In keeping up with the unwritten rule that Lesotho shall be a country of pettiness and mediocrity, we have done it again because that is the one thing that our leadership knows more than many other things. This time around we have left our troops who are away from home, out to dry!
Whereas in normal settings parents ensure that their children who are away from home whether schooling or running errands, have provisions to see them throughout the assignment, not so for our men in uniform.
While he and his staffers back home continue to enjoy financial emoluments accumulating inter alia from the taxes paid by the same army men, defence minister has said that the contingent of the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) in Mozambique have not been paid for most of the time they have thus far spent out there in a foreign land.
The Minister of Defense and National Security Halebonoe SetÅ¡abi has refuted claims that members of the Lesotho Defence Force on a peace-keeping mission to the Republic of Mozambique have not received any form of allowance since they were dispatched under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM) some three months ago.
SetÅ¡abi indicated that, LDF members in SADC mission in Mozambique received their first allowances for their first month in the mission.
â€œIt is not true that our soldiers in Mozambique have not received any money from the government of Lesotho for being in the SADC mission. What happened is that they have received their allowance for the first month in the mission but have not yet received allowances for the second and third months because expectation was that they would spend just three months on the mission,â€ he said.
SetÅ¡abi indicated that it was also expected that the SADC would contribute towards the allowances, however everything is being dealt with.
This paper has learnt that the members of the LDF contingent had only received M7500 from the government that was said to be an allowance for their initial two weeks.
However, SetÅ¡abi stressed that the money owed to the soldiers was that which equals two months as they had been paid for the first month.
â€œThey had not received their second and third month allowances because we encountered problems with our system at the Ministry of Finance but we are working on it,â€ he said.
The song about systems being problematic thus hindering due payment of those owed by government is an old tune that makes one singing it sound like a broken record.
This is because we have seen that old system or new system, payments unto which the powers-that-be have own interest are processed in an instant. For instance, when the members of the parliament wanted to amass public coffers for their benefit in the form of the infamous fuel allowances, money was available as soon as it was needed.
Similarly, when Advocate Mahlomola Manyokole, the estranged Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) decried poverty asking for his legal fees to be covered by government for his ongoing tribunal, M1.6 million was available in a blink of an eye and there was no hurdle caused by so-called system. This leads us to believe that there will always be money available to cater for whatever those in power have interest it, system or no system.