Le­sotho must kill cor­rup­tion

. . . or cor­rup­tion will kill Le­sotho

Lesotho Times - - Leader - Topollo Charles Put­soane

WHEN the law can no longer pro­tect you from the cor­rupt, but pro­tects the cor­rupt from you, you know your coun­try is head­ing for doom! All I know is cor­rup­tion and nepo­tism are ram­pag­ing the civil ser­vice. At long last, the long­est serv­ing min­is­ter, Monyane Moleleki at­tests to that. And I, as a long time lone cor­rup­tion fighter, feel vin­di­cated.

Thank you Mokola, and wel­come to the army of Cor­rup­tion Free­dom Fight­ers. How­ever, while I wel­come you as a buf­falo sol­dier, be warned, fight­ing cor­rup­tion in Le­sotho is not an easy feat, it is a very risky, lonely and bitter war.

Be cau­tioned fur­ther, the cor­rup­tion ped­dlers, are well or­ga­nized and ruth­less; un­less you are care­ful, they will skin you alive. In or­der to sur­vive the war, hum­ble your­self and learn from us the veter­ans with old bat­tle scars and fresh wounds, we have seen it all, we are the cor­rup­tion fight­ing mae­stros.

While I don’t claim I have a panacea to kill cor­rup­tion in Le­sotho, I know you are a wit­ness that I am a one size short shoe on the foot of cor­rup­tion, and have been for a long time, re­mem­ber!? I hope you have what it takes to see the war through, that’s stamina, high level of pain tol­er­ance, ethics and guts! You also need mercy, to for­give be­cause greed oc­cu­pies cen­ter part of their hearts, not God. Good luck to you Mokola!’’

Ntate Thabane is also a wit­ness to in­tol­er­a­ble high lev­els of cor­rup­tion, be­cause in his ten­ure of two and a half years as the premier, he once de­clared war against crime in the ru­ral ar­eas of Le­sotho where he was run­ning af­ter the crim­i­nals day in day out.

But, af­ter he de­clared war on cor­rup­tion in the civil ser­vice, he was pushed out of power by a pow­er­ful hur­ri­cane force that he fell far in Ficks­burg. Un­like in the ru­ral ar­eas where he set crim­i­nals on the run, he never man­aged to wage the in­tended war against white-col­lar crime — cor­rup­tion, nepo­tism and con­nivance with crim­i­nals against free­dom fight­ers. It seems this time around cor­rup­tion set him on the run.

Some peo­ple say by at­tack­ing white col­lar crime, he touched a wrong but­ton. White col­lar crim­i­nals are the ones re­spon­si­ble for the rot and poverty in Leso- tho through de­struc­tion of the econ­omy by cor­rup­tion and in­com­pe­tency. These are the true en­e­mies of the coun­try; not AIDS, not drought.

There is a say­ing in Le­sotho that, “if you are not cor­rupt, you are cor­rupt”. Sim­ply put, it means if you are not cor­rupt and are known for your firm anti-cor­rup­tion prin­ci­ples, your cor­rupt su­pe­ri­ors, will or­ga­nize cor­rupt and/or in­com­pe­tent staff, to frame you as cor­rupt or in­com­pe­tent in or­der to ha­rass and hu­mil­i­ate you so that you can re­sign or ul­ti­mately get fired, whether the courts of law say no, they don’t care.

Those who at­tended Ntate Mphanya’s me­mo­rial ser­vice will re­mem­ber that I made a very pas­sion­ate speech giv­ing a stern warn­ing about the im­pend­ing calamity await­ing the present administration that un­less a se­ri­ous in­tro­spec­tion was made soon, with heavy em­pha­sis on cor­rup­tion and nepo­tism we are risk­ing a re­volt. It’s amaz­ing how the lead­er­ship can at times fail to cor­rectly read the po­lit­i­cal barom­e­ter even af­ter they were warned of the con­se­quences of cor­rup­tion that is be­dev­il­ing the civil ser­vice!

On the in­ter­na­tional cor­rup­tion watch scale Le­sotho is ranked num­ber 66, most sur­pris­ingly two places ahead of South Africa. I say sur­pris­ingly be­cause, while I ad­mit cor­rup­tion is a se­ri­ous prob­lem in SA, they are clearly do­ing some­thing about it, they are not con­don­ing it through the cul­ture of im­punity like in Le­sotho. I was ad­vised by some se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cer friends of mine, to stop wast­ing my time by an­noy­ing cor­rup­tion in Le­sotho be­cause it is or­ches­trated by some of pow­er­ful peo­ple.

Cor­rup­tion is de­fined as the mis­use/ abuse of en­trusted power for pri­vate gain. The late Nt­sukun­yane Mphanya, the for­mer Con­gress Party stal­wart fa­mous for his un­com­pro­mis­ing stance against cor­rup­tion de­fined cor­rup­tion sim­ply as “a mor­tal enemy of the poor peo­ple in Le­sotho, worse than pros­ti­tu­tion”. He said: “Pros­ti­tu­tion en­dan­gers morals of an in­di­vid­ual, while cor­rup­tion en­dan­gers the morals of the en­tire coun­try. Be­cause cor­rup­tion is de­stroy­ing the poor peo­ple; it must be de­stroyed.

“We don’t need SADC to kill it, all we need is eth­i­cal po­lit­i­cal lead­er­ship with the pa­tri­otic and Godly at­ti­tude, with no sym­pa­thy with law break­ers. The Ba­sotho youth must chal­lenge and fight cor­rup­tion fiercely and mer­ci­lessly with­out any com­pro­mise, be­cause it is de­stroy­ing their fu­ture.”

The great­est evil in Le­sotho these days is lack of love and in­dif­fer­ence to­wards the vic­tims of cor­rup­tion, the poor, who are the vot­ing fod­der for the rul­ing elite — the en­er­getic party sup­port­ers who are mostly un­aware that they are vic­tims of cor­rup­tion. This evil is char­ac­ter­ized by some party lead­ers openly frat­er­niz­ing and so­cial­iz­ing with known crim­i­nals.

It was en­cour­ag­ing, how­ever, to hear Mr Moleleki, the long­est serv­ing min­is­ter ad­mit­ting that there is cor­rup­tion in the gov­ern­ment, and in­stead of do­ing what os­triches do best, bury­ing head in the sand, he has now de­clared war against it. It is also grat­i­fy­ing to Dr Thabane say­ing, “if my stand against acts of cor­rup­tion has cost me my job, so be it! I am a happy loser”. Coura­geous and bold state­ments in­deed.

The con­sis­tently least cor­rupt coun­tries in Africa are Botswana, Mau­ri­tius, Cape Verde and Namibia and this lack of cor­rup­tion is re­flected in their po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity and grow­ing economies.

Min­is­ters and PSS are hold­ing in trust bil­lions of Maloti of the tax-pay­ers’ money

and it is our duty to keep them in check. Un­for­tu­nately, some­body must risk and bell the cat if we are to sur­vive as a cred­i­ble na­tion. Re­gret­tably, in Le­sotho some peo­ple have turned pol­i­tics into a very prof­itable busi­ness and they need to be stopped. Martin Luther King Jr said, “a man who is not pre­pared to sac­ri­fice and die for some­thing is not a man”.

Are you a man? If you are, join the Le­sotho Cor­rup­tion Lib­er­a­tion Army, we have work for you.

Sug­gested reme­dies to­wards long-term re­duc­tion of cor­rup­tion in Le­sotho:

1. Dec­la­ra­tion of as­sets by all se­nior gov­ern­ment lead­ers.

All po­lit­i­cally ex­posed peo­ple, The PM, Min­is­ters, PSS, DPSS, Direc­tors and the CEOS of the paras­tatals must de­clare their as­sets at the be­gin­ning of their con­tracts. Banks must sub­ject these peo­ple to more and ef­fec­tive en­hanced due dili­gence checks to en­sure le­git­i­macy of their source of wealth. All Direc­torate on Cor­rup­tion and Eco­nomic Of­fences (DCEO) se­nior staff must be in­cluded in this ex­er­cise.

2. DCEO and Om­buds­man must be em­pow­ered and be seen to be free from any po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence.

Pro­cesses that en­sure to­tal in­de­pen­dence of these these bod­ies must be in place. The head of DCEO should re­port to the ded­i­cated and eth­i­cal Board ap­pointed by the par­lia­ment trans­par­ently. The head of DCEO should serve one non-re­new­able term of six years. DCEO staff salaries to re­flect the dan­ger­ous and very stress­ful job they are do­ing. This de­part­ment to be re­sourced suf­fi­ciently to meet the se­ri­ous na­tional chal­lenge.

3. Es­tab­lish­ment of sep­a­rate courts for cor­rup­tion cases.

Let there be spe­cialised courts suf­fi­ciently staffed with highly eth­i­cal, com­pe­tent and mo­ti­vated judges to deal with this scourge; if nec­es­sary com­ple­ment our judges with for­eign judges. Vi­o­la­tions of judges’ Court Or­ders to be pun­ished se­verely and promptly.

4. Crim­i­nalise fail­ure to re­port cor­rup­tion and en­act whistle­blower pro­tec­tion law.

Fail­ure to re­port cor­rup­tion should be crim­i­nal­ized. Gov­ern­ment to pro­tect whistle­blow­ers who have wit­nessed cor­rup­tion throw ef­fec­tive whistle­blow­ing poli­cies.

5. En­sure good cor­po­rate gov­er­nance in the min­istries and paras­tatals.

There is no way you can get good can­di­dates for the job us­ing out­dated and cor­rupt re­cruit­ment meth­ods and pro­cesses, with lit­tle or zero trans­parency. The PSS, DPSS and direc­tors must go through a good cor­po­rate gov­er­nance train­ing, prefer­ably King II, III and IV, which is cheaply ob­tain­able across the border. It must be stated that crim­i­nals, like hye­nas, are able to spot and cap­ture a vul­ner­a­ble of­fi­cer and en­tice him with em­ploy­ment of their rel­a­tives and friends in se­nior gov­ern­ment po­si­tions ir­re­spec­tive of their lack of qual­i­fi­ca­tions. There­after, the tail starts to wag the dog, the poor cap­tured of­fi­cer is black­mailed and dic­tated to by the crim­i­nal for­ever.

6. Cor­rup­tion ex-con­victs to undergo re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion be­fore reem­ploy­ment.

Re­morse­ful ex-con­victs can be con­sid­ered for re-em­ployed in the civil ser­vice only af­ter re-train­ing and un­der­gone some ob­ser­va­tion. And of course, not em­ployed in the same de­part­ment and po­si­tion they abused. Dis­crim­i­nat­ing cor­rup­tion re­pen­tant ex-con­victs, can be coun­ter­pro­duc­tive and ex­ac­er­bate the prob­lem in the Le­sotho dis­pen­sa­tion.

7. Banks must re­port any sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tion to the po- lice.

Par­lia­ment to en­act a law that forces the banks to re­port to the po­lice any de­posit, with­drawal or trans­fer that is sus­pi­cious. This law to ap­ply to ALL ci­ti­zens ir­re­spec­tive of their so­cial/po­lit­i­cal stand­ing.

8. Con­tri­bu­tion by pri­vate com­pa­nies to po­lit­i­cal par­ties to be pro­hib­ited.

No com­pany should be al­lowed to fund any po­lit­i­cal party. Par­ties to be funded by their own mem­bers. In this way, no gov­ern­ment administration will be in­debted to any com­pany or crim­i­nal. Party fund­ing should also be au­dited.

9. End im­punity and dis­re­gard of court or­ders.

The only thing work­ing very well in Le­sotho are the courts of law, at least up to now. If we let crim­i­nals con­quer and ma­nip­u­late courts of law by vi­o­lat­ing court or­ders with im­punity, then God help us all! Vi­o­la­tion of court or­ders must be dealt with, ruth­lessly and with­out any mercy, other­wise we run a risk of our judges be­ing in­fil­trated.

10. In­stall CCTVS in most gov­ern­ment con­fer­ence halls and of­fices.

Chi­canery and ma­nip­u­la­tion of se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials by crim­i­nals is done mostly in the gov­ern­ment of­fices. Abus­ing of­fices as day rest will stop.

11. New min­is­ters must be em­pow­ered through work­shops for their new re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

Par­lia­men­tar­i­ans are elected by the peo­ple at con­stituency level, and we all ap­plaud that. But the fact is some of them, es­pe­cially the aca­dem­i­cally chal­lenged ones, have no clue how the civil ser­vice op­er­ates. This is the time when cor­rup­tion ped­dlers take the op­por­tu­nity and pre­tend to be ad­vi­sors to the ig­no­rant min­is­ter. There­after the poor min­is­ter be­comes an un- will­ing part­ner in crime used as a tool of mak­ing money from the gov­ern­ment cof­fers through black­mail. Train­ing them in cor­rup­tion aware­ness, crim­i­nals’ modus operandi and ba­sic rule of law in the civil ser­vice can lead to less PSS com­mit­ting suicide.

12. His Majesty the King should be pro­tected from crim­i­nals and fraud­sters.

His Majesty the King is the most valu­able and pre­cious as­set we have in the coun­try. As such, it is the duty of the gov­ern­ment to en­sure that his safety and pro­tec­tion from the crim­i­nals is max­i­mum all the time. His Majesty has no in­fras­truc­ture to screen all peo­ple ap­proach­ing him, some of whom mas­querad­ing as an­gels while in fact they are not.

That func­tion should squarely be the re­spon­si­bil­ity of the gov­ern­ment. There is one thing that we must ac­cept, an un­re­pen­tant crim­i­nal has noth­ing to lose, he is at the bot­tom of the so­cial hi­er­ar­chy be­ing a thief; given an op­por­tu­nity he will sink and em­bar­rass the high­est of­fice in Le­sotho. The King is our last hope, we can’t af­ford to have crim­i­nals frat­er­niz­ing with him.

13. Let there be a ruth­less bian­nual PS peer re­view con­fer­ence.

Let there be a PS of the year and mam­para of the year, and the mam­para to be shown the door. In­com­pe­tency and cor­rup­tion ten­den­cies to be ex­posed in this fo­rum.

14. Min­is­ters not to choose and ap­point their own PSS.

I hear Chief Le­abua Jonathan didn’t al­low his min­is­ters to re­cruit their own PSS. That was a noble de­ci­sion by the chief. No min­is­ter can be cor­rupt with­out cor­po­ra­tion of at least one of his sub­or­di­nates. We have re­cently seen two PSS shoot them­selves to death in­stead of an­swer­ing some em­bar- rass­ing and dif­fi­cult ques­tions. The ques­tion is why did the poor souls kill them­selves? Os­ten­si­bly, some­body could have pres­sur­ized them into a crime. You need to be ex­tra tough, or a Thuli Madon­sela to say “no” to your pow­er­ful boss. PSS must be pro­fes­sional, and po­litely tell the min­is­ter what he should hear, not what he wants to hear, with­out an­tag­o­niz­ing him. Of course, this can only be done by an em­pow­ered and highly pro­fes­sional, eth­i­cal and con­fi­dant PS.

15. Limit con­tract terms for the paras­tatals CEOS.

PSS and CEOS of the paras­tatals to serve two terms of three-year non-re­new­able con­tracts. They should quit be­fore they de­velop a com­fort zone and be­come a less cre­ative dead­wood, get bored and be­come cor­rupt; let them go out and ac­quire new skills and fresh ideas else­where. They can al­ways come back later with added lead­er­ship skills.

16. Limit PM’S ten­ure to two five-year terms.

Af­ter two terms, the PM should call it quits. The longer he stays, the more he is ex­pos­ing him­self to ma­nip­u­la­tion by cor­rup­tion ped­dlers. What is it that he has for­got­ten to im­ple­ment in the last 10 years that he wants to im­ple­ment in the 11th year?

17. Im­pose strict con­trol on the us­age of state ve­hi­cles.

In Botswana se­nior gov­ern­ment of­fi­cers, in­clud­ing min­is­ters, use their per­sonal ve­hi­cles to and from work. Why can’t we do it in Le­sotho?

18. Min­is­ters to ap­ply/re­quest for over­seas trips to the PM.

Some­times over­seas trips could be abused to dis­hon­estly trans­fer and hide the looted money. Over­seas trips should not be taken un­less it is VERY nec­es­sary.

Mr Put­soane is sus­pended Le­sotho High­lands Wa­ter Com­mis­sion Chief Del­e­gate for Le­sotho. He wrote this ar­ti­cle in his per­sonal ca­pac­ity.

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