OP-EDs

OP-ED: LET’S GET POLITICS RIGHT THEN DEVELOP LESOTHO

By Nkopane Mathibeli
To get politics right, we must begin at the beginning which obviously entails a critical examination of the essence of politics.
We do not necessarily have to do this in a general sense but in a sense that is specific to Lesotho.
How so? Through the media, we must first have a very broad, open ended debate about the substance of an ideal politician in Lesotho.

This is where we must begin and to get there, we only have to ask ourselves a single question: “what should be the politics of an ideal politician that could turn Lesotho’s economic situation around?”.
Why not say anything about the political situation when it is the shenanigans of our politicians that always lead to political uncertainty and early elections?
It is because when politicians are oriented towards coming up with sensible solutions to a nation’s pathetic economic situation, the electorate does not only get attached to such politicians.

In time, it rejects out of hand any politician that is oriented towards the politics of personal vendetta and the acquisition of political power for selfish ends.
That would be an ideal state of affairs in our Kingdom because it would definitely mean that the people of Lesotho would have come to a point where their attachment to a politician is based on whether what he/she often makes political statements about is in any way related to improving the country’s economic situation and by extension, their welfare, as the electorate.

Like I say, this would be an ideal state of affairs and as it were, ideals more or less connote perfection and as we all know, perfection is almost always impossible to attain.
This however does not mean that the pursuit of high ideals such as offsetting the evolution of virtuous politicians in our Kingdom is an inevitably fruitless exercise.
On the contrary, it is our patriotic duty as citizens of this Kingdom to separate virtuous politicians from this ever growing mass of good-for-nothing run-of-the-mill politicians.
What good do they serve us except to contribute to the further impoverishment of our country while cruising around in top of the range cars and living a life of extra ordinary opulence?

The cold truth is that to date, their uselessness to the improvement of the economic conditions of our Kingdom is absolute.
This notwithstanding, we the electorate would be completely out of order to entirely place the blame on them. After all, they do not elect themselves.
We the electorate elect them. Doesn’t this then make us the primary culprits regarding the ever sinking ship that is Lesotho since it is us through our fingers who endorse these run-of-the-mill politicians whose greatest achievement is self-enrichment?

No it doesn’t. In actual fact, we the electorate are the secondary culprits.
The primary culprit is the media and do you know why? It is because the media is an extension of the education system.
This is because the information that the media disseminates to us the electorate is meant to serve the purpose of making us knowledgeable and therefore educated on issues of great national significance prime among which is the issue of political virtue.
On the contrary and unfortunately for us, our media takes the cake with regard to it’s reportage on issues of political vice.

If we are to get politics right in this Kingdom, the primary responsibility of our media is to first reconfigure the way it produces and presents its everyday content.
If the bulk of Lesotho’s electorate is to be empowered to an extent that it can make it’s own rational, very informed decisions regarding politics and politicians of substance, there are very many developmental issues that ought to be mainstreamed in everyday media content.

Let me sum up by making a single and very important example here. According to the LHWP Treaty signed on October 24 1986, Lesotho is obliged to deliver 73 cubic metres of water into South Africa per second. 73 cubic meters equals to seventy three thousand litres per second. You can calculate the number of litres within 24 hours if you like.
Controversially, according to a spreadsheet for the deliverance of water from Lesotho into South Africa spanning fourteen years (1996-2010), a million cubic meters of water (1 billion litres of waters was sold at forty cents. Ridiculous, isn’t it?

However, paragraph 1 of article 18 titled procedure for review and revision states that the terms of the Treaty can be revised at intervals of twelve years and the next interval is in 2022.
If this kind of information is streamlined in everyday media content, the exploitation which our country is subjected to by others would be common knowledge among the masses and they in turn would be anxious to get answers from their leaders regarding solutions.
For example, they would want to know from the state how it plans to deal with the inequities of the LHWP Treaty come 2022 but alas because the media never touches on such pressing issues. NW

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