Home Scrutator Ntate Shelile: A voice of reason 

Ntate Shelile: A voice of reason 

by Lesotho Times
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It is always refreshing to have an adult in the room. Trade, Industry and Business Development Minister, Ntate Mokhethi Shelile, is indeed a voice of reason. He is the proverbial adult in the room. 

I this week came across his recent interview in the Lesotho Times in which he warned against the wholesale implementation of the so-called Business Licensing Regulations, 2020. 

These hideous and incongruous regulations seek to preserve large swathes of the business sector for Basotho in the hope they will suddenly become flourishing entrepreneurs. 

Ntate Shelile spoke after an outfit calling itself the Maseru Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI), which purports to represent native Basotho businesspeople, came out guns blazing, accusing Ntate Shelile of refusing to implement these odious Regulations, which emanate from the Business Licensing and Registration Act, 2019. 

Ntate Shelile was diplomatic. Without wholly rejecting these Ragulations for obvious reasons, he urged Basotho to be patient saying the Regulations must be implemented carefully because of their potentially negative ramifications.  He warned the regulations – if rushed – could impact Lesotho’s relations with other countries. 

Scrutator does not have a crystal ball. But I can see through Ntate Shelile’s heart. I am convinced he does not support these insane regulations. He is an entrepreneur of note and he knows the ramifications of unguarded nationalistic and populist decisions. 

As I have warned before. And as I will warn again, these regulations must be confined to a filthy dustbin wherein they belong. 

Whoever the “genius” is, who came up with these regulations must see a holy psychiatrist from Jupiter. 

The Regulations seek to ban foreigners from operating in at least 47 economic sectors ranging from retail segments to logistics and motor trade. They are indeed over-arching? 

What surprised me though is that they don’t seek to ban foreigners from the car wash industry, Lesotho’s foremost fledgling industry and a sector of choice for most Basotho? Why? 

Was this a deliberate omission or an invitation for foreigners to disrupt one of the country’s key economic sectors? Please tell me MCCI. In fact, why not just ban all foreigners from everything and wake up the next day with Basotho being billionaires? 

I cannot even begin to fathom the crass stupidity of all those who believe banning foreigners from investing and participating in certain economic sectors will breed us Basotho into becoming effective entrepreneurs. It will not happen. 

I can also not comprehend why and how the advocates and believers of these silly regulations won’t learn? Zimbabwe for instance, implemented these same illiterate regulations. The result was investors voted with their feet.  Zimbabwe never recovered. Zimbabweans are now known for being so poor they recycle condoms. Like Nigerians, you now find them everywhere including on the Siberian steppes. 

You cannot legislate for entrepreneurial success. Yes, a government can take deliberate, concrete steps to nurture the entrepreneurial environment and promote its local business people. However, it cannot legislate for their success by banning foreigners. It won’t work. 

Entrepreneurs are born. They can also be made. Before a Chinese or Indian established their successful Spaza in a remote part of Qacha, there was nothing stopping a Mosotho from establishing the same in that area.  Trying to remove the successful Chinese or Indian in the hope of creating an opportunity for a Mosotho to replicate the success amounts to anthropological stupidity. 

I am happy that Ntate Shelile understands all this and his ministry is very cautious with implementing these Regulations.  I urge him not to implement them at all. All the paper they are printed on must be donated to herd-boys for use as toilet paper. 

As a Mosotho woman, I am going to succeed in business. My flock of sheep has grown to nine, goats to six and chickens plenty. I don’t need to be insulted with the tokenism that for my success to be expedited, I need foreigners banned from the livestock.  Please spare us all the crap. 

                     Go and eat grasshoppers   

What has become of Lesotho’s legal profession? Have some of our lawyers gone bonkers?  Is there an effective sangoma out there as some of these lawyers need help with muti to get them to think? 

Your national masthead - Lesotho Times – published a story last week stating that Holomo Molibeli – the bogus former ‘commissioner of police’ had been caught up in a M40 million scandal.  The allegation was raised by ‘Malerato Khutlisi, the owner of Shelly Brown, who is accused – alongside her lover – of stealing M40 million from Tholo Energy. 

Khutlisi has gone to court to contest the seizure of her properties over the fraud she is accused of having committed. She alleges among other things that the M40 million was laundered and represent “proceeds of crime”. She accuses Molibeli of knowing it all and protecting the “launderer”, Tholo Energy owner, Ntate Moroahae. 

From the look of things, it appears like Mme Khutlisi is probably lying. I find it difficult to believe her story. If the M40 million represented proceeds of crime, then why did she, and her lover, Ntate Thahanyane steal the money? Why did they not report the case to the police the moment they realised the money had been laundered by Ntate Moroahae. Anyway, the matter is not for me to decide. Our esteemed judges will do that.  But the story as reported by the Lesotho Times was entirely based on court documents and affidavits filed by Mme Khutlisi. 

Now tell me, which lawyer does not know that you cannot sue a newspaper for reporting on court proceedings, regardless of how defamatory the contents of those proceedings are to their client (s)? 

Yet one Advocate Maqakachane has the temerity to write to the Lesotho Times demanding that the newspaper retracts the story or face a lawsuit because the story “defamed” Molibeli. 

The letter includes this killer paragraph: “It has also come to the attention of the Client that although Lesotho Times is registered in terms of Printing and Publication Act 1967, the publisher thereof does not hold any certificate of registration issued by the Registrar General under the Act. 

“In terms of section 7 of the Act 1967, no newspaper may be printed and/or published unless the proprietor thereof has previously obtained the certificate of registration issued under the hand and signature of the Registrar General. 

“It is clear that you are not entitled even to publish any information, material or news unless the proprietor of the Lesotho Times holds the certificate of registration. Your continued publication contrary to the regulatory framework above stated, constitute not only a criminal matter but alos (sic) a violation of Client’s reputation and good character.” 

So, in Ntate Maqakachane’s mind, the Lesotho Times must seize publication, so that his client – the worst cop ever to have donned that blue uniform – can feel good in his retirement and smooch his nyatsi in peace, glassy of cheap Sudanese whisky in hand?   

Scrutator verily believes that Advocate Maqakachane is not a nyaope addict.  I also believe that he actually attended law school. I also believe he was a day law scholar and did not go to night school.  If all these points are true, then Ntate Maqakachane should know better than to waste ink and paper in penning such a stupid letter. 

Ntate Maqakachane has also used the bizarre insane trick of quoting a 1967 law in 2024 to try and shut down another newspaper, the Tribune, which has accused his other clients of the wholesale looting of the country’s pension fund. 

Whatever Ntate Maqakachane has decided to start smoking must be very virulent. Scrutator has a word for him. Go and eat not only grass Ntate Maqakachane, but the grasshoppers in that grass as well. Afterwards, go jump into the deepest part of Mohale Dam and take your good client along with.  

Still on the subject of the bizarre, Scrutator has been made aware of a column in a local “newspaper” by someone who tries to imitate me but has failed dismally as a latter-day satirist. Everyone knows that any attempt to attack the Lesotho Times is by implication an attack on me.  The less said about that pretender – who tried to complain about a mistake purportedly made in a budget story the better.  It must be frustrating trying to compete with this national masthead while publishing a measly 16-to-24-page sheet masquerading as a “newspaper”. I will not mention this pretender – who tried to impugn the reputation of editors on this newspaper by name. He or she does not deserve free publicity. Suffice to say better concentrate on running your moribund tiny news sheet to survive instead of obsessing with a popular national masthead. As for the invitation to buy him/her Corona, that special beer is not for donkeys. 



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