Planting seeds of discontent

By Dr Sempe Sempe

A LETTER written by the former minister of trade, Mpho Malie, to the managing director of Standard Lesotho Bank, Roger Snelgar, has left the country in a state of shock.
The letter insinuates corruption in the funds allocated for block farming.
The letter further blames the bank for what it calls its imprudent lending tendencies when it comes to block farming and that the bank has been used as a gateway within which funds could be siphoned from government coffers by government ministers.
The letter has raised a lot of questions from different quarters of society.
The first being why was it written?
 And what purpose does it serve?
Malie has been in government for donkey years and has served in the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leadership since its formation.
Surely, he knows how and where to complain if he has issues of concern.
To have served Standard Lesotho Bank with a letter that articulates problems in his party’s government says there is more to this issue than just a “concerned taxpayer” game as it is portrayed.
Before the letter could even be addressed by those concerned, it found its way into the media, creating confusion in the national spectrum.
The question is who could have “leaked” that letter from a concerned citizen to the media?
What measures did Malie take to ensure that his letter did not serve in the public space prematurely hence denying its recipients valuable opportunity to engage with it without interference or influence from the public?
I ask myself whether the letter was meant to be responded to in the first place or the former minister just wanted to make a point.
If so, what point is it that he has made? Is it not equivalent to washing one’s linen in public?
Since when has Malie realised possible corruption in the LCD administration?
Having served the same administration, how come he never raised any issue when he was still minister?
How many times has the party had to rescue Malie when he was marred by false allegations of corruption, if such a situation ever existed?
 Why is he using the same strategy today to get at his political rivals?
The tendency to want to try and find innocent people guilty in the court of public opinion without giving such people an opportunity to defend themselves seems to be the strategy here.
Fighting political battles by buying public sympathy and misleading seems to be at play here.
The new approach of wanting the innocent to prove their innocence for the sake of political gain is in full force in this situation.
Malie makes damming allegations and decides not to prove them, hence leaving the accused with a heavy burden of clearing their names.
This approach makes one to ask the intentions of the former minister. Is he pushing an agenda?
The events preceding that letter answer some of the questions that I ask.
Knowing the recent tensions within the rank and file of the LCD especially during the time when Malie was its secretary general, one can only conclude that this must be their continuation.
We all know how the succession race of the ruling party got dirty and how some leaders were crucified by a faction aligned to the writer of the letter in question.
We also know how certain media houses were used to portray certain quarters of the LCD leadership in a very bad light?
It looks to me that the same has come back to haunt us.
If Malie is to be trusted for future roles, he will need to refrain from this tendency of playing hide and seek.
Using the public for one’s cause can only haunt those that do it later on.
 Dr Sempe is a member of the LCD and writes in his personal capacity.

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