Metsing: The political marshmallow



FOLLOWING all the political developments around our Tom and Jerry coalition government over the last two
weeks has left Scrutator with a very sour mouth.
The circus in the once venerable coalition government would be laughable if indeed it were not so tragic.
As the old adage goes; “where two elephants fight, the grass suffers the most.”
As our main political honchos remain locked up in their war of attrition, there
can be no doubt poor Basotho will become poorer.
Which investor will come and pour their resources into a country saddled with the kind of shenanigans and political skullduggery that we have seen in the last couple of weeks?
Which existing investor is going to pour more funds into his business and create more jobs amid all the uncertainties created by our coalition cohorts?
That indispensable component of economic development, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and political stability, go hand in hand.
The least our political honchos can do for our backwater nation is to get their act together and enable us one clear political direction.
Basotho surely deserve better.
We cannot live in an environment in which we are all not sure whether we still have a functional government or not.

Looking at this whole Tom and Jerry circus nonetheless, it is crystal clear that one player has so far come out worse off.
Mothetjoa Metsing is generally speaking a good human being.
His demeanor and outlook is of a very kind nature.
He is a cool, affable individual with disarming charm and humility.
If Scrutator were ever to be endowed with the venerable task of choosing a career for Metsing, I would certainly recommend that he become a pastor.
My second choice of work for Metsing would be that of used car or used furniture salesman.
I bet anyone walking into any used car yard or old furniture warehouse would find it difficult to resist Metsing’s charm and calm demeanor.
He will certainly prevail upon you to buy his stock even if you don’t need it.
Not because of any mythical powers of persuasion on Metsing’s part but because any customer would buy from him out of pity for him.
The last job that Scrutator would ever recommend for Metsing is that of politician.
The rough and tumble of this dirty game is the least suited for this nice guy.
The sooner he packs his bags and go, the better for his moribund political party.
The spectacle unfolding in the coalition has exposed Metsing as, at best, the most naïve politician the Kingdom has ever produced or, for lack of another better description, the least shrewd.

Metsing has every right to be angry with Tom Thabane.
He has every right to walk out of the coalition he entered with Cyclone Tom in 2012.
He has every right to break his deputy’s desk in a fit of rage (as long as he compensates taxpayers).
In a nutshell, if Metsing was an astute politician, he should have drawn a line in the sand and pronounced a clear position on his participation in the coalition.
If I were him, I would have categorically stated: “I have today led the LCD out of the 2012 Coalition Agreement because of the following reasons (list the reasons) . . .
“I have ordered all my ministers to quit their posts and surrender all their perks including their Mercedes Benzes and V8s. I am walking away to seek a new dalliance with the Democratic Congress and its leader, Size Two.
“Tom Thabane is going to be left with only 28 seats in Parliament. He cannot conceivably remain a legitimate leader. His decision to prorogue parliament is invalid. It converts him into a latter day Muammar Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein.
“My new coalition with Size Two will command 74 seats.
“We thus have the right to form the next government. We will appeal to the King to suspend the prorogation of Parliament and we form a new government. We will be back soon.”
Finish and Klaar.

There can be no doubt that such a bold declaration would have portrayed Metsing as a decisive politician worth his salt.
What does he give us instead, some political claptrap and double speak which dooms him as a political marshmallow.
While pronouncing that he is pulling out of the 2012 Coalition Agreement with Thabane and getting into bed with Mosisili, Metsing says he will still remain part of Thabane’s government.
What crass nonsense is this?
Apparently Metsing and Size Two have written to the National Assembly Speaker and the King asserting their right to form a new government because of their 74 seat majority.
Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and say they will have their way.
It will at most be a few weeks before they form a new government, according to their pronouncements at last week’s press conference.
If Metsing is so confident, then why should he not act decisively and completely break off from Thabane and then be back in government within the short period.
Is this because Metsing and his crew have become so accustomed to the trappings of power that they cannot afford a few days or weeks without their V8s.

It is common cause, even among the most uninitiated Basotho, that the 2012 Coalition Agreement originated the rights for Thabane, Metsing and Maseribane to form the government.
How can Metsing then ever say he is pulling out of the Coalition Agreement yet remaining in government with his ministers?
Is this mere political naivety, political ineptitude, political foolishness or all of the above?
Above all, Metsing is breaking away with Thabane because of trust issues and allegations of not being consulted on important issues. In his new deal with Size Two, Metsing will remain deputy prime minister while the former gets back to State House to extend his long, daunting 15 year tenure.
It seems the best Metsing can ever do for himself and his party is to negotiate the second best-positions for themselves despite his current advantage of incumbency.

The most puzzling question is how does Metsing, who lambasted Size Two for lack of consultation when they both served as leader and secretary-general of the LCD respectively, think that Mosisili has suddenly transmogrified into a hearty consulting democrat?
Is this not the same Metsing who frequently grumbled that Size Two never consulted him on any important issues?
There was never any love lost between Size Two and Metsing leading to the latter’s firing as Minister of Communication and Size Two’s subsequent breaking away to form the DC.
In fact one of Size Two’s main reasons of splintering the LCD into the DC was to wean himself off Metsing.
So what has changed for Metsing to now make love with Size Two?
Lest we forget, the splintering of the DC from the LCD was no ordinary political development.
It was a political earthquake that shook our mountains.
It underlined a story of serious political differences.
Size Two broke away because this was the only option of weaning himself off Metsing since he could only fire him from the position of communications minister and not from the elected role of LCD secretary-general.
Again I ask, what has suddenly changed for Metsing to suddenly believe that once they are in government, he will now get the respect which Size Two inexorably failed to afford him when they served together in the last LCD government?

What has changed now for Metsing to think that once in government, Size Two will behave differently from Thabane?
Why would Mosisili bother to consult Metsing on anything now, when similar lack
of consultations led to their original break up?
But even more hilarious is the fact that while having firmly entrenched himself in Size Two’s bed, Metsing was still scheduled to go back for SADC brokered talks with Thabane yesterday, (My page goes to bed early so I would have already submitted this installment before the scheduled Wednesday talks end).
There are no prizes for guessing the outcome. I will not be surprised at all if Metsing makes a shift and goes to Thabane again.
Then goes to Size Two and say “sorry buddy, I have thought otherwise and I am going back to my coalition roots.”
Yet even more puzzling is the pact that Metsing has reached with Size Two.
It’s no better than the Coalition Agreement that Metsing has jettisoned.
It has no particularly entrenched provisions that will ensure Metsing is consulted in government. It’s most likely, again, that once Size Two has used Metsing to get back into government, the latter will, like a used or broken condom, be hurriedly discarded
to be a mere window dresser in the government.
When that happens, Scrutator can see the hapless Metsing rushing back to
Thabane to say “Ntate, lets form another coalition.
“Ntate Mosisili has gone back to his previous ways of not consulting me. At least you were better Ntate.”

That’s of course the nature of political marshmallows.
They are just too soft and melt easily.
Metsing has not only proved to be one soft marshmallow, he has proved to be a tragic one.
Sooner or later when elections are held, his LCD will disappear from the political landscape.
That will be an opportunity for the BNP, which would have waited 500 light years to be part of any government, were it not for the current coalition arrangement, to occupy the space and better its fortunes.
Another crunch question is whether Metsing thought through his decision to bring back Size Two into government after the later’s uninterrupted 15 year reign.
What can Size Two do now to better the lot of Basotho that he could not achieve in 15 years; one of the longest reigns in African history?
Metsing’s decision is clearly ill-advised.

Scrutator has a lot of other qualms with Cyclone Tom.
But at least he has been a breath of fresh air.
Both competent and incompetent individuals have been fired from government.
That is a good thing.
Firing anyone, including the competent ones, is a good incentive to try and coax other civil servants into performing.
It’s good for people to know that they will be fired even if they perform well.
There also have been viable attempts to tackle corruption, which festered during Size Two’s reign.
So why does Metsing want to take us back to the past. I wonder.
By clearly admitting that he had already reached a pact with Mosisili before addressing a press conference at the Black Swan last Wednesday at which he said he would now “consult with other political parties”, Metsing has also given life to the old adage that “the most difficult choice a politician must ever make is whether to be a hypocrite or liar.” In this case, Metsing does not need to make a choice.
He is deservedly both.
Lesotho in general, and the LCD in particular, deserves better.
The once powerful LCD’s slow but sure slide into oblivion is now guaranteed unless the party changes its leader.

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