Lesotho Times

A battalion of fools

R

umour has it that while on a four-day state visit to Malaysia last week Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili received an urgent call from one of his officers in Maseru on Thursday afternoon.

The officer reported that the march that was being planned against his government’s policies was finally in full swing.

Mosisili is said to have briefly paused to digest the news before letting rip a very loud and undiplomatic laugh that startled even his hosts.

When his shocked hosts asked what he was laughing about Mosisili told them the “joke”.

“Some fools in my country have been threatening to shake my government with a massive protest but when they finally took to the streets today only a handful turned up.

“The march was a total flop,” Mosisili is reported to have told his hosts.

Relieved that the joke was not on them Mosisili’s hosts laughed even louder before inviting him to a huge feast that ended in the small hours of the morning.

Who in their right senses would not have laughed at the damp squib of a protest that happened last Thursday?

It was a pathetic effort by some attention-seeking zealots who have made it a vocation to march at the drop of a hat.

That protest was such a sick joke.

The organisers are now desperate to crank-up the numbers to give the impression that the march was a resounding success but Scrutator can bet her last penny that 10 4 + 1 taxis would have been enough to ferry the miserable marchers back to their homes.

Some embedded journalists are putting the figures at “about 5 000” but that is not surprising for local reporters are generally a blinkered lot that like to hunt in packs like jackals and have a penchant for gobbling up even the most preposterous of claims without asking questions. 

T

he numbers aside, you had to read the so-called petition that the organisers handed to Mosisili’s office to grasp how ludicrous the protest was.

Placed right at the top of the petition handed to Mosisili’s office was a demand by taxi operators that the government reviews taxi fares from M4.50 to M10 a trip.

Scrutator was not surprised because every time our opposition politicians, union leaders and civic activists come together you can be sure they will do something utterly infantile.

Sometimes in their desperate effort to be taken seriously they shoot themselves in the foot.

What, for instance, were opposition leaders expecting to benefit from supporting demands by the taxi operators to increase fares by more than 100 percent?

And what were the textile union leaders doing in a mob that wanted to increase fares by 100 percent when they recently unashamedly allowed sweat factory operators to review the minimum wage by M4? 

It’s shocking that our opposition leaders would connive with taxi operators to make the public more miserable.

Scrutator thought the government was already doing a good job of making the people’s lives hell by increasing its service charges by satanic margins.

Poor people are now paying an arm and a leg at government hospitals.

Passports are now hellishly priced.

You now need a bank loan to raise enough money to get a driver’s licence.

Yet our opposition leaders and the so-called trade unionists have the audacity to side with taxi operators that want to inflict more pain on consumers. 

Hell no!

Scrutator is not saying taxi operators should not increase fares but rather that our asinine opposition leaders and spineless trade unionists should not give ammunition to such demands.

They should not help make our lives hell because the government is already doing a sterling job of that.

The government hates competition.

T

he real shocker in the petition was the demand that foreign investors should concentrate on big businesses and leave small businesses for Basotho.

Scrutator gasped for air when she read that.

That this was coming from senior politicians and union leaders was quite astounding.

Will anyone raise a storm if Scrutator says mediocrity is our national sport?

The marchers want Basotho relegated to the fringes of the real business world. 

In fact they are demanding that Basotho be reduced to operating tiny mom and pop shops while foreigners get huge government tenders.

Just how juvenile can our politicians be before they realise it.

The reasoning is quite queer.

A group of opposition, union, business and civic leaders is saying we Basotho must be content with running backyard car washes (the last time I checked every house in Maseru had a car wash) and “spaza” shops.

Such is the mindset that has seen our country remain largely underdeveloped almost half a century after independence.

We think so little of ourselves.

We have adamantly refused to dream or think big.

While we scream about our “right” to open “spaza” shops foreign businesses are making obscene profits from our resources and market.

The real protests should be about government opening up the market for small players to flourish into big business people and not for small people to remain small.

Basotho must learn to demand a fair share of the national cake and not crumbs like they are doing now.

T

hat brings me to yet another silly demand in the petition.

The government must immediately start negotiating new border boundaries with South Africa, the petition said.

Phew!

The last time Scrutator checked there was no border dispute between the two countries.

Yet surprisingly that “phantom issue” found its way into the petition.

This just goes to show you that last Thursday’s march was about non-issues.

Scrutator has regularly heard talk that Lesotho’s border used to stretch to the Vaal River before the Afrikaners pushed our forefathers into the mountains.

But anyone who thinks that this “injustice” will be addressed is not only daydreaming but is just about to have wet dreams.

Scrutator won’t stop the “come” from coming.

Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

Contact us today: News: editor@lestimes.co.ls Advertising: marketing@lestimes.co.ls Telephone: +266 2231 5356

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