Patronage Lesotho’s undoing



THE country’s political parties have been holding rallies to galvanise their supporters as electioneering gathers momentum ahead of possible elections that could be called by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili who vowed to do so in the event of a no-confidence motion on his government.

Even exiled leaders like former premier Thomas Thabane have not been left out and just this Sunday, he took advantage of technology to make a telephonic address to thousands of supporters of his All Basotho Convention (ABC) at a rally held on Sunday in Ha Tšosane.

It was a typical rally address in which the brickbats were aimed at the government for the economic malaise and of course the expected promises of a better life under his leadership.

It was also typical in that Dr Thabane found time to attack two prominent former party members former deputy leader Tlali Khasu, and Motimposo constituency member of parliament,  Pitso Maisa.

Messrs Khasu and Maisa left the ABC last month citing persecution by Dr Thabane and have since formed a new party dubbed the True Reconcilliation Unity.

Dr Thabane accused Messrs Khasu and Maisa of being “ungrateful” in leaving the party despite all he had done for them.

“Their departure is a lesson for me to never trust anyone,” the ABC leader thundered.

We are not overly worried about what ABC supporters or even Dr Thabane’s newly found Alliance for Democrats allies make of the fact that the he trusts no-one.

Our real concern, which should be a concern for all Basotho (not the ABC) is Dr Thabane’s subsequent claim that, “I really went out of my way to assist those two, and even took Maisa to the Prime Minister’s Office when I was in government even though he had no qualifications.”

Sometimes, when you speak for a long time on several issues, there is that unintended consequence of exposing yourself and this is exactly what the former premier did.

Herein, lies the issue- Mr Maisa was taken into the key office of the Prime Minister even though he had no qualifications!

What Dr Thabane neglected to tell his supporters and the nation at large is what it was that was so special about Mr Maisa that he just had to be appointed to this important office.

Our educated guess is that patronage trumped rational decision-making in this instance.

And we ask, how many more such unqualified persons sat in high offices, making or failing to make important decisions precisely because they lacked capacity?

How many more such people continue to strut around in the hallowed offices, looking very important despite the fact that based on competence they should not even be in those positions?

Here is a country crying out for competent leaders and officials to be appointed to positions where they can contribute to the socio-economic development in the country.

And Mr Maisa had the temerity to boast in response to Dr Thabane’s remarks, stating that “I don’t understand the relevance of him mentioning the issue of qualifications since I never pretended to have them”.

“It is really sad for him to mention that issue because most of the people supporting Ntate Thabane are illiterate. So, I don’t understand the kind of message he is trying to relay to his followers,” Mr Maisa added.

This is the 21st century and qualifications are certainly necessary for people in government to fulfill the development mandate.

We are no longer in the dark ages where physical attributes and mere emotional preferment were often enough to land some fortunate people the opportunity to run villages, states or to be somewhere in leadership.

Even in ancient times, thousands of years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Egyptian Pharaoh had the presence of mind to appoint the Hebrew foreigner to the role of Prime Minister, overseeing Egypt’s strategy to save enough food to last the country through the anticipated seven years of famine.

Such was the success of Joseph in his position that other nations came to Egypt to buy food.

In these modern times, Lesotho needs such leadership that will eschew patronage and appoint people to government on the basis of merit.

This is our hope for our country as we begin the new year.



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