Home Scrutator What a year: Let’s thank God for 2017

What a year: Let’s thank God for 2017

by Lesotho Times

What a year it has been. A very adventurous one perhaps. Jolly good for some.  Extremely tragic for others. Consider Ntate Mosisili for instance? Who would have known that by the close of 2017, he would be a free man with ample time to run his car wash business in Qacha having been ignominiously hit by the returning Motsoahae tsunami?

Consider Ntate Motsoahae himself? Who would have thought by close of 2017, he would have been six months back in the driving seat, happily remarried, more handsome than ever before, living in a new sumptuous State House away from dingy Ficksburg?  And of course consider the Babli Mansa; Tlali Kamoli. Who would have known that by end of 2017, he would be isolated in a miniature chamber at Maseru Maximum, clipped of all his ubiquitous wings and being a pale shadow of his former self?  God works in very strange ways. And what of Mothetjoa Metsing; the man who no longer believed that he is a marshmallow but instead saw himself as a permanent Kingmaker?

Who would have known that by the end of 2017, Mr Marshmallow would have taken his turn in exile as a fugitive from justice? Metsing was never a kingmaker of course, he was just a mere marshmallow whose political life depended on Kamoli’s cruelty. And what of Lesotho’s mediator in chief, Cyril Ramaphosa? Who would have known that by the close of 2017, he would have ascended to the plum job of leader of Africa’s oldest liberation party, having vanquished the obsequious and uninspiring Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma?  In fact, I am writing this final instalment of 2017 from Nasrec, where the ANC is holding its leadership conference. I could just not miss this auspicious event. I have always attended the ANC’s leadership conferences since 2007.  Yesterday, I even ran into Jacob Zuma at a backroom at Nasrec and saw him doing what he knows best; singing, giggling, dancing and philandering.

What does 2017 tell us about humanity in general? We humans are masters of our own destinies. But sometimes we are not. Just as we might want to believe we have everything under lock and key, the man upstairs (the Almighty Himself) always has other ideas. Who surely would have thought that Kamoli, would be humbled in a 2×2 miniature lodging, sleeping on a concrete floor? This is a man who used to scare even mice, rats and cats. They all hate him since he commanded every living creature to stop breathing in his presence. Here is a man who lived in a world of his own – planet Kamoli – where everything and everyone else was Lilliputian. Where is he now?  Lord God, you do indeed exist for everyone. Let those who do not believe in your omnipresence be forever cursed.

So as we say goodbye to 2017, which has been a very good year for Lesotho because of the vanquishing of Kamoli and his fellow scoundrels in the LDF militia, who had made this country a hell-hole, let’s prepare to welcome 2018 with positive anticipation.  But we must never forget to pay homage to a man who made 2017 a good year, Ntate Mokola aka Monyane Moleleki. By abandoning the sinking Mosisili ship, Mokola did this country a huge favour.  Once again, thank you Ntate and you must surely have a Merry Xmas. I will deliver you a sheep to slaughter over the holidays for no payment.

Scrutator does not believe in New Year’s resolutions. Not least because I never keep any and prefer to live life as it goes. I nonetheless hold one resolution for this country in 2018; that we complete the SADC inspired multi-sectoral reforms and restore permanent sanity into His Majesty’s Kingdom.

Unfortunately, this is not going to be possible if we maintain the stance that the reforms must be implemented in an “all-inclusive process” that accommodates every Tsepiso, Tsepo and Tšepang. Considering the many people we have in this country who have nothing else to do with their awfully miserable lives, except calling themselves politicians, an all-inclusive process is nigh impossible. While a process that has the participation of as many Basotho as possible would have been preferable, let’s not lose sight of the fact that processes that try to take every view and everyone into account inexorably always end up in dismal failure.  Every country has its own big chunk of citizens who must be led because their views are inconsequential and can never make a difference. For instance, what role can Bokang – Sixty Votes – Ramatšella be expected to play in the reform process when he is a leader of a boyfriend/girlfriend political party?

Government Secretary Mphaka recently wrote to Ntate Metsing inviting him to come back and partake in the reform process. Metsing responded in a long rambling letter explaining why he will not return. Does this mean that multi-sectoral reforms should cease because of one man whose party only won one constituency seat and who has opted for the luxury of Mzansi instead of telling us how those substantial maloti ended up in his accounts? The main opposition DC has also vowed to boycott the process, allegedly because the judiciary is under attack, among other reasons? That view is unfortunately short-sighted.  The DC are shooting themselves in the foot. Last week, Mme Pontšo Sekatle waxed lyrical about how Chief Justice Majara is being “persecuted” by Ntate Motsoahae’s coalition.  The DC have conveniently forgotten how they took it upon themselves to hound and harass Judge Mosito soon after their coalition assumed power way back in 2015? What is good for the goose must surely be good for the gander.

The irony of it all is that all the reasons being advanced by the opposition for not wanting to partake in the multi-lateral reform process are the very same reasons that should justify their participation in this vital process.  For the “attacks” on the judiciary to end, for abuse of political power to end, for all the things that the opposition want to happen, there must be vital legal, constitutional and security reforms in Lesotho as recommended by SADC. So what is your bloody problem you opposition? Do you want the changes you want to drop from the high heavens? If so, then please don’t participate in this process and look at the skies until you get what you want.

In his long rambling letter explaining why he cannot return to Lesotho to partake in the reforms, Ntate Metsing says he will not return because he does not want to be “lured to his death”. He accuses Ntate Motsoahae of having publicly expressed his desire to kill him? I find the logic behind all this baffling. Why would anyone wanting to kill their enemy forewarn them first? Do you warn your enemy that you are plotting to kill them or that you are on your way to kill them? Or you just go to perform the deed? Does Ntate Metsing take us for idiots?

But this claim from Ntate Metsing is a shocker; “Following a call by the Prime Minister that detainees should be assaulted, people were indeed assaulted and some died as a result of the police brutality…” Really Ntate Metsing? Can you name a single person who has died on account of Ntate Motsoahae’s exhortation?

The fact remains that we have not had a single politically-inspired assassination since Ntate Motsoahae returned to power.  The fact remains that during your and Mosisili’s reign, this country became a hell-hole with people being killed and thrown into Mohale dam. The brutality of your regime Ntate Metsing is well documented.  Maseru is now a normal place again. We are spending time in restaurants and moving around happily without watching who is following. Thanks to the Good Lord for creating Ntate Mokola, the militia rogues that you protected while they caused mayhem here are now meeting their comeuppance?

It’s a fact that politicians are chameleons. Politicking is their game. But Ntate Metsing’s letter has a sickening element to it?  He speaks in defence of one Ramainoane, who runs an outfit called Mo Afrika, which masquerades as a radio station while in reality it is a transcription service for the LCD?  Ntate Metsing condemns what he calls “frivolous charges of criminal defamation” brought against Ramainoane.  He also describes Ramainoane’s alleged mistreatment by the police as a “blatant affront to the freedom of the press and freedom of expression under the constitution”. Really!  Ntate Metsing. So you now truly believe in Press freedom and you have transmogrified into its advocate? Where were you when your militia friends tried to kill the editor of the Lesotho Times, Lloyd Mutungamiri, and its publisher, Basildon Peta, whom they traced but could not find?  You are right that the charge of criminal defamation is as frivolous as it gets. But where were you when your close friend and head of militia Kamoli slapped Ntate Peta with criminal defamation charges? Your hypocrisy knows no bounds Ntate Metsing. And why do you think anyone should take you seriously when you write a long rambling five page letter, copy it to highly esteemed people like Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramaphosa, Stergomana Tax, among others, and don’t even bother to date the letter or reference it?  At least we can excuse Zuma. He will be busy giggling, dancing, singing and philandering to take notice. But to the rest of those copied into your letter, you are making Basotho the laughing stock of the world.

Having read Ntate Metsing’s letter, Scrutator is now convinced that just like Ramatšella, the LCD leader shouldn’t participate in the reforms process and be left to enjoy Mzansi. The poverty of his arguments prove he will have no meaningful contribution to make in the envisaged reforms. Ntate Metsing’s letter also underscores why nothing will be achieved if every Tom, Dick and Harry is involved in the process as there will be more spoilers. If Ntate Metsing had written explaining that he will not come because he needs more time to weave together an explanation about why all those high dubious amounts of money flowed into his accounts, he would have instantly earned my respect. It is also noteworthy that around the time that the DCEO uncovered these huge deposits into his accounts, Ntate Metsing’s pot belly was also expanding dramatically. These are key issues that the LCD leader must explain. Instead of perpetuating baseless allegations that Ntate Motsoahae wants to kill him? And why did Ntate Mphaka, the government secretary, waste time inviting Ntate Metsing? Didn’t the GS have something better to do?

The fact of the matter is that the opposition has more to lose if these reforms are not implemented fast. Ntate Motsoahae and his coalition will entrench themselves. Put their people in key positions. Use incumbency to stay in power for as long as possible. So if I were the opposition, I would be pushing for these reforms to be done yesterday.  Their net effect will be to curtail the power of the incumbent government.  But alas, our opposition politicians think like herd-boys. They cannot see the forest for the wood or the trees for the wood, or the wood for the trees.

Since the reforms are essential, they must proceed anyway. The path to take is for the Motsoahae coalition to involve the generality of Basotho. But those who need to be led, like Bokang – Sixty Votes – Ramatšella, must not be consulted at all on account of their anthropological stupidity.  In fact Ramatšella must get a job at Ntate Mosisili’s car wash business and earn an honest living instead of being a fraud. I wonder how he deceived the 60 voters who cast for him on June 3. They must be kicking themselves now. But I digress.

After thorough consultations and discussions, the reforms must be implemented. It’s up to the opposition to cooperate in passing those reforms that will require legal and constitutional amendments. If they don’t like them, they can continue reclining on their laurels and Ntate Motsoahae can entrench his position. It certainly won’t be his fault.

Chief Justice Majara is surely in an untenable position. Scrutator has both sympathies and brickbats for her. Her “crime” is of course that she rented a nearly M30 000 mansion from a colleague, paid for by the judiciary, over and above her M4 000 housing allowance statutory limit. My sympathies with her lie in the fact of the M4 000 statutory cap for her housing allowance. What the hell is that? Scrutator is very well aware that public servants in Lesotho are paid like factory workers. But high fliers like the chief justice should surely be the exceptions? Where does the government expect the chief justice to rent a decent place for such a measly amount? A chief justice must live in sumptuous accommodation provided for by the State which must always be kept in mint condition. If such accommodation is not available for whatever reason, then the State must rent and pay for her at decent rates. How can a chief justice of a country be expected to live in a M4000 mukoko.  That of course does not absolve Justice Majara of wrongdoing. She seriously erred in getting a better place for herself at an amount above the allowable statutory limit without seeking all the necessary approvals first? The role of judicial officers, the Chief Justice in particular, is to uphold and enforce the laws of the land. Their integrity must be wholly impeachable.

My advice for Justice Majara is to quit immediately. Not so much because she is guilty. No.  Not every wrong is a crime. But she must take a leaf from Justice Nugent who resigned to protect the integrity of the office of president of the Court of Appeal once it became apparent that the Motsoahae tsunami was aiming at him. Rather than have her name dragged through buckets of mud, and have a tribunal established to probe her, I think Justice Majara would do herself and the judiciary a big favour and quit in favour of seeking a high paying private sector job elsewhere.  Justice Nugent could also have elected to fight on, but he chose the sensible thing to do.

But this explains why we exactly need all these reforms which the opposition are sadly boycotting. For instance why not have a rule that the most senior judge in the High Court must always be appointed Chief Justice to avoid politicians interfering in the process? As Donald Trump is fond of saying; “We will see what happens!!!

Let me close the year by wishing you all a very cushy Xmas and prosperous New Year. This is my last column for the Year. I am taking a long deserved break and shall see you from mid-January 2018 onwards. I need to knock off a bit and realign my thoughts for next year. I also urge all of you to do the same. Let’s celebrate the end of 2017 which has – to all intents and purposes – been a very good year. If you are broke, I can lend you a sheep to slaughter for Xmas. But I would then need payment by 20 January 2018 by when I will also be dead broke.  So goodbye 2017 and lets look forward to a better 2018.


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