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We must hang heads in shame



LONG-STANDING All Basotho Convention (ABC) cadre and Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Health, Khothatso Tšooana, has resigned from his job and is entering politics full time.

Tšooana, who has joined the newly formed Revolution for Prosperity (RFP), is said to be keen to stand as a candidate for the party in the Ha-Abia constituency in October’s general elections.

He is among a host of Principal Secretaries who are rumoured to be on the verge of swapping the cozy principal secretary’s office for the cut-throat world of politics in parliament.

The movement among the PS’ is yet another clear reason why we need to de-politicise the civil service so that we have pure technocrats running government business within ministries as permanent secretaries.

We are likely to see further movement among Principal Secretaries in the next few months as they position themselves for jobs as MPs.

Sadly, Lesotho is going into a general election under the same defective constitutional arrangement that has given birth to its myriad political challenges over the years.

We would be naïve to assume that we will see a dramatic change in results from the same, old divisive politics that have ruined Lesotho over the last 50 years.

Lesotho’s parliament will be dissolved without resolving the fundamental issues that have been at the core of the country’s crises for decades.

We need to fix the military issues that have for decades given birth to political problems in Lesotho.

We need to fix the judiciary which has been used by politicians to fight their narrow battles. The media has also contributed to the toxicity of our politics.

Unless these are fixed first, any elections held under the current constitutional matrix will likely produce a defective outcome.

The result is that we are likely to see an extremely shaky coalition government that will be at the mercy of disgruntled MPs.

Even when a Prime Minister has lost the support of his own party, he will likely seek to prorogue and then dissolve parliament to save his skin.

It is on the basis of the above that we would have loved to see Lesotho holding the general elections in October under a new constitutional dispensation. That way, we would all have clarity of what needed to be done to fix Lesotho’s political problems once and for all.

But we squandered the time that we had through bitter arguments over what appeared to be mundane matters. Instead of building consensus over what really matters, we fought and argued over issues that we should have resolved.

Retired South African judge, Justice Dikgang Moseneke, had a tough time bringing us together. He had to cajole our politicians, sometimes on all fours, so that they could all pull in the same direction.

Take for instance the Mothetjoa Metsing issue. Despite Justice Moseneke’s advice, our politicians decided to chase the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD)leader who insisted that his party would not be part of the reforms until their leader was given a free pass into Lesotho.

Our politicians’ narrow political agendas torpedoed the bigger national goal – which was to come up with the reforms that would pull Lesotho from the precipice.

Now, we have nothing to show for all the noise over the last few years during the reform process. That is a shame.
We must hang our heads in shame.


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