Ruling from the grave can be defined simplistically as a strategy by an election losing party to strive to maintain some semblance of control over the political destination of a country in spite of its rejection by the voters. It can take many forms but the most common tactic is to ensure that its trusted foot soldiers remain in government and then use such people to advance its agenda by a combination of all forms of subterfuge.
These usually range from outright unfaithfulness by junior ranking public servants who are remnants of the outgoing regime who run errands for their defeated political masters to outright sabotaging the government of the day. They keep their erstwhile bosses updated with all sorts of information and on the day – to – day goings-on in government and even steal confidential government documents if need be.
The overall objective being to ensure that the incumbent government never gets to function properly. The leaking of government documents –especially confidential ones – helps to keep the defeated opposition leaders updated and privy to information which they then use to incapacitate the ruling party at every turn.
We have in this country an opposition that seeks to rule from the grave and it might well be succeeding to do so. Many junior public servants who were deployed by the Mosisili regime in key government ministries have been retained in those positions by the current government. They continue to occupy relatively minor positions in the hierarchy and for all intents and purposes remain unnoticed.
These we must remember are foot soldiers with the same agenda as their political masters and they have a common agenda with them. And that is to ultimately unseat this government whatever it takes. The government by holding on to them is taking a huge risk because enemy soldiers like their defeated generals cannot be trusted to be loyal.
While many people will argue that these people are professional civil servants my counter – argument is that these people were deployed in the positions they occupy simply because that ill – fated government had entrusted them with the responsibility of ensuring its own survival. To this day they remain sympathetic to that government and will do anything to ensure its return to power.
This is why it is not enough to simply get rid of the principal secretaries and other political appointees of the previous government. The personal secretaries that they have left behind are just as political as their bosses and in a sense they are even more dangerous than them because of their invisibility.
In the dead of night they continue to leak and communicate confidential government documents to the opposition only to turn up at their respective government ministries the following day – their hearts bubbling with joy –that they have lived to see another day. And this goes on day in and day out.
The vast majority of civil servants in the government today are tried and tested snakes of the previous government. In spite of what they will tell you – which is usually just meant for public consumption only – they are charlatans doing the bidding of the previous government. The government can only retain them at its own peril.
In my day – to – day working life I get to interact with many of these people. They drag their feet in offices resulting in poor service delivery to present their political masters with an excuse to point an accusing finger at the government. They work hard to ensure that the public remains disgruntled at the shoddy services they provide with the same agenda of eventually tarnishing the image of the government beyond recognition.
This is what classic ruling from the grave is all about. If you think I am pursuing an agenda of a wholesale purge of the civil servants you have probably missed the point. The point I am making is that if we can get rid of political appointees and then leave their lackeys in place we run the nightmarish risk of running a perpetually unstable government.
The puppet is no different from the puppeteer. They all sing from the same hymn book. You cannot realistically hope that a Mosisili supporter will transform overnight into a Thabane loyalist. That is wishful thinking. We need to undertake an audit of the public service and weed out these undesirable elements if this country seriously intends to move forward.
The police force and the army should be our first port of call. Under Mosisili the army was anything other than an army. We saw soldiers run amok and commit the most despicable crimes imaginable. An army that discredited cannot by any stretch of imagination be trusted to discharge its constitutional mandate professionally. The army must be fumigated to ensure we never go back to those dark days again.
Our police service has to be professionalised and never again should we see crimes go unsolved because the police are themselves the culprits. We must make sure that Mosisili and company rest in peace and never allow them to rule from the grave.