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New MP’s allowances a disgust



As I start this week’s article, I wish to remind you that in November last year the National Assembly withdrew the controversial Members of Parliament Salaries (Amendment of Schedule) Regulations which had proposed to increase the salaries of the Prime Minister, his deputy, ministers as well as MPs. Last week the same regulations were passed in Parliament with a revised M3 000 allowance and M5 000 petrol allowance for backbenchers in Parliament. Every person, every organization and every government wants to do the right thing in the right way. Individuals strive for it in both their personal and professional lives. For organisations and government, it’s a survival issue and a mandate for remaining relevant and being able to remain in business or in government. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the ugly realities that many Basotho have been living with. Civil servants received zero percent increment on their salaries this year. They accepted the situation because they were made to believe that we were in a pandemic. My conscience does not allow me to support the M5 000 petrol benefits, MPs approved this week, especially in our current hardships. It would appear that our MPs live on another planet. Everybody else can sacrifice for the greater good except our honourable MPs. M5 000 can be a decent salary for a young person who is unemployed. His Majesty King Letsie III sacrificed M2 million last year and contributed towards our Covid-19 fight. I am concerned that the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers, Principal Secretaries, former Prime Ministers and former Deputy Prime Minister have never reduced their salaries or benefits in order to contribute towards the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. I was shocked when I realised that these same MPs were jumping the Covid-19 vaccination queue and when I asked, they said it’s a confidence-building exercise and that the leaders were showing people that the Covid-19 vaccine does not kill. While I do not dispute this argument, I will also argue that it’s in their best interest to take the Covid-19 vaccine. In my humble opinion I find this act disrespectful and it also lacks timing. Not many are gifted with prudence to know the right time. To make matters worse, even when you know the right thing to do, sometimes you don’t do it at the right time. You act when you should wait, and then everything turns out badly because you had acted too soon. Or you wait when you should act, and the window of opportunity is already gone forever by the time you start to act. MPs should know that they will be frustrated and misunderstood by the electorate because of doing the right things at the wrong time. Some people argue that MPs deserve the increment given their community financial commitments. But if they increased their benefits at the right time, they would have amazing success. We are going through a Covid-19 pandemic and most people are struggling. Their timing is so off. Right timing can be everything. Everything, has its own time. There is a time, and a season for every activity under heaven. (Ecclesiastes 3:1) There is a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to harvest. MPs must know that any time is not the right time! Because of its importance in all that we do, we should all learn something about ‘right timing’ in life. Generally speaking, right or good timing is the capacity to flow with the rhythm of life. It is that delicate and calculated move which allows us to flow watchfully and in the wave-direction of that river of life which is time. It is the capacity of receiving all that life has to give us being exactly in the right place and doing the right thing in the right time. I find this situation disgusting because it is during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19 that MPs expect public servants, elderly and the masses of our people to accept tough financial times. MPs even joke about having given players in the creative industry beans and 10 kg bags of mealie-meal. Members of the National Assembly often claim that their politics is for the people and for the welfare of the country, in reality what we see is that many of them serve themselves upon being elected to serve the people. The National Assembly has emerged as an entity, which is above the people. This is a cruel example of the usurpation of power. Absurd is the conclusion that the National Assembly can make irrevocable decisions even on its own status. How could they vote themselves a hefty salary hike? This is a really scandalous absurdity. How can the National Assembly make such decisions about itself? Thank God Basotho will soon decide the fate of the current MPs. In 2022 the people shall decide by their vote whom the real power lies with. To MPs, I understand that what I said in this article is not pleasing for many of you; you may deem some of the views offensive. But I do not intend to offend anyone. I just have to call things by their own name. To say more, if anyone in any part of my article saw some kind of offence, I apologise. But the realities do not change. If this is not acceptable to you, then this matter, I am sure, will be resolved by the people of Lesotho, the people who gave you the mandate in 2017 because you are supposed to represent them. Ramahooana Matlosa

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