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We need a decisive leadership



At a time when I was still a student at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), due to very limited student accommodation available on campus, some of us had to resort to off-campus accommodation.

I found a nice little cottage that was located right at the bottom of the Sentech Tower (Radio and Television signal tower) in Auckland Park.

Yes, Auckland Park, peli-noto-noto-ts’elela (2006). The cottage was literally at the bottom of the tower and the TV and radio signal was very strong.

My father donated his old Sony Television that he bought in 1981, so that I could watch the news. The funny thing about this television was that it didn’t require an aerial due to its proximity to the Sentech Tower.

Yes, the TV set was old but still worked and was clear without an aerial. Well, sometimes I’d have to use a hanger as an aerial, but no, the signal was at its strongest.

However, sometimes the old Sony Television would be mischievous and lose the signal. I had a remedy though and that would be to slap it on the side and it would catch the signal again.

Yes, there were one or two occasions where I would have to kick the TV set out of frustration because the signal would get lost during a soccer match. Right at the moment when a goal is about to be scored.

But a slap was the most reliable remedy to catch the signal. The slap would make a loud sound and go “phaaa!”

Yes, I think this is the remedy we need to extend to some of the people in our economy. Just for them to catch the signal again.

Another slap is needed in order for the signal to be back in action to cure a crippling disease named Paralysis of Analysis. This is a disease that has crippled all sectors of our economy.

In short, it is an inability to make a decision or to arrive at a conclusion because of an obsession to over analyse a situation or topic or proposal. Therefore, the mind gets paralysed due to varying options available on the table and can’t reach a conclusion. Ho sitoa ho etsa qeto.

For instance, at my church, the Catholic Church, there could be a simple matter such as, “let’s buy a new vehicle for the priest”.

No, you know what will happen, a point of departure will be to create a committee (komiti) and these committee will then appoint a sub-committee that will do the fund-raising.

We are so obsessed with this Komiti Syndrome so much so that we have names like Mmakomiti. Yes, that name exists.

Then that committee will also do another sub-sub-committee that will be a steering committee. I tell you, five years will go-by without purchasing a new car for the priest. Ho hloleha ho etsa qeto.

We are a lukewarm and numb society.

I remember a time when my church wanted to install air-conditioners in the church building. Guess what happened? It took well over five years of deliberating and wasting time on fund-raising and I doubt that the air-conditioners were ever installed.

I haven’t been to church since Covid-19 and since Father Tlaba died. But we can bet a hundred-bucks that the air-conditioners were not installed and the project has been abandoned. We are not a decisive and prompt nation!

And this is where Botswana over-took us. Ke batho ba liqeto. Look at their university, the University of Botswana. It is light-years ahead of the National University of Lesotho.

The University of Botswana now has a school of Medicine. Rona ntse re ingoaea. Where did we go wrong? It is because of our inability to reach conclusions.

As I have once pointed out, I’ll always admire the boldness and courage that the military regime of 1986 – 1990 took to buy a plane named Lengau (Cheater). The name ‘Lengau’ will forever remain a mystery because cheaters don’t fly. They should have named it ‘Ntsu’ or ‘Molepe’.

In any case, the decision to buy the aircraft will forever remain debatable, as it may not have been one of the best decisions taken in the history of Lesotho. Possibly, on hindsight, it could be one of the poorest decisions made.

But what I strongly admire about Major General Lekhanya and his team (military council) was that they stood bold and firm and a decision was made. Whether good or bad! Excellent!

Major General Lekhanya will forever be my hero because he was decisive. On point! History tells us that the military government didn’t waste time on consultations or lengthy meetings.

A decision was made and taken right there and then. No stupid and lengthy workshops. No strategic plans. No consultants to compile a report of what we already know. Consultants for what?

Workshops for what?

In fact you may recall that this workshop-syndrome only started after the reintroduction of democracy in 1993. Almost 30-years- ago.

Yes, remember that next year marks exactly 30-years since democracy was restored in Lesotho and it looks like we engaged the reverse gear whilst our peers, Botswana and eSwatini were growing by leaps and bounds.

And the reason why Botswana and eSwatini made remarkable progress is simple. They don’t waste time debating and deliberating on issues. They are decisive.

Moreso, for eSwatini because it isn’t any democracy, a decision is made by one person (King Mswati), whether good or bad. Look at the bold decision King Mswati took to construct a world-class highway to connect Mbabane to Manzini.

The IMF criticised the vision to construct the highway but a bold decision was made. Whether good or bad. Go visit eSwatini and tell me how that highway compares to Mpilo Boulevard (The only boulevard in the world without trees)

The problem with Basotho is that they like to dilly-dally over issues. They can spend the whole day ‘brain-storming’ ideas. This ‘brain-storming’ disease then leads to a pandemic named paralysis of analysis. Too many conflicting ideas are thrown in one pot and leaders are just too afraid to reach a conclusion.

Now, this disease became worse at a time of coalition politics in Lesotho. You now had former taxi drivers in cabinet meetings debating on issues they know nothing about. As a result of this, they never reached any decision. That’s how the economy took a nosedive.

In closing, Major General Lekhanya, will forever be my hero because of another bold move he made. In 1986, Mojor General Lekhanya signed a controversial, Lesotho Highlands Water Treaty with the South African government that Chief Leabua Jonathan had refused to sign for years if not decades.

Yes, some people will claim that he signed the water deal with a gun pointed to his head. But I disagree.

Yes, times were tough because the Apartheid government squeezed Lesotho’s economy and fuel and food started running short.

But General Lekhanya could have retaliated and fought back. But the treaty was signed and sealed at Pitso ground in 1986 and this led to tremendous economic spin-offs.

‘Mako Bohloa

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