2010: Depressing year for Basotho

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LAST year was one of the most depressing years in the history of development in Lesotho.

The year began on a sad note with an announcement that Sacu revenue was expected to drop significantly.

The declining revenue meant that the government had to be forced to introduce austerity measures to deal with this reality.

Lesotho and Basotho became a laughing stock to their neighbours in South Africa.

The South African government went on to cancel the six-month permit that was used by Basotho.

The decision to terminate the permit resulted in much anguish for Basotho.

Basotho had to change the way they lived.

The movement of Basotho between Lesotho and South Africa was therefore curtailed.

The business community also lost a fortune as a result of the border crisis.

Students who were studying in South Africa missed their exams.

Workers lost their jobs.

The government of Lesotho admitted that it had been rather slow in dealing with the crisis.

However, all these problems pointed to one issue: that Lesotho needs to develop its economy to stop over-reliance on its more prosperous neighbour.

Those who are charged with the power to manage our affairs should also exercise greater wisdom in dealing with the concerns of Basotho.

Basotho should not be made to suffer for the incompetence of “rotten” officials within the government.

The sooner we accept and learn from these lessons the better for all of us.

These lessons should also make us change the manner we conduct our businesses this year.

On another level, I think the decision by High Court judges to recuse themselves from the MKM case also showed the loopholes in our judicial system.

The recusal of judges has cost the country lots of money as we had to outsource the service to foreign judges.

This judicial crisis needs to be rectified.

The decline in Sacu revenue is a clear signal that there is a need to change our economic policy.

The country can no longer afford to have the economic policy written in the heart of the person who is the minister of economic affairs.

There is a need to have a concerted effort towards ensuring that our relations with other nations benefit Lesotho and Basotho.

I fail to understand the motive for the Sacu countries to continue with the current revenue sharing formula.

South Africa is simply getting too much from the Sacu pool and if that country is sincere about abolishing pockets of poverty surrounding it, it needs to push for an equal share of the revenue.

Our negotiators should be able to think outside the box in negotiating new deals for Lesotho.

This should mean that people from all walks of life should be brought together in developing a strategy on how we want to relate to other nations.

We should always remember that united we stand and divided we fall. Hence there should be no Mosotho who should be left out in the process of developing national policies because of their political affiliation or religious beliefs. 

There is no way in which Basotho will be respected by world nations if we fail to protect the very identity of our nation.

Our failure to put proper structures in place can only result in us attracting second and third class citizens from other countries to come to Lesotho with the knowledge that there are no systems.

These people could be convicted felons who would come to Lesotho in order to continue their wrongdoings or to conceal their existence.

This will certainly be facilitated by the fact that people can come to Lesotho, be rebranded and given a Sesotho name.

This trend can only ensure that Lesotho becomes a den of robbers, drug peddlers and human traffickers, even possible terrorists.

There is need to overhaul the management of the issuance of the national identity and travel documents.

In the age of terrorism it is unacceptable for countries like Lesotho to lag behind the rest of the world.

It is very depressing for one to be subjected to unnecessary security checks which often result in Basotho missing planes and losing a lot of time at international ports.

2011 should be the year to reinstate the credibility of Lesotho and Basotho as an honest nation to the rest of the world.

The government of Lesotho holds the key to this process.

This will ensure that the 2007 agreement between Lesotho and SA on the facilitation of cross border movement of citizens becomes a reality amongst other things.

Then Lesotho and South Africa will be leading the rest of Sadc countries towards full free movement of persons in southern Africa.

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