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We need radical change



“Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil.” Psalm 37.8 Living in Lesotho in the 21st century is like acting out the chorus extracted from the Stimela song, aptly titled Tell me where did we go wrong. Lesotho returned to a democratic dispensation in 1993 after having endured military rule that started in 1986. After twenty-eight years, what are the lessons that we as a country have learnt? What have been our successes for close to three decades of representative democratic rule? That Lesotho has never experienced a civil war in all these years still remains a mystery for many, but I have come to observe that when they say re le sechaba re mpa re ithateloa ke Balimo ba rona feela (as a nation we are only protected by our ancestors) you will realise that this indeed is the reason why when other countries who have gone to the doldrums as we have we Basotho may never experience any civil war since our new found democracy. As a people, we Basotho respect our dead ones to the extent that we will never ever deny them the respectable sending offs that in most cases result in misery that takes years to recover from. The notification of a loved one’s passing sets the tone for families to unite momentarily to renew unending family feuds. These are the times in our lives when and where relatives converge to showcase utter contempt for each other. But today I do not wish to dwell too much on relative-on-relative anguish but rather to look at the anger that we harbour from a national perspective. 1993 was supposed to usher in an era of hope and economic recovery following a phase in our lives when the army stepped in to intervene when Basotho no longer saw eye-to-eye. The amount of anarchy that reigned upon us as a nation was unmatched in the southern tip of Africa. Then we were an epitome of everything that was wrong. When the army handed over government to civilian rule in 1993, there were about four or five political parties. Given the unwanted past that Lesotho had experienced under the Basotho Nationalist Party, the voting population wanted an alternative and they managed to get themselves one. The BCP won a landslide election and was catapulted into government. No one needs to be reminded that the BCP leadership that was in exile had just returned to the Kingdom to join forces with the local leaders of the party. Was there space for all hopefuls? I doubt it given what then immediately ensued. One of the characteristics of human beings is their unquenchable desire to be at the top echelons of everything. If you don’t believe me, try this out. Even in our clans, there is hierarchy which is well known. Whenever a clan goes into disarray, most of the time it is as a result of some topito who has just recently acquired wealth and uses such wealth to try and get to the front of the line when we do the ‘o lerole mme o tla khutlela leroleng’ as they try to impress their chommies who have accompanied them to a relative’s funeral. The phenomenon is not restricted to family feuds only. As I said, in 1993 a new political era was introduced and soon nothing out of the ordinary happened. Grey haired men and women who could be excused to having owned the struggle took to each other’s throats. This was as a result of an ageing Premier and everyone had an eye on the luxuries that came with being heir to the Premiership. While everyone thought that the heir to the throne would have been someone popular, an ordinary chap got elevated to the top to the demise of the hopefuls. Then the national anger started and sooner than we thought, factions started in the biggest of the political parties. Then some street smart politicians started plotting their way or removing others as the line to the throne started elongating and the wait for many was never what had been intended. Whenever a teacher got deemed to be used and done, then they migrated to mainstream politics making the lives of career politicians’ hell given that aspirations to Parliament would mean having to take on community builders in the form of retired teachers in the primaries before the elections proper. The politicians were no match for the retired teachers and parties started splitting to the shambolic state of politics we now have to endure. Today, Basotho are characterised by being overly critical about everything that happens around them. We whine even when we have to celebrate as a nation. We don’t see anything right in this country yet we can’t even suggest possible solutions to the wrongs that we see. Tell me of anyone who is critical and has actually voluntarily come up with anything brilliant as a solution. Look at the caliber of the political leaders we have today, do we have anything that is charismatic and has aura in them, there are many to think about so your search isn’t far. We need to change and together re kopanye maboko in search for solutions. If we embrace the shenanigans of our elders who during their productive years didn’t understand that patience is a virtue, I tell you that at this rate we are only becoming hurdles of the Lesotho we all want. Before parting, let me allow my penchant for sensible music get the better of me and invite you to the late MJ when he spoke about where changes have to start, he says in ‘Man in the Mirror’ I’m starting with the man in the mirror I’m asking him to change his ways And no message could have been any clearer If you want to make the world a better place Take a look at yourself, and then make a change Yes let’s make that change Basotho!!! Mokhosi Mohapi

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