What happened to patriotism?

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The good thing about democracy is that it dictates that everyone must be listened to.

That’s fair.

Its downside however is that sometimes we just have to listen to the most  mundane of arguments from borderline psychotics just so we don’t come across as undemocratic.

That’s irritating.

A squad of garrulous zealots whose organisation is misnamed the Lesotho People’s Charter Movement has sneaked their pathetic idea on the national agenda.

They say they will fight tooth and nail for Lesotho to be annexed to South Africa, its only neighbour.

They say because Lesotho depends on South Africa for “everything” it must therefore be annexed.

And they are brandishing some 30 000 signatures, purportedly gathered from Basotho across the country, to prove that their cause has national resonance.

No one has bothered to round them up and hand them over to the authorities for their heads to be examined.

One of their leaders is Vuyani Tyhali, a trade unionist who obviously needs to learn to think before he opens his mouth.

 It’s an embarrassment of epic proportions that 45 years after this country became independent we still have people who are proud to be purveyors of such narrow-minded and retrogressive agendas.

The only solace we can derive from it all is that very few people are taking the so-called people’s movement seriously.

The political leaders of this country seem to have ignored their calls altogether.

What, apart from their “Lesotho is South Africa-locked” mantras, is the justification for their call for Lesotho to be wiped away from the face of the earth?

Do you take over a neighbour’s family and wife because they are poor?

Since World War II more than a hundred countries have been born.

As late as last month the people of Southern Sudan, as poor as they are, voted to become an independent country.

Millions others across the globe are fighting for their right to self-determination and sovereignty.

In the next few years more countries will be formed.

Yet charlatans like Tyhali have the nerve to try and reverse the current simply because their poor country is in the belly of a “richer” country. 

Scrutator has no doubt that such is an agenda by people who have their own personal interests but hide behind the gospel of pragmatism. 

They say we make nothing as a country as if a country becomes a country so it can make “something”. 

Life in Lesotho might be hard but that doesn’t mean South Africa is the proverbial land of milk and honey.

If anything statistics show that life for the majority poor South Africans is unbearable.

More than 50 percent of the population, who are mostly blacks, live below the poverty datum line.

Nearly 12 million live in hovels not even fit enough to be dog kennels.

Sixteen years after independence there are people who have to answer to nature’s call under the glare of strangers because their government has not bothered to build a wall around their makeshift toilets.

Those innovative ones have to cover themselves in blankets so people do not get to see their nether regions.

It is these shack-dwellers who sleep with one eye open for fear of being maimed, raped or robbed by criminals who have been allowed to fester because their government has not bothered to reorient incompetent police officers from the crowd control role they served during apartheid.

According to a World Competitiveness Survey South Africa is rated the worst out of 133 countries on crime.

Every day South Africa records a colossal 50 murders, 100 rapes, 330 armed robberies and 550 violent assaults.

Every hour a person is murdered in South Africa.

Four women are raped every hour.

Add that to the fact that South Africa is ranked one of the most unequal societies in the world, where the gap between the rich and the poor is stupendously huge, and you will see that there is really little to envy about the big neighbour.

People like Tyhali are not different from those Basotho who during the day gloat that they are proud Basotho yet they are hiding South African ID cards under their matresses.

Whatever happened to the virtues of self determination and sovereignty?

A few months ago, a veteran journalist is said to have had an interesting conversation with the ousted Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

This is how the interview went.

“President Mubarak, when are you going to finally say goodbye to the people of Egypt?” asked the journalist. 

“Where are they going?” Mubarak shot back.

Scrutator made that conversation up but it illustrates a point.

She indeed had the last laugh last Friday when Egyptians finally sent him packing after almost 30 years of autocratic rule.

Mubarak, who is reported to be ailing, is now holed up in the resort city of Sharm el-Sheik in Egypt.

But did you see how Mubarak was ranting and raving in a rambling television speech a few days before he resigned? 

“I will die on Egyptian soil and I am not going to run away,” Mubarak said.

Tsamaea hantle ntate!

Lastly Scrutator would like to thank all readers who contributed to the debate on the state of the National University of Lesotho — it shows that people do care about the university.

While at it, Scrutator would like to sincerely apologise to all high school students who might have been offended by being compared to NUL graduates.

It was unfair and unbecoming of Scrutator to make that comparison.

Scrutator deeply regrets the injury.

Adios!

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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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