Connect with us


Political charlatans: the same old rubbish



Monday night April 26, 2021. Lesotho finally got to Level Blue of the Covid management protocol. We did it. Through social distancing, wearing masks and other precautions we managed to get the Covid-19 infection rate low enough to earn us some much needed breathing space. This was just in time for the electoral campaigns to begin. What a coincidence! A cynical person would think this unexpected largess on our leaders’ part has more to do with giving space for political rallies than anything else. Basotho however are not cynics. It is the best part about them. The way they look at the world with a childlike naiveté and sense of wonder. It is truly a beautiful thing to see. One would think Basotho have grown cynical over the years. After all how many political leaders have stood in front of them making promises of a better life? More jobs, better infrastructure and at one point even a high speed train. Only to have none of those things materialise. Indeed the only thing the nation can depend on is that every year, at the start of winter they will get bags of beans and paraffin heaters. What kind of leaders would make such lofty promises then end up delivering beans and paraffin heaters instead? You might ask yourself that. The answer is very simple. One who leads a group of masochists who enjoy disappointment and savor broken promises like fine wine. Basotho know they deserve less, they have accepted it and it would make no sense for their leaders to give them anything else. It is of course impractical to give someone more than they want. The humble people of the Mountain Kingdom do not want much. Of course every now and then they will stage a tired rebellion, mostly on social media and around talks at a local coffee shop. Long think pieces will be written, threats to strike will be made. Sometimes the strike will halfheartedly go on but that too can quickly be dispersed with a few rubber bullets. Vows will be made to not vote for Mr So-and-So at the elections and then somehow that person will win the very same constituency and life will go on to be good and normal. If by good and normal we mean high unemployment, inadequate service delivery and a general air of defeat and despondency in the year. Of course this defeat does not last long. Something will happen to stir their anger once more and they would rear their heads to fight. Of course their anger is as feeble as the GDP so it does not take much to quell. Elections will once more roll around and guess who is dancing in party regalia, drinking and generally making merry at the next election campaign? Yes, you have guessed right. Of course attending a political party for those with change in their pockets is a chance to socialise. Who can deny the perpetually oppressed a chance to unwind from their troubles? All in all, dancing at a political rally is a fun way to while away the days of living in a “Banana Republic” such as this one. People go with their own cars, fuel, alcohol and beer and if that is their sport of choice then so be it. However there is another group that also attends these rallies. Walking sometimes for kilometers, not even a “skafthin” to go and stand in the sweltering heat. Only to listen to people who are shaded nicely in tents and have already made a reservation at the nearest fancy restaurant. If they are lucky they get a ride on the bus specifically hired for the occasion. If the God is feeling particularly benevolent they might even get to ride in the trunk of a still sparkling Toyota Hilux driven by their elected official. A memory they will treasure and repeat to anyone who is willing to listen. That is because we treat our elected officials like demi-gods. As soon as someone ascends to public office the public ceases to view him as a mere mortal but instead as someone special. That is why as a nation we can never demand accountability from the people we elected. We are in awe of the very people who should be answering to us. Even the reverence in which we address them is very telling. Our elected officials will be referred to as “batho ba baholo” – big people. No wonder they also do not feel the need to answer back to anyone. It is very easy of course to blame the problems of this country on our politicians. Rightly so, of course. They do leave a lot to be desired in terms of service delivery. The truth however is that they are the way they are because we allow them. If we have had the same group of people rule the country for more than 25 years, while they just change party colours and factions, then who really is to blame? Our politicians do not feel they owe us accountability because we do not demand it. There is no reason for them to watch how they behave because there is no infraction we will not forgive. One only has to change party colours, swear that their past behaviour was due to the old party and now that they wear new colours they have seen the light and the public eats it up. If we are to have a better Lesotho then we, the people, must do better. We must stop being fooled by antics and dramatics and really judge our politicians by their past behaviour. A man cannot simply change by exchanging a yellow shirt for a red one. It is still the same old person, funny that when I say old I really do mean past retirement age. We shall forever have the government we deserve and if naiveté is how we elect leaders then we will remain stagnant as a country.  

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Copyright © 2022. The Post Newspaper. All Rights Reserved