Drop your egos and talk

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LESOTHO is on the verge of yet another political upheaval. 

This time the mêlée is over disputed proportional representation seats.

On Monday we could yet again show the world how incapable we are of solving our political problems without resorting to senseless confrontation.

We might prove beyond reasonable doubt that we are a nation that is prone to pressing the self-destructive button at every turn.

Why is it that we appear to be a nation that has refused to learn from its blighted history?

The opposition is sanitising it as a stay-away.

We have heard that before.

It starts off as peaceful stay-away or demonstration (call it what you may) but the past has painfully taught us that just one little moment of madness from either side will spark a chain of events that will lead to acts of destruction.

The events will leave a trail of destruction on the economy and lives will inevitably be lost.

The wounds take generations to heal.

The government says nothing will persuade them to rethink their hard-line stance on the seats issue. They say all is well and they will deploy the police to help people go about their business unhindered.

We have heard this before too.

It starts off as mere talk and then one flicker will trigger a heavy-handed reaction to the strike.

Reactionary measures are always difficult to manage.

Absolutely no one in government and the opposition can claim to know — with certainty — what beast the so-called stay-away will mutate into.

What is however certain is that this country cannot afford a fresh round of political turmoil.

Just what will it take for our political leaders, both the government and the opposition, to stop this mess?

Are our memories so short that we have quickly forgotten the horrible events of 1998?

Have the tears that we shed for relatives and friends that we lost during those dark days of anarchy dried so quickly? 

Look around you.

Lesotho has barely recovered from that destruction.

Maseru is basically at a stage of reconstruction.

The signs of that madness are still apparent in some of our urban spots.

The economy has not even recovered yet we have the audacity to even entertain the thought of going that self-destructive route again.

We are still mending the damages of 11 years ago. Some of the companies that fled the violence have not even returned.

We still have no meaningful industry of our own.

The bulk of the food we consume comes from across the border.

The reason is because we lost decades that could have been used to develop the country at each other’s throats quarrelling instead of building the country.

What will it take for us to come back to our senses and realise that altercation rarely solves problems?

What is particularly sad in this case is that none of the squabbling parties have talked about dialogue to put down the emotional fires.

No one has shown us that dialogue had indeed failed.

It’s been dialogue of the deaf all the way.

The opposition says they are going ahead with the strike while the government says it is are prepared to deal with it.

We ask: is this the best we can do as a nation? 

As things stand we are facing a catastrophe.

We are plotting our own demise.

We have to return to our senses immediately before we do something that we will regret as a nation.

Both the opposition and the government have to drop their bloated egos and talk.

Now is not the time to score cheap political points.

It’s not about who is wrong and who is right.

This is the time for the opposition to show maturity and the government to reflect leadership. This country cannot afford another crisis.

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

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