A nation always survives its fools

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SOMEONE wrote to me last week asking why I have not yet commented on something called the Socialist Revolutionary Party (SRP) planned for launch in December by one Teboho Mojapela, a loan shark.

The writer asked me why I wasn’t eager to comment on the SRP when I have always been eager to lampoon other political formations in Lesotho from Mophato Monyake’s Progressive Democrats to Tlali Khasu’s Truth and Reconciliation Unity party (or something like that. I have forgotten the real name)

The honest answer is that I really never bothered about this Socialist Revolutionary Party thing because of the sheer magnitude of its vacuousness. I honestly thought it was just a joke that Basotho would laugh at and just dismiss like that.  I also sincerely thought that apart from being a loan shark, Mojapela was seriously considering diversifying into comedy.

But I must admit that I am a bit bamboozled by the number of journalists joining the great trek to Ladybrand to interview Mojapela on his plans to launch Lesotho’s newest political formation.

Be that as it may, if Mojapela is really serious, then the work written about his party so far is a very sad indictment on the quality of the scribes who have been to Ladybrand. Why has none of them asked him this simple question; How can a loan shark who thrives on charging exorbitant and extortionist interest rates on poorly paid and desperate Basotho launch a political party and dare call it “socialist”.  How does a man who lives the high life in a sumptuous mansion emerge from the blue to christen himself “socialist”?

It is precisely because of these reasons that I felt everything was a joke and not worth my time.  The journalism around Mojapela so far has been quite funny. So I thought it was all meant for humour.

But let’s assume he is indeed serious. There are simply many foolish events that take place in Lesotho.  Scrutator can’t follow them all. To that end, I am a firm believer in the Roman politician Marcus Tullius Cicero’s dictum that – “A nation can survive its fools and even the most ambitious fools. But it cannot survive treason from within.”

I will say a few things about this SRP. What dumbfounds me a bit is that the very many small political parties in Lesotho are often formed by people who have nothing else to do with their lives and are hopeless to get a job from anywhere.

From the little I have heard of this Mojapela fellow, he is a fairly successful loan shark with a decent house and fleet of cars in his Ladybrand yard. So why can’t he just sit there and enjoy his moolah than seek to introduce yet another political party in Lesotho.

In one of the stories published about Mojapela, he boasts that he moved all his monies to South Africa and settled in Ladybrand because he presumably saw no hope for Lesotho. So what the hell is your problem Mojapela. The only socialist I know of with an opulent mansion, state of the art vehicles and fat bank accounts. To prove your socialism, why don’t you visit us in Ha-Mabote and share your wealth.  You could dispose of your luxury vehicles, bring the money here and buy us hundreds of four plus ones.  I have never met you in person, but from your pictures in the Lesotho Times and Public Eye, you bear a little resemblance to that other communist. You probably already know whom I am talking about – Kim Jong un aka Mr North Korea. Is that surely the promise of utopia you are making to us. Somehow I don’t believe you.

I have been trying to figure out how Mojapela thinks launching another political formation is the best way to go. One of the stories published claims that he has been funding just about every other political party in Lesotho from the BNP, the BCP, the LCD, the DC, the RCL, and the ABC in different elections over the years.

That is even more bamboozling to me. Is it because you have too much money to play around with or you easily get bored and lack better things to occupy yourself with?  I don’t know.  How surely can any rational businessperson enjoy throwing money at different political parties in different elections? To achieve what?

If it is for the sake of buying political influence, then it is a very bad way to achieve it. A rational business person chooses a party that identifies with their values (mainly that of promoting good business etiquette) and then funds the party on principle.  It seems clear that Mojapela wants nothing but influence for himself.  Another report published suggests that he is frustrated because he assisted the ABC in the June 3 polls but was then left out in the cold. Not only was he left in the cold, but he was infuriated to be given food in a disposable plate at State House, an allegation that Mojapela now refutes. Whatever the case is, I would be surprised that despite his long history in politics, or rather his long proximity to Lesotho politics from Ladybrand, Mojapela would not have known that you cannot assist the ABC to control Ntate Motsoahae.

Ntate Motsoahae is one of the most principled politicians I have ever seen. He is a principled man.  You cannot simply supply trinkets to his political party and then hope to control him. Never.  So if Mojapela wanted to play a Gupta on Ntate Motsoahae, he chose a very wrong guy.

If you want to exert revenge on the ABC, why not chose a better name that resonates. Why not call your party Mojapela People’s Congress (MPC) or Movement for Mojapela Change (MMC). Something simple and in line with reflecting your high ego. Apparently, I have never met Mojapela but I am informed he holds such a high opinion of himself. That is not a problem in itself. We all love ourselves. But to love yourself to the extent of forming an incongruous political formation to simply have a go at Ntate Motsoahae is rank madness.

I advise you to not waste your money buying ABC MPs to achieve their defection to the other side.  It would be tantamount to flushing your money from the gutter straight into the sewer. The ABC has just come into power now. It needs a bit of respite to implement its agenda alongside its coalition partners. We Basotho seem to have a problem. What exactly is it about us and forming political parties? Why can we not leave without forming these parties?

The Socialist Revolutionary Party is not only a bad idea. It is a very stupid idea. I hope it won’t see the light of day. But even if it does, it is bound to go the route of its short-lived predecessors like the Progressive Democrats (or whatever it was called) of Mophato Monyake.

Which brings me to the subject of the no confidence vote being contemplated by the DC to oust Thabane and install Mathibeli Mokhothu as new prime minister. How hilarious? Why is the DC not mentioning Ntate Mosisili as the replacement? Has the party finally realized that its leader is now well past his sell by date and is better off being dispatched to Qacha?

Let’s just imagine the vote of no confidence succeeds. How will we be ruled by our man from the North West – Mokhothu. How will he be sworn in seeing that he opted to flee to South Africa after seeing cars parked outside his house?

Are you hoping the SRP will be able to bribe a few disgruntled ABC MPs – who did not make it into cabinet –  to cross the floor and vote for Ntate Motsoahae’s ouster. Even if you succeed in achieving the no confidence motion, we will only be back to peg one. Ntate Motsoahae will dissolve parliament and call for fresh elections. He will then achieve a crushing victory, more devastating to the DC and other opponents than the June 3. The SRP will have one vote from its owner and possibly another from his drive and his maid. That won’t be enough to achieve a single PR seat. Mojapela will remain in Ladybrand. Any ABC MPS who would have been roped into the ill-fated plot would have lost their seats. They will go the Khasu and Maisa way.

If I could counsel you all and sundry, please leave Ntate Motsoahae alone. Let him continue with the business of running effective and efficient government without this SRP nonsense or the even more noxious no confidence vote claptrap.

Ache!!!!

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