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Matekane has sold us a dream!



We have always been baffled by how political leaders hop into a celebratory dance after a victory at the polls. While we would not entertain the post-electoral gloom either, we also despise the over-enthusiasm that could indicate that victory could be running into the heads of the victors.

Even though an election victory is an accomplishment, being at the helm of governance comes with an enormous amount of responsibility. Imagine being called over for a job interview; let’s suppose you seal a five months’ probation contract after an exceptional display during the interview sessions.

During this entire period, there will be exhilarating sparks of excitement, yet it would be accompanied by an equally terrorising feeling of fear of failure.

Why could this be so? The ultimate goal you would like to achieve remains a work in progress. The goal is to win a permanent employment contract which would of course be lingering during the entire five-month probationary period that is used as a litmus test.

Again, we concur, sparkling flashes of excitement will for a minute or two cloud your instincts and you may ululate upon signing your probation contract. However, a wise candidate would exercise caution to keep level-headed and create the best impression of themselves until they seal the optimal goal in the upcoming five months.

You don’t need to be Albert Einstein to connect the dots between the above scenario and the current situation after the completion of the 2022 national elections in our beloved Mountain

Kingdom. While it may be a glow of amber to the dominant Revolution for Prosperity (RFP), this does not ascertain a smooth sail for the cruising titanic ocean greyhound.

Note, a political party that is seven months old, was able to overhaul almost the entire half of parliament by reshuffling and replacing seasoned politicians with high-echelon civilians who were previously not active in politics. Being a Member of Parliament or part of a government is not a lottery-winning ticket.

First, we must commend the Basotho nation for being so decisive at the polls after ten grueling years of somewhat even voting going back as far as the 2012 national election. It almost seemed like a chant of a madman when the head honcho, Ntsokoane Sam Matekane, tabled to the nation his prospects to rule as a solitary party instead of a coalition.

While a coalition government always seemed inevitable given the large pool of political parties, one would have never expected the RFP to outwit both the Democratic Congress (DC) and the All Basotho Convention (ABC) by such a huge margin. So it seems Matekane’s ‘wishful thinking’ was not too far off the mark.

It’s appalling how skewed the electoral polls were, given the fact that a population of just two million was tasked with a choice of picking from over approximately 65 independent political parties.

It’s even more jaw-dropping; taking into account how minimal the numbers on the voters’ roll and turnout tend to be as compared to those of the populace. Basotho have to be applauded, for a remarkable shift in the paradigm and a forceful tilt in the governance hierarchy. Take note, we need not applaud the Basotho nation for electing the best candidates amongst the 65 rival parties.

For, the credibility of their near-unanimous election will only be determined by the products brought forth by the upcoming government.

Before the victors get carried away by the hullabaloo of majestically striding into glory, several aspects need to be recognised. The soon-to-be-inaugurated government is led by a party that is hardly eight months old since its viral inception in mid-March earlier this year.

This could have its pros and cons: they could pan out as a brand-new, well-oiled machine that requires proper maintenance throughout its entire lifespan. Or they could be a refurbished but faulty machine that’s not well tried and tested, therefore could encounter hiccups every time it undergoes heavy duty (facade).

Like a rocket shooting into the skies, so too was the initiation of the RFP as it gained traction in becoming a formidable force to be reckoned with. We were amazed by how they approached myriad groups of people when campaigning.

It seems like the idea of only approaching and courting certain groups did not cross their minds. Rather, they went in full force, and pulled no punches when approaching both the youth, middle-aged individuals, and elders. They left no stone unturned, which might somewhat be a testament to the results we see today.

However, if the leaders of the RFP rocket fail to correct their bearings, they will follow into the path of their predecessors and gravity will eventually drag them to the ground at an acceleration of 10m/s2.

It’s also crucial for the nation to remain vigilant but lower its expectations. The RFP and its affiliates have grabbed the stirring wheel of a Titanic cruise ship that is set to hit an iceberg and is on the verge of sinking in the icy waters of the Atlantic.

Imagine stepping in the shoes of a captain that is burdened with the insurmountable task of keeping a rattled ship afloat. Let us not forget that the incoming Captain could not handle the heat of a mere debating session a few weeks ago.

How much more could he crack when he is at the peak of the pressures of this hostile political landscape? We don’t foresee a delivery from RFP covering up to 50 percent of the pledges they had penned on their haphazard manifesto that arguably had apparent structural loopholes in terms of policy response to the situation of a country sinking in dire straits.

The RFP utilised the personal profile of its leader as the main campaigning tool and the majority of the voters bought into it. Could they have sold a nation a dummy? It is not ideal though, to judge the prowess of a political party mainly based on the excellence of the personal profile of its leader.

The recent electoral history of short-lived coalition governments has taught us a valuable lesson, “there are always wolfs in a sheepskin in the herd of every political party.” Let alone the fact that the Basotho nation could still have to endure the possible hazards that are triggered by derelict coalition governments.

Success and failure of the upcoming government may depend on how the head honcho of the regime will manage the black sheep of the herd and also the high expectations of the Basotho nation. Will he grab the bull by the horns and depoliticise the system at the expense of disappointing some of the loyal party members and coalition allies who expect to be beneficiaries of the ‘dominance’?

Because of the same ‘dominance’, some element of political stability may be on the horizon. Glimpses of its golden rays may glitter on the Kingdom that has a dark cloud hovering over it. Conflict of interest, incompetence, and carelessness are some of the attributes of poor governance.

Perhaps, the very fact that elections were held in the same week as the national Independence Day may be a good omen for a long-awaited political, social, and economic independence from neo-colonial powers.

If Matekane does indeed deliver on all that he has promised, we are looking at increased foreign investment and private sector growth. This would play a huge role in thwarting the increased youth unemployment rates we have been experiencing as a country.

We can only imagine what it would mean for our GDP and Lesotho’s economy at large. There’s no question that the RFP will either make or break us beyond what has already been done to us by previous leaders.

It has become a norm for some political leaders to jump onto a more promising party when theirs lie in shambles. We have seen this in the RFP. The question that must be asked is: How is Matekane going to deal with them? How can we hope for a change and a better tomorrow when there seems to be a recycling of self-serving politicians in a party that has sold the nation so many beautiful dreams?

We can only hope that the unity we have seen in Basotho when it came to the 2022 National Elections, continues and becomes a beacon for when our rights and all that we hold dear are oppressed.

No journey is without hardships, but we can sail somewhat smoothly when we become a single voice as a nation. We have been sold a dream that we hope becomes nothing but a reality. Will nepotism and corruption become nothing but yesterday’s memory? There goes another five-year instalment of trial and error for the Kingdom in The Sky.

Mokhethi Ramatšabane & Morongoenyane Peshoane

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