T he day we have been clamouring for is finally upon us.
Tomorrow we all throng polling stations to make a decision that binds us until 2027. That is assuming that the new regime to emerge after tomorrow lasts thus far.
After all, haven’t we made it a habit to change governments as much as we change undergarments? For the sake of this nation, I implore all Basotho to vote for a single party that will ensure coherence in government. If there has to be a coalition, let it be at the behest of a single dominant party.
And such a coalition must be based on shared principles and common values to achieve the much elusive prosperity for this long doomed Kingdom. I am not for coalitions though. Our past experiences since 2012 have proved these don’t work. Apart from their perennial squabbling, it is impossible to hold anyone in these unwieldy coalitions accountable.
This election is particularly stimulating. For starters, it is not dominated by career politicians, crooked chancers and other low life characters seeking a living in politics. We have a cast of credible Basotho in the running; thanks to the emergence of Ntate Sam’s RFP.
The dinosaurs of Lesotho’s politics are also out; Bontate Mosisili and Motsoahae are taking their well deserved rest.
In comes the young and exciting Mathibeli Mokhothu in place of Ntate Mosisili and the dour Nkaku Kabi as Ntate Motsoahae’s reincarnate. It’s noteworthy that these two notable successors are all below 50.
I have always taken a dim view of people who do well as individuals and then take a back seat while their country descends from the gutter straight into the sewer as Lesotho has done over the years. For that reason, I have no option but to praise boMme Majara (former chief justice) and Tsili (former central bank governor) and other intellectuals for taking the plunge and entering the political arena.
Read these two Mmes interviews elsewhere in this publication and you will be left in no doubt that they represent the quality we need to transform this country.
I also have to applaud successful business persons like Ntate Teboho Mojapela for taking the plunge. Many successful business people wouldn’t be bothered about politics. That’s wrong. You can have all the money. But you can also lose it if your country is misgoverned. It’s thus a good thing for the rich to join politics.
It is a huge disgrace though that we have to choose among a plethora of 65 political parties. I’m informed the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had a torrid time finding a printer whose templates could accommodate this vast array of political parties to produce one contiguous ballot paper? Many established printers could not do the job. That is a disgrace.
It’s a pity that we still have so many people who think their only guaranteed way of earning a living is through forming a political party and getting their family and fellow villagers to vote for them to squeeze a PR seat to gain a parliamentary salary.
Let this election be the one in which the ubiquity of political parties in Lesotho is eliminated. Let’s remove all the scum and chancers and retain quality.
Even if he does not make it to State House (he faces stiff competition from Ntate Mokhothu), we have Ntate Sam to thank for bringing us quality into our politics. Even if they fail to make it into parliament, people like boMme Tsili and Majara must stay the course. They must stay in politics to give it credibility and to keep whichever new regime is elected under check.
Parties like Cry My Child, African Arc, White Horse, Basotho Bela whatever and many other scum parties must be sent to the scrap heap, never to return again. They make our ballot papers unnecessarily long. We need less chancers and more seriousness in our politics.
As usual, Scrutator has made her choice and I have endorsed a person for prime minister. However, unlike in previous elections where I announced my preference before the polls, I will play it safe this time round. I will only announce whom I voted for next week after the results are fully known. I will however hazard a guess that after all the ballots are in and, excluding any rigging, either Ntate Mokhothu or Ntate Sam will be prime minister.
Lastly, I cannot wait to see the back of Ntate Moeketsi Majoro. This is why I will be the first at my polling station tomorrow. Ntate Majoro has undoubtedly been the worst prime minister, we have ever had.
Ntate Majoro leaves no country to talk about. Whoever wins State House will have to start afresh. They will inherit a bankrupt state riven by endless crime and squalor (what Donald Trump would eminently describe as a s**t**le country).
Service delivery is zero. Criminals have taken over the country. Some are even paraded at political rallies with no consequence. Billions of maloti have disappeared from the national coffers without trace. Suppliers are not being paid, with ripple effects across an economy in which almost every business is directly or indirectly linked to the patronage of the state; thanks to a non-existent private sector.
When Ntate Majoro took over, I had hoped for better times. Not least because he is the best educated prime minister we have ever had, but because he had some considerable experience working for international institutions (IMF and World Bank).
Now, as one principal secretary once told me, working for an international institution does not guarantee you experience to run a country effectively. You can be a tea boy at the IMF, yet come to brag that you served at that venerable institution. You can also work as a messenger at the World Bank, yet come to lie that you gained executive experience at that most venerable of institutions.
It is now left for Ntate Majoro to tell us what exactly he did at the IMF. Was he a teaboy or messenger? His record as prime minister has not only been abysmal, it has been tragic. I would never have anticipated that such a highly “educated” man would fail to articulate a single policy proposition on anything during his entire tenure.
Yes, he was partly distracted by intra-ABC fights. And yes, he had to govern within the constraints of a coalition. But alas, he could have done better.
Ntate Majoro started fairly well. He fired Thabo Thakalekoala (may his soul forever rest in eternal peace). He also fired Mme Keke (of RCL) fame from cabinet. But that’s as far as his achievements went. He then effectively went to sleep; thanks to Covid and his propensity to copy every word and step of his equally disappointing colleague across the border; one Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa.
There is no doubt that Ntate Sam and his colleagues’ decision to venture into politics was partly inspired by Ntate Majoro’s vast failures which have left this country on the brink. For that, we thank Ntate Majoro. We would never have had the quality of intellectuals who now grace our politics were it not for his failures.
I had never imagined that a day would come when I would rank Ntate Mosisili as one of the most capable leaders we have ever had. But they say hindsight is always the best teacher.
Excluding his misguided support for one Tlali Kamoli, we all have to be fair and acknowledge that Ntate Mosisili was a far much better leader. At least things worked under him. If you did business with government, you actually got paid. Crime was largely under control, with the exception of the period Kamoli was inexplicably given a free reign.
We deserve better as Basotho than we have seen since March 2020. But we can only achieve so, if we vote with our heads or brains tomorrow, not our bottoms. Yes we have been inundated with a lot of pie in the sky and even laughable manifestos. But still, this election has given us better options than any other one before. Let’s go for it V(B)asotho.