investors. attracted by a good incentive regime in the industrial policy and because of a good skills base emerging out of an efficient vocational training programme, Mr Foreigner is able to attract international conglomerates like Pfizer, Unilever, Toyota, BMW and others to set shop in Lesotho and produce their products for exports from Lesotho. Efficient mining exploration companies are also invited and discover more diamonds, making Lesotho the biggest producer of quality gems.
Let’s assume further that Mr Foreigner, on a weekend excursion towards Mokholtong, discovers Lesotho’s mountainous beauty. He immediately establishes a cabinet committee on tourism to come up with a clear masterplan to attract investment into Lesotho.
Suddenly, foreign investment starts pouring into the tourism sector. Six or even more skiing resorts are then built with the infrastructure to accommodate thousands of tourists.
instead of going to the alps for skiing on fake snow, the Europeans, americans, Chinese, Japanese, australians, norwegians and other world citizens start flocking to Lesotho for their annual ski holidays. We then become a tourism hub for africa just as Dubai is for the entire Middle East.
Suddenly, because of Mr Foreigner’s clear economic vision based on modern day global economic realities and not empty nationalistic political slogans, Lesotho becomes able to offer every one of its citizens decent employment. Basotho are no longer exploited for paltry wages in Taiwaneseowned textile factories but become business people in their own right. They take charge of their destiny despite that their leader, Mr Foreigner is a foreigner. Congolese, Malawian and Ethiopean refugees begin jumping their borders to do menial jobs which Basotho begin to shun in their own country, just like the British shun menial jobs which they leave for foreigners, especially Romanians and Eritreans.
The Congolese in particular, fleeing their endless wars, become our car washers and toilet cleaners. Ethiopians become the main vegetable vendors while Malawians and other foreigners attracted to Lesotho’s new found prosperity become the street cleaners in Maseru and other towns.
We leave the entire car wash industry to the Congolese, while Basotho become the new owners of manufacturing, mining, information technology, hospitality, among other businesses.
Just like in Kuwait or Brunei, Mr Foreigner’s government is able to raise adequate taxes because of a flourishing economy. it then decides to donate all its SACU receipts to hapless Swaziland so Mswati can afford 30 more wives and concubines. Mr Foreigner’s government then builds a new house for every Mosotho and offers each family a M15 000 monthly subsidy just like that vile dictator Muammah Gaddafi was able to do for Libyans before they decided to hack him to death.
Lesotho becomes so rich that the whole city of Maseru is rebuilt into a proper modern city with proper toilets, a proper sewerage system, proper roads and addresses to allow the postmen to make deliveries to actual addresses.
n the political front, Mr Foreigner decides to implement all SADC resolutions from the Phumaphi commission and apprehend Maaparankoe’s killers. He further abolishes the LDF and invests the resources in education and healthcare while maintaining a lean LMPS for internal policing. Mr Foreigner promotes such harmony among Basotho that not only all exiled opposition leaders return, but SADC, AU completely drop Lesotho off their agenda.
Lesotho becomes the envy of not only africa but the entire world economically and politically. We become the Kuwait, Brunei or Dubai of africa.
Let me further illustrate my point by another authentic, empirical experience. Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) was, just like Lesotho, a British colony. in 1965, ian Smith declared his UDI (Unilateral Declaration of independence) from Britain and started ruling Zimbabwe with his Rhodesia Front (RF) political party. Smith’s party ruled until 1980 with an iron fist and blacks were excluded from all politics.
in fact, Smith’s rule was akin to apartheid in Sa in terms of denying black Zimbabweans political freedoms. Even though Smith had declared UDI, Zimbabwe remained a colony because Smith and his fellow settlers ruled to the exclusion of black Zimbabweans. However, despite the political repression, Scrutator has heard many of his Zimbabwean friends saying ian Smith was an excellent economic manager.
Under ian Smith, Zimbabwe was a functional industrial economy despite UN sanctions imposed after Smith declared UDI. Roads were tarred, black Zimbabweans were fairly employed and well fed. Zimbabwe’s education and health sectors were excellent. When Ian Smith handed over to Robert Mugabe in 1980, the Zimbabwean dollar was stronger than the US dollar and equal to the British pound.
Under Ian Smith, the only migration to take place out of Zimbabwe was of those black Zimbabweans who were leaving to join the liberation struggle to end political repression. a fair estimate of Zimbabweans that migrated out of their country under Smith is below 100 000.
When Mugabe took power in april 1980, the then President of Tanzania Mwalimu Julius nyerere succinctly warned him: “You have inherited a jewel of a country, please don’t destroy it.” Enter Robert Mugabe and 36 years on, Zimbabwe is now nicknamed the Zimbabwe Ruins.
at least three million Zimbabweans are now living in South africa, most of them illegally. Scrutator was in Luton (London) the other day and was bamboozled to hear British people calling Luton town Harare East because of the sheer overwhelming presence of Zimbabweans there. Millions and millions of Zimbabweans have fled their country under Mugabe.
Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans have been murdered by the moronic Mugabe in his quest to cling to power. Zimbabwe is basically a broken nation.
s it perhaps not a great idea for Ntate Mosisili to go and tell Zimbabweans that “it’s better to misgovern ourselves than be well governed by foreigners like ian Smith”?
if he really believes in his mantra, i dare him repeat it to Zimbabweans wherever he will find them.
Then there are those African countries that were never colonised. Liberia comes to mind. a country founded in the 19th Century by freed american slaves. anyone who has been to Liberia will attest that this country is a joke.
Back to the utopian Lesotho painted above under the govern-
Many Zimbabweans are now saying life was far much better under ian Smith. You can only be a member of Mugabe’s inner circle to agree with the notion that “it’s better to misgovern ourselves than to be governed well by others (foreigners)”.
all Scrutator is trying to say here is that there can never be any circumstances under which we can justify misgoverning ourselves just because we hate foreigners.
i am not saying we should go back to colonialism either. i am not justifying colonialism. i am just at pains to explain that Ntate Mosisili’s mantra is wrong. i totally disagree with it. in as much as we may not want a foreigner to become Prime Minister or King, let’s not be oblivious to good ideas just because they are coming from foreigners. Let’s listen to our fellow africans, americans, Britons, Zaireans and even nigerians if they give us good advice.
Let’s never misgovern ourselves because we see that as better than listening to foreign ideas. The world has become one global village. Sovereign boundaries (borders) have become meaningless in this age of the iphone and global commerce. if we get things wrong and foreigners point them out, let’s treat such foreigners as good brotherly friends than enemies.
if the utopian Lesotho described above were to ever become real with Mr Foreigner at the helm of the utopian government, i would challenge Ntate Mosisili to put his pronouncement to a referendum. “is it not better to misgovern ourselves than to be governed by foreigners”: That would be the only question on the ballot.
i am dead certain Ntate Mosisili would lose if all Basotho who would have experienced the utopian society but who would also have knowledge of life under our post independent governments are allowed to vote.
all human beings want a good life of abundant happiness. all we want is good mojo. So it can never be a good thing for us to misgovern ourselves just because we want to keep foreigners out. Let’s us have all the foreigners who can deliver us to the Promised Land.