T was such a sad sight to watch Deputy Prime Minister Lesao Lehohla grovelling at the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) conference over the weekend.
You could see by his demeanour as he walked to the podium in that muddy tent on Saturday that Lehohla was going to do something dramatic.
He is normally a “cool guy” but on that day he looked troubled.
If it was the enormity of the moment that had unsettled him then Scrutator perfectly understands.
It’s not unusual for a man who has spent a better half of his career as a deputy to be rattled a bit by the prospect of being the substantive leader.
All the same he must have kept his nerves under control.
But it wasn’t long before he pushed his speech aside and got down to the business of begging.
rom there on it became Scrutator’s responsibility to get embarrassed on his behalf. Scrutator will soon be sending a detailed invoice to Ntate Lehohla for making her work overtime.
After settling that bill Lehohla must vouch never to sink to such dismal depths again but if he does then Scrutator will bill him into bankruptcy.
What made the whole episode pathetic was not Lehohla’s begging but the blatant style in which he did so.
You would expect a senior politician of his ilk to be more subtle and calculative. You can beg elegantly.
Begging in itself is not such a bad thing as long as it’s done with charm and leaves a person with their self-respect intact.
You must never cross the line between persuading and pleading. Once you cross that thin line you risk putting off even the very person you are begging.
Judging by the groaning and jeering from the crowd it was clear Lehohla’s attempt at persuading the people had become a desperate plea.
hose being begged were not impressed.
“Nineteen years ago when I first became a part of you, my hair was all black. But throughout the years I’ve developed grey hairs because of dealing with the problems of the LCD,” Lehohla said, as if he had
suddenly discovered that leadership is about dealing with problems.
“Why can’t you put me back because until now I have discharged my responsibilities? To be standing here before you today means I’ve been loyal,” Lehohla added.
As soon as Lehohla said those words Scrutator knew the man had reached a point of no return. He was in his element and not even the jeering from the 1 400 or so delegates was going to stop him.
Lehohla was on a slippery slope to an unprecedented low.
“You elected Ntate Mosisili into power three times. Why won’t you do the same for me, just this once? I am telling you the truth, I have been loyal to you and I don’t care what anybody thinks,” Lehohla said.
He had clearly forgotten this had nothing to do with Mosisili.
“I am making this plea because maybe this is the last time that I get to talk to you in this manner. I might not be available in 2016 and 2017.”
At that point Scrutator walked out of the conference and headed for the toilet.
There she wept for she had just seen a man she had respected for years crumble and crumple in spectacular fashion.
ehohla later came back to his senses on Saturday evening when he pulled out of the leadership race and allowed Mothetjoa Metsing to prevail.
Perhaps he had read the mood after his pleading earlier that day.
After much pondering Scrutator realised the problem was not with Lehohla but politics, the game he likes so much to play but lacks the talent for it.
You see, Lehohla is just an honest man who loves politics. The problem is that politics has no place for honest men like him.
On Saturday he tried to play it fair in a patently rough game.
By the time he took to the podium to sell his agenda the delegates had already bought Metsing’s agenda in bulk.
Lehohla had been whitewashed before he even entered the race.
The battle had been won in the LCD structures and the election in Maseru was only meant to confirm a result everyone, apart from Lehohla, already knew.
et to blame it all on Lehohla’s honesty will be unfair.
Sincerity is strength not weakness. So if Lehohla failed because he could not be dishonest then he must be applauded instead of being lampooned.
The truth is that Lehohla failed because he represented old things to the LCD delegates.
I am not talking about his age but the pre-February 29 LCD.
When the delegates looked at Lehohla they saw a man who stood by Pakalitha Mosisili even when he was bugling left, right and centre.
They saw Mosisili’s assistant and not a leader who could drive the new LCD.
Here was man who could not stand up to Mosisili.
To them Lehohla was a man who allowed Mosisili a free rein when he should have put his foot down.
They looked back in history but could not find a single occasion when Lehohla challenged Mosisili on matters.
His candidature was tainted by association.
In the end it was not what Lehohla did but what he failed to do that felled him.
ehohla must not cry over spilt milk because he has given so much to the LCD already.
The fact that the delegates did not think he is the right man for job doesn’t mean they see him as access baggage.
The grey hairs he talked about when he was pleading for votes can still come in handy as the LCD starts its revival.
But having said that, Scrutator still thinks Lehohla would benefit immensely from an early retirement from politics.
She is sure there are grandchildren yearning for his folktales.
How nice will it be Ntate Lehohla to have your grandchild on your lap and say: “A very long time ago when stones had legs and animals could speak the LCD was a united party ….”