Of all the things we can be accused of, no one can point a finger at us, Basotho, for lacking in political humour. Lesotho’s politicians are never a big yawn. They are an entertaining bunch. The best comedians in the world. They make Trevor Noah green with envy.
The circus in the once mighty All Basotho Convention (ABC) has kept us entertained for quite some time. There is no sign that it will abate any soon. If Ntate Majoro remains defiant – expect to see Ntate Motsoahe, resplendent in his yellow jacket, green pants, purple shirt and pink shoes, heading straight to try and physically evict the prime minister from State House. If we were not an economic backwater, the antics of our politicians would keep us laughing. We would be number one in the world happiness stakes in place of Finland. We will not be number one in homicides. We would be a good circus.
But as we all know, for you to enjoy a visit to a circus, you first must have a full tummy. You must also have taken a good warm shower from a piped source. You must also be in good health and anticipate that if you catch Omicron at the circus, you can get a bed and medicines at Tšepong. You must also have a job and healthy bank balance. Unfortunately, a majority of Basotho don’t have these. We get by on less than M20 a day.
This is why it’s high time we must all stand up and demand of our politicians that their time of behaving like clowns in a circus is over. They must now do what we elect them to do; ie govern this country to prosperity and stop taking us for fools.
We will all be wrong to dismiss the current tiff between bontate Majoro and Mochoboroane as just another sequel in our circus circuit.
For those among us who live in a parallel universe or in the mountains, let me briefly explain this astonishing tiff. Ntate Majoro was recently chaperoned to some meeting by Ntate Machesetsa (the BNP leader), where the prime minister launched a scathing attack against bontate Mochoboroane and Metsing over their relentless behaviour in trying to avoid being joined to the treason of Tlali Kamoli and his fellow delinquents.
They had remained adamant that they should not be tried for treason until after the completion of the reforms process as per the love pact between the now fallen Motsoahae regime and the SADC regional bloc. As we all know, their argument fell away when our courts – at all levels – upheld the supremacy of His Majesty’s constitution against the proclivities of the normally useless SADC. You cannot blame bontate Mochoboroane and Metsing for not trying. It’s never nice being in court daily for such a heavy crime, not knowing whether or not you will be convicted and hanged. But when all has been said and done, the conclusions of the courts are what binds any civilised nations. The two politicians should thus have simply submitted themselves to the law, particularly because they should be exemplary in upholding it.
The brave Mochoboroane decided to take the bull by the horns and present himself before Justice Sakoane Sakoane. In a further sign of his bravery, he submitted an affidavit outlining his role in the fateful events of 30 August 2014. He explains why he assisted the soldiers? I cannot fathom any other example of bravery because Ntate Mochoboroane is in fact confirming he participated in the attempted putsch. In other words, he is an honest man. It is up to Ntate Sakoane to make a ruling on the matter. But the weakling or marshmallow of our politics, Methotjoa Metsing, elected to do what he knows best; vote with his feet. A local weekly claimed last week that he had been found and would soon appear in court. The police have rejected that report. Instead, Ntate Metsing is still hiding under a bed somewhere in Orkney, the mine at which he used to labour underground before Lesotho’s politics changed his fortunes. I will disclose exactly in which house Ntate Metsing is hiding as soon as the police announce a reward of M50 000 or more for information about his exact whereabouts.
Ntate Metsing – as we now know from his deputy Ntate Mokhosi – will remain hiding until the reforms are completed and the LCD gets the judiciary and judges it wants to try their leader. At least this is another circus we can all laugh at. Ntate Mokhosi never ceases to amaze. He is always good for a laugh. In other words, he is saying Ntate Sakoane, who is doing a splendid job as chief justice, is not fit for purpose. This alone warrants a second treason charge against the LCD and Ntate Metsing.
But the circus we cannot afford to laugh at is what has transpired since. Ntate Majoro has since used a gathering, in Mount Moorosi, Quthing, to which he was chaperoned by Ntate Machesetsa, to launch a blistering and unprecedented attack on bontate Metsing and Mochoboroane.
He essentially accused them of being crooks trying to blackmail the government to help them avoid meeting their judicial comeuppance for their past and present sins.
An irate Ntate Mochoboroane then fired back, accusing Ntate Majoro of being the biggest crook in the universe in a no holds barred interview with the Sunday Express.
Now, this is no ordinary tiff. It is not your usual bickering among our kindergarten politicians. Ntate Mochoboroane is no ordinary political nincompoop. He is a developing political behemoth. His MEC party, unless he is jailed, is an inevitable ruling party one day in the future. He has also been a cabinet minister in various portfolios with an impressive track record. Once, Ntate Motsoahae tried to fire him from his post as communications minister and replace him with the Guptarite or Nikuved Joang Molapo. Ntate Mochoboroane simply summoned Kamoli to stand guard at his office. It was Ntate Motsoahae himself who ended up voting with his feet, seeking refuge in Ladybrand, before opting for Ficksburg, to be as far away as possible from Mochoboroane. Now, these are not the actions of a political spittle. They are the actions of a man with steel nerves. That’s is why his real name is Mochoborooooooooane (a horse with a back bone of steel). This is why we cannot afford to take Ntate Mochoboroane’s fightback against Ntate Majoro as mere rantings of an unhinged political player. After all, Ntate Mochoboroane is still an integral part of Ntate Majoro’s cabinet, occupying the all too important post of Development Planning Minister, a position just as important as the prime ministers.
Where in Africa, have you seen a serving minister attacking his prime minister and accusing him of graft? Where in Africa have you seen a minister daring a prime minister to fire him? For this, we have to stand and salute Ntate Mochoboorane for his bravery. While he was initially wrong to join Ntate Metsing in a vainglorious attempt to avoid appearing before the courts, Ntate Mochoboroane eventually got it right. He has proved he is one of a few in our political class driven by principle regardless of the kwenzikwenzis (consequences).
Among other things, Ntate Mochoboroane accuses Ntate Majoro of rigging the controversial fleet tender to reward his friends. He also accused him of covering up the brutal murder of former Home Affairs procurement official, Khahliso Soro, because the prime minister’s friend masterminded the murder.
Ntate Soro was brutally tortured and his heart ripped out after he had in 2018 threatened to expose his Home Affairs superiors for their corruption and covetousness before the parliamentary public accounts committee (PAC) then chaired by Ntate Mochoboroane. As is typical with our useless police under Holomo Molibeli, there has not even been anything close to an attempt to investigate the murder. Not even a visit by the police to the murder scene in Ha-Pita, Maseru. Although the scumbag that masterminded Ntate Soro’s death is well known, nothing will happen to it because it is a friend of the prime minister, Ntate Mochoboroane contends. Now that is a very serious charge.
“Majoro is not at all holy and he knows very well that he is corrupt,” a fuming Ntate Mochoboroane said in a no-holds-barred weekend interview with the Sunday Express.
These are allegations that cannot and should not be taken lightly. Moreso because they are not the words of an opposition politician vying for power by trying to discredit an incumbent. No, they are from a politician who is an integral part of the existing power matrix.
By confirming he is willing to forego the coalition gravy train by taking the prime minister head on, it means Ntate Mochoboroane knows a thing or two about the veracity of his allegations. This is not to say the prime minister is guilty of the allegations. But when a sitting member of cabinet accuses a sitting prime minister of being complicit in corruption and murder, only a Medieval society can fail to demand answers from the premier.
For the record, the Sunday Express committed a journalistic faux pas by not putting Ntate Mochoboroane’s allegations before Ntate Majoro for his side of the story. The prime minister would have not bothered to comment anyway but at least he should have been afforded the right of reply. This however should not stop civic society and Basotho at large from demanding answers from Ntate Majoro.
In any normal society, Ntate Majoro would have sprung to action; called a press conference; derided the Sunday Express for not giving him an opportunity to respond; and then confirmed or denied that he is corrupt or an accessory to murder. But the prime minister has not done that and will probably not do that because he knows Basotho will not demand answers. And that has always been our biggest mistake. That explains our current state of backwardness. We don’t hold our politicians accountable. They therefore take us for granted.
Our civic society – with the little exception of Ntate Tsikoane Peshoane’s Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) – is comatose, if not wholly non-existent. If it was worth anything, civic society would be haranguing Ntate Majoro for answers.
Ntate Mochoboroane owes it to Basotho to provide evidence of the corruption he alleges against the prime minister. Ntate Majoro equally owes this nation a response to these serious allegations. These are not the issues that can just be ignored. If we indeed have a prime minister who protects a murderer, who was preceded by another suspected of actually committing murder, then be afraid, be very afraid. It explains why we now top the world in terms of homicides, instead of producing and exporting electrical vehicles (Elon Musk style).
I have been following the goings on in Britain, the country after which everything we love, including our political system (minus the calibre of our actual politicians), is derived with a deep sense of trepidation. I love prime minister Boris Johnson. He is a funny clownish character. But he is hard working. He commandeered his entire nation into accepting the mad act of leaving the European Union (Brexit). Imagine, Ntate Majoro commandeering us to leave SADC (Lexit) yet as an economist, he knows there is economic strength in numbers? But despite his pomposity and vile arrogance and racism, Ntate Johnson delivers for his people. Now, Ntate Johnson is on the verge of losing his job as prime minister because he passed via a Christmas party of his staff at his Downing Street offices last year. Can you believe it? A prime minister facing ouster because he briefly attended a Christmas party? Many Basotho will accuse the Brits of rank madness. But that’s how a principled political system works nonetheless. The crime here is that Ntate Johnson viad the party after he had imposed a lockdown to contain Covid and had banned all social gatherings. He had even banned Brits from having sex. He was barely at the party for five minutes and did not even finish a half glass of his favourite Maluti lager (which they send him from here and which is why he reinstated a full British High Commission here).
But the people of Britain, who understand the need to hold their politicians accountable are having none of it. There cannot be one rule for politicians – as is our case in Lesotho – and a rule for everyone else. Why should I be banned from interacting with family and friends and bonking my lover while the prime minister can attend Christmas parties and even let his staff organise them in the first instance? That is the question every Briton is asking.
If it was here in Lesotho, boNtate Majoro or Motsoahae could lock all of us in our houses then convene their friends to celebrate their 85th and 98th birthdays respectively and get away with it? If Scrutator took them to task, the rest of the nation would think I am mad. Now that should explain why we are where we are in terms of development. We let our politicians get away with anything.
Here, we have a prime minister who has been accused of shielding a murderer from the wrath of the law and of being corrupt by a sitting member of his cabinet. Yet no one appears to be bothered. No one is asking any questions. In the meantime, corruption has decimated us that we are no longer on the edge of a precipice but halfway under it. Homicides have become our second nature. Nothing is being done about it. If we are to remain a Stone Age entity (country) then we have none but ourselves to blame.
As Bob Marley trenchantly commented in Redemption Song “None but ourselves can free our minds (from political treachery)”. The best we can do for ourselves is hold our politicians accountable. Unless we do, we will just have to accept our continued demise.
I am on record saying Ntate Majoro must remain in power until the 2022 elections, despite the prolific efforts by Ntate Motsoahae’s corrupt and inept cabal to oust him. For him to retain my support (which is essential for him to remain even as a PS in the next government) he must at least explain why Ntate Soro’s well known murderer is still strutting his stuff around and his alleged role in furthering the nests of those corrupt dudes in the fleet tender. It’s either that or I am done with him.