E are a marching and protesting country. We march for anything and picket for everything.
We spit fire when we are angry.
That we, Basotho, are naturally good dancers and average singers makes our marches and protests spectacular.
The women gyrate (Oh they can move those hips) while the men stomp their feet (they raise their gumboots), in a well choreographed style.
The results are marvellous processions that entertain with the rhythm of the human bodies and the melody of the singing voices.
So why is it that we never get what we want after marching and protesting?
How come we never get things done even with our fantastic protest styles?
The problem lies with the substance and target of our protests.
We like dancing and singing so much that we neglect the real motives of our protests.
We are yet to master the art of selecting our protest targets and articulating our grievances with elegance.
We shout things that don’t matter and muddle the real issues.
n Monday that national shortcoming was apparent when some 300-odd factory workers marched to Prime Minister Tom Thabane’s office, brandishing a short petition over wage increases.
As with other protests, this one was entertaining on things that don’t matter and disappointing on real issues.
The dances were beautiful and the singing fantastic but when it came to the real agenda it went off topic.
The M2 020 minimum wage issue was the main agenda of the protest but somewhere along the way the protesters veered to trivial issues which had nothing to do with their cause.
Out of the blues, there was a suggestion that the labour minister should be fired.
His crime, as it later emerged, was that he was “of no use to the factory workers” because he was not dealing with their grievances.
A march whose purpose was to push for better wages had been turned into a “disciplinary hearing” for a government minister.
A judgment had been delivered by the mob and Thabane was only supposed to act on it.
The main point of the march had been lost because an irrelevant issue had been smuggled to the table and the target was wrong.
The factory workers were complaining to the wrong person about a wrong person.
Someone must have reminded them that Thabane, no matter how willing he might be, has no power to decide what the factory owners should earn.
Someone must have told them that neither the current labour minister nor any other minister who will come after him will give them M2 020.
Their anger should be directed at their employers not the coalition government or its ministers.
Instead of bothering this polygamous government they must go back to the factories and ratchet up pressure on their employers.
They should squeeze the pennies out of those stingy employers.
t would have been better had the workers and their union leaders not tried to buttress their case with half truths.
They alleged that the political parties in the coalition government promised them a minimum wage of M2 020 during their campaigns.
Scrutator was one of those who used to believe that the M2 020 minimum wage was actually an election promise until she went into the archives.
It turns out that there was never such a promise.
The M2 020 figure was a creation of Macaefa Billy, the man who leads the Lesotho Workers Party, the ABC’s former nyatsi.
He made the demand in his capacity as the leader of the Factory Workers’ Union.
The coalition parties said they would improve wages in the factory industry but did not mention figures.
In any case, there is nothing magical about that M2 020 figure apart from the fact that it represents a pipe dream dreamt by 40 000 factory workers in Lesotho.
A big dream dreamt by many people does not always come true.
The factory workers have a fatter chance of seeing the government meeting its overly ambitious 2020 vision than they have of getting M2 020 from their employers this year.
Scrutator is not saying factory workers don’t deserve M2 020 but she understands why they can’t get it.
ith hindsight, Scrutator realises that it will be foolhardy for her to criticise the factory workers for missing the target and losing the plot of their march on Monday.
How can they do better in a country where people have a passion for protesting to wrong people and for wrong reasons?
Take, for instance, the brouhaha over the monies people lost in MKM.
People were marching to government offices when the guy who swindled them is alive, kicking and free.
Libe Moremoholo, that garrulous former ABC MP who was once spanked for pinching pittances from parliament, recently handed a petition to Tommy about MKM.
The result was obvious: Nothing happened because the protests were targeted at the wrong person.
Remember the border crisis caused by the previous government.
People pointed long fingers at the South African government when the real culprit was the clumsy government of Lesotho.
The result was obvious: the problem has not been sorted because we protested to the wrong people.
Most recently, there is a push for the government to remove Sharon Siverts, the vice-chancellor of the National University of Lesotho.
Last Friday a group of workers from the troubled university submitted a petition to the council, demanding that Siverts be fired.
Although the group was right to direct their petition to the council as Siverts’ employer it forgot that the council is not run by mobocracy.
A VC is not fired simply because cleaners, librarians, caretakers and lecturers have demanded so.
An employment contract is between the employee and the employer not the employee and fellow employees.
Workers cannot demand the dismissal of another worker.
The people at NUL should know better that their toyi-toying antics are therefore misdirected.
n an entirely different matter, Scrutator did not know that the word “reiterate” was capable of giving some people nightmares until she read a story from a beleaguered country north of Lesotho.
Elizabeth Tsvangirai, the wife of the Zimbabwean Prime Minister known more for his sexual escapades than political ideas, was the victim.
It took the newly married sister six attempts and 37 seconds in her battle to say the word “reiterate”.
It came out as reillutrate, reillu… illustrate, reillutrate, reillutrate, illurate.
No matter how hard she tried, sister Liz stumbled.
In the end she settled for “iterate” and then motored through her speech.
Someone in the audience must have said: “Hey, the word is “re-i-te-ra-te”, you illiterate wife of an illiterate Prime Minister. Why bother speak a language when you can’t speak it properly?” And to think some misdirected souls want to trace Scrutator’s roots to a country with such buffoons.