As the Gregorian calendar drew to a close, it provided us with an opportunity for reflection, the year 2023 stood out for the series of disheartening events that unfolded in our country. The period witnessed a cascade of actions by politicians, security agencies, and business executives that demand thorough scrutiny.
This extended analysis aims to delve into the actions of key figures, shedding light on their questionable decisions and the repercussions for the country.
At the forefront of political scrutiny is Prime Minister Sam Matekane, whose performance has been compared to counterparts in Zambia and Kenya, namely Hakainde Hichilema and William Ruto, respectively.
Unfortunately, Matekane has failed to meet the expectations set by the electorate. Despite surviving a close call with ousting from the premiership, the premier appears more focused on maintaining a superficial image of being “cool” than dedicating himself to the responsibilities of his position.
Constitutional intervention by Lejone Puseletso saved Matekane from immediate dismissal. However, it remains evident that there is room for improvement in terms of serving the interests of the people who placed their trust in him. A re-evaluation of priorities and a commitment to genuine leadership are imperative for Matekane to regain the trust of the populace.
A specific concern within the Cabinet is the conduct of the Minister of Natural Resources, Mohlomi Moleko.
Moleko’s actions stand in direct contradiction to the Mines and Minerals Act of 2005, particularly within Section 11 (1) (c) (ii) titled Preference to Lesotho Goods and Services. This section is crucial for promoting the interests of Basotho-owned businesses, yet Moleko appears determined to favour foreign-owned enterprises over Basotho businesses, disregarding the standards set by the legislation.
His actions not only violate the law but also betray the interests of the people he is meant to serve.
Turning to the opposition, the largest parties such as the Democratic Congress (DC) and All Basotho Convention (ABC), alongside other smaller parties, engaged in disruptive behaviour during parliamentary sittings. Frivolous ‘points of order’ were raised, hindering the progress of essential legislative work.
Such actions undermine the democratic process and contribute to an atmosphere of inefficiency within the government. It is crucial for all political stakeholders to prioritize the national interest over political posturing, fostering a more constructive and cooperative political environment.
Security Agencies: A Cry for Reforms or a Political Ploy?
The Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) Commander Lieutenant General Mojalefa Letsoela, Lesotho Mounted Police Service (LMPS) Commissioner Holomo Molibeli, and National Security Service (NSS) Director General Pheello Ralenkoane found themselves embroiled in political controversies. Faced with the possibility of a vote of no-confidence against Prime Minister Matekane, these security chiefs cried foul, citing the need for reforms.
However, their respective institutional acts explicitly prohibit engagement in political activities, raising questions about their motivations.
It is crucial for these security agencies to uphold the principles that establish their existence, refraining from interference in political matters. The call for reforms should not serve as a smokescreen for actions that contravene their mandate and compromise the integrity of the security apparatus.
The year 2023 highlighted the necessity for a robust and impartial security structure that prioritizes the safety and well-being of the citizens above political considerations. The security agencies must undergo a thorough review of their operations, ensuring adherence to the rule of law and a commitment to non-partisanship.
Enrich, a supermarket with the potential to contribute positively to Basotho, has come under scrutiny for its questionable business practices.
Despite being wholly owned by locals, the company’s executives seemed more interested in personal gains than the welfare of shareholders. The decision to open a gym in Ha Tsolo, a seemingly impractical location, raises concerns about the company’s commitment to market research and strategic business decisions.
The Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) pledged to intervene and rescue Enrich from its precarious situation. However, this move raises questions about the allocation of taxpayer money, especially in light of recent audit reports indicating LNDC’s bailout of Taiwanese firms.
It is imperative for public funds to be utilized judiciously and transparently, addressing the needs of the local community rather than serving the interests of a select few.
Beyond Enrich, the broader business landscape in Lesotho requires attention. Business executives must prioritize ethical business practices, contributing to the economic development of the nation rather than pursuing short-term gains at the expense of long-term sustainability.
The government, in collaboration with regulatory bodies, particularly LNDC, should enforce accountability measures to ensure that businesses operate within the bounds of the law and in the best interests of the nation.
A Call for Reprogramming in the Year Ahead
In light of these disconcerting trends across the political, security, and business spheres, it is incumbent upon all the mentioned groups—politicians, security agencies, and business executives—to reassess their priorities and reprogram their actions in 2024. The challenges faced by Lesotho demand a comprehensive and collaborative effort to overcome obstacles and pave the way for a more prosperous future.
It is crucial for all stakeholders to commit to positive change, fostering a more productive and accountable environment for the benefit of citizens. This commitment necessitates a thorough review of policies, a dedication to ethical governance, and a genuine effort to address the concerns raised by the populace.
Political leaders must embrace a spirit of service, placing the needs of the nation above personal or party interests.
Security agencies should prioritize the safety and security of citizens, adhering to the rule of law without succumbing to political pressures. Business executives must adopt ethical business practices that contribute to the economic growth and well-being of the nation.
In the face of challenges, the Kingdom has the potential to emerge stronger, provided that its leaders and key figures demonstrate a collective commitment to positive change and the betterment of the nation.
2024 presents an opportunity for a renewed focus on the common good, fostering a sense of unity and resilience that will carry the country into a more promising future.