Litjobo, Litjobo and more Litjobo
IJOIN all and sundry in wishing Democratic Congress (DC) youth league leader Thuso Litjobo a very happy 34th birthday. Even though you did not invite me to your bash Ntate, I will certainly be around to gatecrash your 92nd birthday. I wish you many more.
Readers of this column, and there are multitudes of you, will recall that I had promised to say a few words about Ntate Litjobo.
Unfortunately, I was not able to write this column in the last two weeks because of pressing international commitments.
First, I was at the Olympics in Brazil. Then I had to come back for the SADC summit in Swaziland. Before I knew it, a sudden invitation to attend the G20 summit in China landed on my desk.
It was only me and Jacob Zuma there as the two highest profile Africans and, of course, the Guptas. We had a jolly time. You may be wandering in what capacity I was invited since I am not a head of state. I will leave that to your imaginations.
Even though these busy international commitments kept me away, I still want to revisit the Litjobo issue in fuller detail. But before I do that, I say congratulations to the Basotho nation.
At least no one fled the country during my two week absence. In fact, I have returned to the news that some exiles came back. Let’s keep that spirit.
Ntate Litjobo is a young politician who has touched my heart in very profound ways. Like a typical youth he is garrulous and loquacious yet principled in his pronouncements.
Ntate Litjobo must have been created soon after God had just enjoyed a high fibre breakfast of jungle oats, granola, berries and a bit of sliced banana.
God was certainly in a very happy mood that morning and decided his first creation after such a soothing and refreshing meal must be a very worthwhile character.
Based on what I have seen so far, I can confidently say Litjobo is one hell of a worthwhile politician. When the time for the current generation of political leaders to go six foot under arrives, Ntate Litjobo will be a safe pair of hands in State House. He will be my natural choice for PM.
The young man is proving to be a man of high principles. Of the many instances of his political craftsmanship, one incident particularly struck me.
Most of you will know of that ignoramus who routinely takes to Tsenolo FM to bash any perceived enemies and makes some of the most inane, if not the most politically mindless statements.
So incompetent is that ignoramus’s approach to issues that I am certain he embarrasses those he purports to support.
Out of that ignoramus’s gruesome ignorance came the highly stupid plan to mobilise and stage a demonstration against American Ambassador Mathew Harrington at Uncle Sam’s heavily-fortified embassy in Maseru.
Demonstrations to embassies and public protests against ambassadors are so silly that I am not surprised that the “grand idea” failed.
But I was particularly impressed with how Ntate Litjobo handled the issue. He was the first to disassociate the DC youth league from the planned protest to the US embassy. And he did so in a highly robust and intelligent manner.
The party “will not be part of that senseless march”, declared Litjobo, effectively speaking on behalf of his entire party.
He then attacked the ignoramus behind the idea of the march for giving the misleading impression that all seven parties in the coalition government were in agreement with the idea of “the mother of all marches” against Ntate Harrington.
In dissociating the DC youth league and his party from the march, Ntate Litjobo explained that there are properly laid down procedures that a country can follow if it wants to eject an ambassador, even though such instances are very rare, unless of course an ambassador is recalled by his country.
“The DC Youth League and DC as a whole know the proper means and procedures that can be followed in order for an ambassador to be removed from office,” he said.
Ntate Litjobo also refused to be mobilized into supporting the uncouth vitriol that was being employed against Ntate Harrington by the ignoramus in question. Ntate Litjobo said the DC youth League did not have any negative view against the ambassador.
He is seemingly supported by a steady pair of hands in the name of his secretary-general Letuka Chafotsa. Ntate Chafotsa had the wisdom to ask the very pertinent question? “If we remove the US ambassador in such an unceremonious manner, then what would befall Lesotho’s diplomats in Washington DC and New York?”
Obviously those diplomats would wish they had never been born, never mind joining the Foreign Service. Remember this is Uncle Sam. Like an old Uncle, he is very patient and accommodating.
But once he loses his fuse, he explodes. Just ask Saddam Hussein or one Muammar Gaddafi.
But more poignantly, was Ntate Chafotsa’s warning against losing the US embassy in Maseru.
“Lesotho has lost the United Kingdom and Ireland embassies which have moved their embassies to South Africa.
“This is a very serious issue……. if Lesotho should deal with ambassadors in the manner suggested by (ignoramus) and his allies, it will lose more embassies. Lesotho will be isolated from the international community,” warned Ntate Chafotsa at the time of that episode. And rightly so.
Please note that Scrutator has adapted this quote and edited out the ignoramus’s name because it should not be dignified by being published in this venerable column.
We all know that Ntate Harrington’s crime has been to express a view that we all share that Lesotho is going to be a far much better place if SADC recommendations are implemented.
Scrutator is happy that there were no takers for this ridiculous march to the US embassy. Of course we might have differences with Uncle Sam and his tactics. But why should we stage a protest against the only traditional embassy left in Lesotho. After all, this is no ordinary embassy but belongs to Uncle Sam. The Uncle who is feeding us through massive support to the health and education sectors and through a plethora of other programmes implemented via the Millennium Challenge Account.
One reason put forward to justify this incredulity was that the march would equally be meant to show support for the Prime Minister.
I am pretty sure Ntate Mosisili would have been embarrassed by such a gibberish idea of showing him love.
There are certainly better ways. After all, his party’s red colour depicts endless love which can be expressed without resort to silly protests.
In the end, the protest march was stillborn. The ignoramus, who leads a faction, of a faction, of a faction, of a faction, of a faction, in a one seat political party is now rarely heard of. Much to the good of proper political discourse in this country.
No one better contributed to this good state of affairs than Ntate Litjobo.
Then comes the controversial issue of Fleetgate. On this one, Ntate Litjobo has excelled even more. Please don’t get me wrong. I am not supporting Ntate Litjobo because of his high end statements against Mme Khaketla, the finance minister.
No. I wouldn’t know whether or not it’s true that Mme Khaketla tried to stuff her handbag before signing away the lucrative contract. If ever such a request was made, lady Scrutator was not there.
Mme Khaketla has denied such and threatened Ntate Litjobo with legal action. Let that very serious matter play itself out in court. It is not reason for my support for Ntate Litjobo.
My reason for the support is simple; he is one of the most principled politicians I have ever met. Ntate Litjobo is 100 percent right that the fleet management contract should never have been externalized to Bidvest.
If Litjobo’s figures are correct (and they might as well be since he is close to the centre of power), Lesotho will be forking out in excess of M70 million to Bidvest monthly. That’s a hefty figure hey.
My question is simple. If we Basotho cannot buy cars, put petrol in them, drive them up and down the country as we do our government work, keep proper log books to monitor usage and keep garages to maintain them, then what are we ever going to be able to do and achieve on this earth?
How does one explain such national incompetence? Surely maintaining a fleet of cars using a manual or computerized system should be the easiest of tasks to do?
Do you think South Africa will ever outsource its fleet management service to Lesotho? Never. It will never happen. So why should we export such a simple task at a huge cost to ourselves?
After all, we Basotho, are well renowned car wash entrepreneurs. Why shouldn’t we be ambitious enough to control the entire value chain from buying the car up until polishing it in our car wash bays? Why should a foreign company be allowed to manage our fleet? I will never understand the logic.
I am thus with Ntate Litjobo 100 percent that it was wrong to hire a foreign company at a huge cost to manage our fleet. Fleet management ought to be one of the simplest of tasks that a country can do for itself.
It’s unlike constructing a new rocket for the envisaged ambition to put humans on Mars. Imagine importing your second-hand car from Japan and then giving it to your neighbour to manage it? The government erred on this one and Ntate Litjobo is right.
Then comes the fact of his simple bravery. When he and his fellow DC youth league leaders made their high end allegations against Mme Khaketla and denounced Fleetgate, other youth leaders ended up joining the great Basotho trek into exile. But not Ntate Litjobo.
He dared challenge the youth league’s detractors to come to him if ever they wanted him. Surely, isn’t that the high pinnacle of bravery and principle if you consider that fleeing Lesotho had become routine.
At the rate things were going, I surely feared that it would no longer make news whenever anybody decided to flee the country. It would only become news when no one fled.
The media had become so replete with news of Basotho fleeing that fleeing stories had become a monotony for me. It would make better news if no one fled for the week.
That’s besides the point however. The point is that one needs nerves of steel for them to dare their enemies like Ntate Litjobo did. Consider his decision to rise above the fray and invite leaders of opposition youth leagues to his party. Surely, isn’t that the maturity we need even at national level.
I could go on and on with examples of instances of Ntate Litjobo’s good judgment and principles. But the space I am allowed here won’t enable me to do that.
Let me stop here and say the DC is lucky to have such intelligent and principled youth league leaders. Instead of curtailing them, encourage them. To that end I say: Litjobo, Litjobo and more Litjobo.
DC youth league leader Thuso Litjobo.