Thanks for the truth Ntate Metsing
IT’S always refreshing to hear a politician speak the truth. This is because politics is essentially regarded as a synonym for lying. Honest politicians are as rare as the skeletons of Zinjanthropas or Paranthropus Boisei. Just think of how hard the anthropologists have to dig deep and scrounge until they get the bones of these millions of years old ancestors of the human race. Unless you are Donald Trump who appears likely to insult people all the way to the White House, the majority of politicians mostly lie all their way to power.
But lying often earns politicians a lot of ridicule.
Consider Charlie Chaplin’s perennial wisdom that: “I remain just one thing only, and that is a clown. It places me on a far higher plain than any politician”. Or Gail Carriger’s profanity that “monkeys are in fact reincarnated politicians…….”. Not to mention Henry Adams empirical observation that “practical politics consists in ignoring facts”.
These unflattering perceptions of politics and politicians will change if politicians the world-over take a cue from our own very Ntate Teboho Sekata and DPM Mothetjoa Metsing.
These two gentlemen have recently been bold enough to tell truthful statements that caught my eye. Scrutator only wishes they maintain the high standards they have set.
The other day I congratulated Ntate Sekata, the spokesman of the LCD, for revealing the truth that no other politician has been bold enough to tell. This was when he said King Kamoli is here to stay despite a recommendation to the contrary by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC)’S Justice Mphaphi Phumaphi.
In basically declaring that King Kamoli is here to stay and leaders of the opposition can stay in exile if they so wish, Ntate Sekata confirmed what many in this country had long suspected but which the leaders of the government had been shy or afraid to say.
Please don’t misunderstand me here. I am not saying I agree with Ntate Sekata. I am only commending him for telling the truth. It always helps if politicians tell us the truth because we then know what to do as citizens.
Even though he is not in government, Ntate Sekata told the truth. His truth had the immediate benefit of helping those living in a parallel universe of constant hope that the SADC resolution on the mighty King will be implemented. If you know the truth, you can formulate your strategies accordingly. So if you are a member of the alliance of civic groups pushing to see the implementation of the Phumaphi recommendations, you now have the truth to work with, courtesy of Ntate Sekata. You can formulate your strategies accordingly.
In a different episode, Ntate Sekata was recorded speaking his mind about the LCD’S coalition partner, the Democratic Congress. In remarks that have been a hit on social media, Ntate Sekata said in an audio recording that DC leader Ntate Mosisili is old. I must say, I totally disagree with Ntate Sekata on that point. If you say Ntate Mosisili is old at the young age of only 71, then what do you say of that fossil Robert Mugabe (92) or Cyclone Tom, soon to be 80. If Mugabe is a living museum and still in power, then surely Ntate Mosisili is still a political toddler. Being the spring chicken that he is, he can rule for another 20 years (as long as he wins fair elections). I am not encouraging him to go that route nonetheless. All I am saying is he can’t be classified as old in politics. Remember Ntate Sekata, today’s 71 in real terms is 61 in practical terms. It helps that Ntate Mosisili looks like he has only turned 42.
Ntate Sekata also said the increasingly garrulous Ntate Moleleki will never be leader of the DC and by implication Prime Minister.
“The only way he will be a leader of a party is if he can form his own and take a few Members of Parliament that support him,” opined Ntate Sekata. Again I totally disagree with Ntate Sekata here. As things stand, I think Ntate Moleleki is a natural successor to Ntate Mosisili. Since beating that cancer bug, just look at how handsome Ntate Moleleki has become. Just look at how nice that new white hair growing all over his head suits him. Ntate Sekata has probably not seen the latest photos of Ntate Moleleki. The guy has become a hunk.
Do you surely see any lady, in the women driven DC, in terms of support base, going for any other leader than the immensely handsome Ntate Moleleki. Methinks that Ntate Moleleki will be next Prime Minister not because of his own self belief that he is entitled to be the next Prime Minister but because of the natural ordering of things.
In the very unlikely even that Ntate Mosisili voluntarily relinquished power today, there is no doubt that Ntate Moleleki will ascend to the throne. But that’s just my view and it’s completely beside the point.
The point is about truth and politics. Even though I disagree with Ntate Sekata’s perspectives, I salute him for speaking his mind. When confronted by his party about the audio recording, Ntate Sekata reportedly did not deny that he was the politician recorded. He nevertheless tried to mollify his boss, the young and indefatigable Selibe Mochoboroane, by saying he had made a mistake, according to Ntate Mochoboroane’s own version of what transpired when Ntate Sekata was summonsed to explain himself (as reported by Public Eye). What impressed me most is that Ntate Sekata did not try to deny that he was the man in the audio recording. A typical dishonest politician would have stood his ground; “It is not me in that audio, it is the work of the Americans and imperialists to try and discredit me” or “It’s me but that audio misquoted me”.
I bet that as long as Ntate Sekata remains LCD spokesman, we are in for some more fun.
The other significant development of truth telling came from none other than the LCD leader, Ntate Metsing himself. Ntate Metsing recently made some profound remarks which bear mention in this column. According to Ntate Metsing, Basotho need to wean themselves from a dependency syndrome if the nation harbours the hope of graduating from its ignoble least developed country (LDC) status.
“As Basotho, we have a dependency syndrome and are frankly quite lazy. We depend on foreign aid so much that we can’t even see our own capabilities, and it is high time that we do away with this retrogressive tendency. We can’t go on like this,” he said.
Ntate Metsing made the remarks two weeks ago on the side-lines of the High-level Midterm Review of the Implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action in Turkey —which in essence is a gathering of the world’s 48 LDCS (least developed countries). Being classified as an LDC should make every Mosotho drown in shame.
According to the United Nations, LDCS represent the poorest and weakest segment of the international community. The United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island De- veloping States’ (UN-OHRLLS) definition is more damning, and for the sake of emphasis Scrutator decided to copy it in its entirety:
“They comprise more than 880 million people (about 12 per cent of world population), but account for less than two percent of world GDP and about one percent of global trade in goods.
“Their low level of socio-economic development is characterised by weak human and institutional capacities, low and unequally distributed income and scarcity of domestic financial resources. They often suffer from governance crisis, political instability and, in some cases, internal and external conflicts. Their largely agrarian economies are affected by a vicious cycle of low productivity and low investment. They rely on the export of few primary commodities as major source of export and fiscal earnings, which makes them highly vulnerable to external terms-oftrade shocks. Only a handful has been able to diversify into the manufacturing sector, though with a limited range of products in labour-intensive industries, i.e. textiles and clothing.
“These constraints are responsible for insufficient domestic resource mobilisation, low economic management capacity, weaknesses in programme design and implementation, chronic external deficits, high debt burdens and heavy dependence on external financing that have kept LDCS in a poverty trap.”
Idon’t know if there is a more succinct description of Lesotho than that. The description describes most, but not all, the elements that conspire to keep the Mountain Kingdom in the doldrums.
The aspect that was not mentioned in the definition was laziness which Ntate Metsing rightly pointed out. The clamour by most Basotho, be it young and old, is for the government to churn out high paying jobs to address the high unemployment rate. Or to simply form husband and wife political parties. Yet the reality in the rest of Africa and even beyond is that people have stopped looking to the government for jobs and found innovative ways to earn a living.
Like most residents of Maseru, Scrutator is always peeved by the shortage of good grocery outlets near residential areas. The few shops that are there are run by Chinese nationals who have a habit of selling expired foodstuffs that cause stomachs to churn.
Yet prospective Basotho entrepreneurs don’t see a clear opportunity that is begging to be exploited. Instead, they continue to cry for the never-to-come jobs with the only area of exception being the now woefully oversubscribed car wash industry.
The informal sector in Africa is booming and a good example is Nigeria’s economy which managed to surpass that of South Africa on the proceeds of Nollywood movies, music, fashion and food among other commodities.
After enduring decades of corruption and misgovernance, the Nigerians are slowly learning to be self-reliant. No example better illustrates Ntate Metsing’s perennial truth about the general laziness of Basotho than our belief and faith in the efficacy of MMM as a source of income and livelihoods.
Apeople who believe in a shameless scam like MMM, run by a convicted fraudster like MMM promoter Sergey Mavrodi, is a country in trouble. What therefore is the way out? The only way out is to first concede that we are indeed a lazy nation and we have a destructive dependency syndrome as per Ntate Metsing’s diagnosis. Look, we have thousands of miners trooping to South Africa to work in mines there, yet we can establish our own mines here.
Why should foreigners be the ones coming to open and own all our diamond mines? We do because we don’t have the pedigree to survey our own mountains, find the diamonds, manganese, gold and possibly many other mineral varieties and mine them ourselves. We all flock to work in textile firms that are mostly owned by foreigners?
How can we surely fail to own sewing machines, import textiles and simply sew T-shirts for export? Why should foreigners do that for us while the best we can offer is only cheap labour? We even buy foreign bread, foreign eggs and foreign milk from Shoprite and Pick n Pay. Why are we unable to produce these basic goods? Ntate Metsing has given us the answer.
Just wait and see the havoc of joblessness that will arise if Americans stick to their guns over the mighty King and AGOA goes and our eastern friends jettison us because they will no longer be incentives for them to stay here. Maybe only then will we emerge from our deep slumber and realize that we must be innovative, create and own our economy and sell other products to other countries — not out of the favour of things like AGOA — but because our products are original to us and genuinely needed in other countries.
Basotho often get angry when Scrutator chides them for their laziness and lack of innovation. But now that it’s coming from Ntate Metsing, I hope they will listen, stop whining and begin thinking about how they can take charge of this country’s destiny. In the meanwhile, thank you Ntate Metsing for sharing my long held perspective.
LCD Spokesperson Teboho Sekata. Deputy prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing.