HIS is the year of the peasant in Lesotho.
Once again the peasants, so long forgotten, will have their time on May 26.
They are being called, once again, to decide who will rule us for the next five years.
They have always decided who rules this country. It’s just that the so-called opposition parties don’t get it.
You can curse all you want, cry all you can, expectorate until your glands run out of saliva and frown until your face has wrinkles but the May 26 election will be decided in the backwaters of this country.
It’s an inconvenient truth that the wannabe elites and fake middle class in Lesotho should accept, pronto.
Move over you petty bourgeoisies of Lesotho who think they own it all and know it all. Now you must shut-up and let the villagers in places you don’t even know exist decide the fate of this country.
Yes, those very same villagers you call ignoramuses during your beer talks and mundane political debates will decide who will rule you for the next half a decade.
It is they, the people you say are unsophisticated, naive, uneducated and impressionable, who will decide who will be in State House on the morning of May 27 or thereabouts.
The urban people might be the most voluble, they drive to rallies and speak eloquently but when it comes to the ballot in this country the peasants are the masters.
Does that get your goat the people of Maseru? Scrutator knows the feeling of being disarmed and beaten by those you think are lower than you.
ou would think by now our opposition parties would have understood that the centre of power is not in Maseru but in the villages.
Yet this fact, which is as clear as a donkey’s nose, seems to have escaped our politicians.
So far they have remained rooted in Maseru talking crap while scrambling for votes whose impact in the next election is minute. The other day, not so long ago, one of these politicians was fuming about Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s security.
“Nyoe, nyoe, nyoe,” he began his rumblings at a not-so-well attended rally.
“Why has your security suddenly been beefed up? Is there a problem in this country? Please let us know what is going on,” he said with a serious look on his face.
Mosisili was not there to answer but even if he was Scrutator doubts he was going to dignify that hokum with a response.
There are times when you just have to allow a man to make a fool of himself.
So who took his waffling seriously? No one did because he was not talking about bread and butter issues.
He was using the same pathetic tactic of playing the man and not the ball.
The best he got for his labour was an inside page story in the newspapers.
You can be sure such shallow talk won’t add anything much to his party whose support has become so tiny that it doesn’t even fill a scotch-cart (Eish! I lie; I meant to say a wheelbarrow).
crutator was already busy getting embarrassed on the politician’s behalf when that old man of Lesotho’s politics opened his mouth and pooped his usual political baloney.
The old man doesn’t like to change the script even if it brings the same results over and over again.
“Nyoe, nyoe, nyoe,” he too began his grumblings. He was grieving about how foreigners have taken over Basotho businesses. So who took his twiddle of a speech seriously? None did because he was using the antiquated method of complaining instead of giving real solutions to our poverty and economic malaise.
The two are not the first politicians to lose the plot so early in a campaign and they are certainly not the last.
They have only set the mood for what we are going to have in this election.
As we move towards May 26 we are going to have more rhetoric, attacks, complaints and drivel from the politicians.
It’s an old and discredited ploy our opposition leaders have refused to give up.
They remain oblivious to the fact that high-sounding speeches about the incumbent’s security and taking cheap shots at the minority might get you newspaper headlines but not votes.
This election will not be won by personal attacks, whinging, and targeting a certain group.
This election will be won by the peasants.
hat brings me to a prospect that riles many people in Maseru.
This election will be won by the Democratic Congress (DC), whether you like it or not.
The hobbling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) will come second and the ABC will be a distant third.
The BNP, which is neither revived nor relevant, will pick up something.
The Lesotho Workers’ Party will come out empty-handed as usual while the Marematlou Freedom Party will be fortunate to pick up something.
The rest of the so-called opposition parties will have nothing.
Mosisili will still be the prime minister unless something dramatic happens.
As things stand the peasants’ hearts and souls seem to be still with Size Two.
hy is that so? Because the opposition parties apart from the LCD don’t have strong structures in the villages.
The DC has probably done a better job moving into the villages in the past few weeks than the ABC has in six years.
Yet even if it hasn’t the DC has the advantage of having Mosisili as its leader.
There are areas in this country where the peasants don’t know the opposition from a bar of soap but they know Mosisili.
You can argue that he will use patronage, dish out freebies to the poor and put the old ones on the state pension. All that is true but it only helps you miss the point.
The question is: what is stopping the opposition from setting up proper structures in the villages to convince the peasants that everything that Mosisili says he has given them is not his?
What is stopping the opposition from convincing the peasants that when they come to power they will do much better?
he first answer is that our opposition parties are not there in the villages and they are not going there.
The second answer is “trust”.
To change a peasant’s political orientation you need to gain their trust first.
You cannot just pop in after five years and expect them to swallow your words.
That trust has to be nurtured by having proper structures in their villages.
Which opposition party apart from the LCD has structures in the villages? None.
That is why the opposition parties must not cry when they lose this election.
They are not in touch with the peasants, the real deciders of any election in this country. They can only pick up protest votes in Maseru. But Maseru is not Lesotho and Lesotho is not Maseru.
For as long as our opposition parties don’t work on the villages they will remain in the opposition to oppose other people’s policies instead of coming up with their own. Phew. Ache!