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The sparks will fly again



In Kiswahili they say mara moja kuumwa mara mbili aibu meaning once bitten twice shy. It is the end of the calendar year, a time traditionally characterised by a sudden rise in almost everything known to mankind. It can be festivities, misery, infidelity, social and moral delinquency, commodities, travel I mean just about everything known to mankind will be on the rise in the next few weeks leading to the end of the year and the beginning of a new year. As we expect this rising Covid-19 infections portent, I think it would be remiss of us as a nation to forget what transpired at or around this time last year and the beginning of this year. I wish to remind you dear brethren that it was during the month of November 2020 when the Right Honourable the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Lesotho Dr. Moeketsi Majoro MP eased the then restrictions aimed at mitigating the spread of the marauding Covid-19 virus. Alas, the very good deed that our beloved leader had extended to the nation quickly went back to hurt the nation. Many families lost their loved ones and friends due to negligence on the part of individuals, families, societies and the government at large. We can’t start pointing fingers now that we have learnt valuable lessons in light of the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic. Last year at this time, I innocently commented on the flaws that had been mulled by the Government to mitigate the spread of the virus in the lead up to the busy festive period and I got some flak from Honourable Motlalentoa Letsosa MP, the Honourable Minister of Home Affairs. I do not mean to attract anymore flak this time around and as such I have opted to become an obedient little boy in the eyes of Honourable Letsosa and Ntate PS Raboletsi at the Home Affairs as well as Honourable Semano Sekatle MP, the Honourable Minister of Health. I know very well that Honourable Letsosa MP has been doing a fantastic job of late deporting those who have harboured the notion that re naha e lahlileng in terms of entering our country illegally. I wish to achieve this by throwing in my two cents worth of advice on how best we can avoid the genocide that we nearly got ourselves as a country some twelve months ago. For starters, we know that there are people who have successfully dissuaded a significant portion of the nation to abhor the Covid-19 vaccines. This exercise has been so successful that it has had its audience to react in the manner that the vaccines have been refused as far afield as makicheneng in Mzanzi. This means that an element of risk is increased as a result. The silence which is rather very loud at the National Covid-19 Secretariat, NACOSEC, relating to the Covid-19 vaccination awareness is worrying to say the least. As one walks around the city, towns and villages, one hardly sees banners or promotional material to the effect of enticing the masses to go out and vaccinate. Not only to go out and vaccinate, but to see the importance of vaccinating. Kudos to the Ministry of Health under the tutelage of Honourable Sekatle for issuing the directive that vaccinations will be done at the border posts. I think that is a step in the right direction. I do not want to be misinterpreted as saying our brothers and sisters who will be coming home ho tla hata mabala are the ones who will be bringing the virus into the Kingdom and infect the brothers and sisters who are already in the Kingdom. Those in the country still pose an infection threat to those from the diaspora. However, I believe that there are valuable lessons that we have as people learnt since the last festive season. First, we by now have observed that there is a significant change in the climatic conditions at this time of the year. You will agree with me that we are going through an extended winter period. In those good old years when we were growing up, we knew it to be blistering hot at this time of the year, hence the notion ‘mocheso o nts’ang kuena bolibeng.’ Nowadays it is unusually cold and wet. This situation leads to fever as a result of rapidly changing climatic conditions. One moment it’s hot and the next raining and very cold thus causing some mysteries flu like conditions and common cold. You will remember that at the beginning of this year, there was a time when our brothers and sisters were taking up hospital beds in anticipation of the then much needed oxygen. People were dying at an alarming rate, people who were well known to me and you. The country at one stage had run out of oxygen given that our government had exhausted its purchase order facilities of procuring oxygen and patients were told to bring their own oxygen. Those who are on Facebook will recall that eulogies became a common feature on the newsfeed. We soon learnt that we could attend virtual funeral proceedings. A year later, what precautions have we put in place? Atleast as a nation we feel protected this time around given that Semano Sekatle has thrown the first salvo. It is now up to the other Cabinet Ministers to show their hands. Furthermore, it is up to each Mosotho and expatriate as well as those who will be visiting to work hand in glove to avert the ills of the beginning of the year. While we cannot guarantee that there won’t be any deaths due to virus during this festive season, however, it is incumbent on each one of us to act responsibly during the upcoming festive season. Yes, there are festivities aplenty, there are those who are desirous to make the best out of this season, hordes of revellers will take up the best spots besides the meandering rivers, but as we all do so, let us think of the end in mind, and the end should be about preserving lives. Mokhosi Mohapi

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