We play with sensitive matters

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We play with sensitive matters
We play with sensitive matters

Africa-Press – Lesotho. A famous man once said, “Ha ke so bone position e ferekanyang batho joaloka ea bo-PS. ” Meaning, of all the positions that exist in the public service, there is none as destructive as one of a Principal Secretary (PS).

I don’t know what really happens when one is appointed a PS. But something suddenly changes. They lose their character and turn into wild and arrogant animals that have never existed on planet earth. In any case, let me ask you a question.

Why is it that when a minister or PS under-performs at any portfolio, they are either re-deployed to the Ministry of Public-Service, Ministry of Tourism or Forestry?
What are we trying to say here? Are we trying to say that ministries such as the Ministry of Public Service, Tourism, Sports and Forestry are deemed as ‘less important ministries’ or ‘second-tier ministries’ or ‘dump sites’ for all delinquent ministers and PS’s as a form of punishment?
Let’s take a look at the Ministry of Public Service and Administration.

The most important ministry in our administration. The engine-room of any economy in the world. Why do I say so? History tells us that when Lesotho gained independence in 1966, there were a few ministries that the former British colonial administration refused to hand-over to the new BNP government.

Well, their reason was quite simple. They said, “You are simply not ready to run those ministries. ” In other words, “hase moo ho bapalloang mona. ”
Some of those ministries were the Ministry of Public Service, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Justice.

The former British colonial administration was just relentless and refused to let-go because the incoming BNP-led administration was not trained to handle complex systems such as public administration as well as finance.

These were deemed to be delicate (sensitive) ministries. If you mess them up, you mess the entire system up. Those two ministries were run by the British administration well into the 80’s.

In fact, Ntate Tom would still know better. As a matter of fact, I still remember a time when my father drove past Radio Lesotho and I was sitting at the rear-seat of his VW Golf.

On Lerotholi Road, to be precise. He showed me a house across the road to the Royal Palace and said, “That’s where the Chief Justice lives. ”
When I looked into the yard, there was a white old man and I later learnt that he was the Chief Justice of Lesotho.

So, I find it funny (not funny Hahaha) that in the 2000’s and post 2010/2012 after coalition governments were introduced, the ethos on these three ministries slowly changed and their standards deteriorated.

More so on public service. We can all agree that anyone deemed to be tired, incompetent, corrupt and just plain useless, is dumped in this key ministry.

What is the result of this? A public service sector that is mismanaged, incompetent, corrupt, silly and unpatriotic. I once asked a pertinent question sometime during the hard-lockdown.

Can patriotism and corruption exist in one sentence? Can a person claim to be patriotic yet corrupt? Corruption exists in the public service due to lack of patriotism. If you truly love your country, you would do anything to protect it and make it work. This brings me to another important point.

When the African National Congress (ANC) gained political power to govern South Africa in 1994, history tells us that the former National Party (NP) technocrats gave the incoming government a stern warning about the delicate matter at Eskom.

The NP technocrats told the ANC that the system can still run, however, not optimally. The ANC government needed to start budgeting for maintenance and preparing to service some of the power plants as they were nearing their end-of-life cycle.

Guess what happened? “No, we are busy with the Rainbow nation. We’ll see those things when the time comes. ”
A few years later, post ’94, the former NP technocrats gave the ANC yet another warning.

“Hela ANC, this is a sensitive matter. Se ke la bapallang mona.

” Don’t play with this institution called Eskom. In fact, it was not only
Eskom that they were warned about, but Transnet as well.

But no, the ANC was still in a state of euphoria and forgot all about it. Guess what happened? In 2008, reality hit home. A thing that South Africans had never ever imagined, suddenly became a reality of their lives and it was named, ‘Load Shedding’.

This load-shedding phenomenon was caused by two factors. When the ANC government took over, it connected power like crazy (le mekh’ukh’ung). This was one of the promises of the pre-94 and had to be fulfilled when they got into power.

This meant that demand increased drastically, but supply was now taking a strain because of an old system that the NP (apartheid) government had handed over to the ANC.

The system started to decay. Some of the power stations were decommissioned. Do you still remember the large cooling towers in Bloemfontein?
Where are we today? South Africa has an unreliable power supply that trips all the time.

As a result of this, the unreliable power supply has started to affect South Africa’s ability to attract investment. In short, if you can’t attract investment, it means you can’t create jobs. A case of Lesotho.

Now, coming back home, I also find it strange that we have also allowed ourselves to play with institutions such as the Central Bank, the judiciary, the military, the police service, anti-corruption institutions such as the DCEO and the Parliament of Lesotho.

Look at the circus in our Parliament. What about the national reforms?
At some point or the other, one or two individuals, that are totally not deserving of the highest position in any of those institutions will be appointed through political means. They became political appointees to further the interests of politicians. Look at the incompetence that was in the Central Bank.

What about the mess that happened in the judiciary pre-Justice Sakoane?
Why do we play with such sensitive matters such as the judiciary? The judiciary? I mean, why isn’t the filing system not digitised up to this point? Let me rephrase the question: Why are sensitive files in our judiciary not digitised?
Why do we still hear of a phenomenon named, ‘ho rutla maqhephe’ still happening in 2022? It is because, we play with sensitive matters.

History further tells us that certain functions within public works, roads and transport. Water and electricity were still under the guard of the British administration, post independence.

Ba ne ba re tseba hore re maonatso. They were just short of saying to us, “Hela lona likoata. Hase moo ho bapalloang mona. ” What happened? Need I say more? Look at the condition of our roads.

I mean those institutions (public works, roads, electricity) are on top of the list of institutions paralysed by corruption. But because we are a corrupt nation at heart, we’ll continue to reward incompetent people in key positions and institutions as a form of reward for their loyalty. What kind of Lesotho are future generations going to inherit? Do we ever think of that? How will history judge us a generation?

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