It’s never cool to mis­gov­ern our­selves

Lesotho Times - - Scrutator -

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.

Ache !!!!

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