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Sell Moshoeshoe I International Airport



For the record, I am not Muckraker and I don’t know who Muckraker is. A lot of people assume that I have a permanent desk at thepost and switch between two personalities, the real ‘Mako Bohloa and two pages later, as Muckraker. No, no, no! I don’t know who Muckraker is and never seen him/her and know nothing about him/her. As a matter of fact, I’ve only been at the offices of thepost only twice ever since I started writing. Believe it or not! That’s because I received a message on Whats App last Thursday that read, “how can you say such despicable things about your homeboy”. Then I answered back and wrote, “what”? This was in reference to the headline written by Muckraker written, “Go back to Ouh la la!” Hmmm! I wrote back and said, I don’t know anything about Muckraker but the person I was communicating with, was not convinced at all. This is a story of my life. I remember a time when I was accused of disguising as Makhaola Qalo. This was at the height of the 2015 coalition government named 7 de-laan or mmuso oa mokou. So, there was a character named Makhaola Qalo that gave Ntate Mosisili’s government endless headaches because sensitive information was always leaked on Facebook by yours truly, Makhaola Qalo. So Makhaola Qalo’s claimed to come from a village named Mazenod where I come from, on his Facebook book profile. So everything just slotted perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle. Anyway, we are from the same village with Mr Seleke but we were never close for one reason or the other but we’re cool. I wouldn’t write anything bad about him because he refused to give me a tender to supply ink cartridges at the LNDC. No, I’m not into tenders. Going back to the business of the day, I had planned to write something about our bad driving habits to coincide with the festive season. This is a time of the year that is characterised by endless road accidents mainly because of our reckless driving habits and arrogance on our roads. You should see the way our sisters drive on the road. No man! I have nothing against young ladies driving but the arrogance! Shew! Is the arrogance even necessary? Sometimes you try to assist them to park at Pioneer Mall and they’ll answer back and say, “Abuti, ke mang ea itseng ke hloka thuso ea hao?” Then you have 4+1 drivers. If a study would be conducted, it would reveal that 90% of our 4+1 brothers bought their drivers licences. Like our young arrogant emancipated sisters, 4+1 drivers simply cannot drive to save their lives and even the precious lives of their passengers. They can’t even follow and obey the basic rules of the road. Look at the chaotic situation at intersections such as Ha Mots’oeneng, Central Park (Seputaneng) or even at IEMS (between Mpilo Blvd and Main South One Road) The traffic lights have been off for almost a year now between those three sets of intersections. Now, the basic rule of the road is that when traffic lights don’t work, kindly observe a three or four way stop. The first to arrive/stop is the first to go. As you can imagine, the basic rules of the road have been thrown out of the window and a law that is now in place is the law of the jungle. It is the same chaos that one witnesses when kids are asked to stand in a queue to be served Christmas sweets. You’ll know what happens. The strong ones will always fight to be in front trampling on the weak ones. This is another reality of our politics. The rough and strong ones will fight to be on top at a cost to the poor. This also reminds me of a piece I wrote earlier this year when I took my daughter for a school camp in Limpopo, just outside a village named Serope-mperekele (what-ever that means). I’ve never experienced such a headache in my life. A weekend that was meant to be a father and daughter outing ended up becoming a mud-wrestling exercise because kids were just acting like kids. They fought all weekend over very petty things and all the fathers came back from the camp exhausted. Please remind me to publish the piece because the events that took place at that camp in Limpopo reminded me of the behaviour of our politicians back home. To close off this challenging year that Time Magazine labelled as “the worst year ever”, I decided to pen something close to my heart and has everything to do with the chaos at Moshoeshoe I International airport. I mean, where do I even start? If there’s one thing that I fail to understand about us, Basotho people, is the way we think when it comes to obvious things. However, one thing that I have observed is that we are a country in denial of our reality in so many dimensions and facets. We’ll do anything to defend even the most obvious form of failure. Look at the disaster named our National University of Lesotho. Even today, le maemong ana, there are still people who believe that our National University is still the best of the best in Africa but take a look where at the global rankings place our National University in Africa. As things stand, NUL is not even in the top 200 universities in Africa. It is ranked even below the University of Zululand. University of Zululand guys! Zululand! But the worst thing is the state in which our international airport is in. One thing that I’ve keenly observed about us is that we’ll force to justify our status as a sovereign state. We’ll force to manage something even when we can see that we are bad at it. For instance, we are bad at managing our national university but we’ll still insist on managing it ourselves and as a result, mismanaging it. We are bad at managing our parastatals but we’ll still insist that we want to manage it ourselves without seeking external assistance. We are also bad at managing one of most precious resource named land, but we’ll insist on managing it ourselves and we have managed to mismanage it. Will Basotho still own their land by 2030? How much arable land will be available in 2050? I remember a regrettable phrase that was made at Lesotho’s 50th independence celebrations and it said, “We’d rather manage ourselves badly than to be managed by others well”. The problem with that phrase is that it comes at a very heavy cost to the unemployed youth and in the following manner: Those in the know always tell us that the secret to success it to focus on the strengths and seek help to correct the weaknesses. This is what we should have done with one of our strongest assets named Moshoeshoe I International Airport. It is evident our government is bad at managing Moshoeshoe I Airport but guess what? Our government will insist on mismanaging that asset that has potential of generating hundreds of thousands of jobs, had it been in the right hands and those are the hands of the private sector. But because we are inherently corrupt and corruption is engrained in our DNA, our leaders/politicians will never relinquish control of Moshoeshoe I Airport in a quest to solicit some form of deal that will go directly to their pockets. Decisions are never made out of national interest anymore. That is the reason why the airport is in a shocking state at the moment. Toilets don’t work sewer is leaking in the villages. It’s a mess. All because politicians are playing monkey games to solicit a deal that will go straight to the pocket. All at a cost to the nation. How evil is that? The most sensible thing to do is to sell the Airport outright to the private sector and release potential for jobs to be created. This thing of trying to get someone to run it on contractual basis won’t work. We all know what the process of entailing a contractor will entail. Yes, corruption! Just sell the damn asset and allow the new owners to pump in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). This will suddenly stimulate thousands of jobs and boost investor confidence for more investment. In closing, it is a well-known fact that investors are very reluctant to do business with government and getting an investor like Emirates Airlines to own and operate the Airport would have immense benefits for investment, tax revenue collection, infrastructure development and thousands of jobs. Kindly ask King Letsie to seek investment from Emirates Airlines. I’m pretty sure that he’d easily seal a deal with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the owner of Emirates Airlines. I’m very confident that King Letsie would secure the deal. That’s food for thought but the time to act is now! ‘Mako Bohloa

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