OP-EDs

TELLING THE STORY OF THE MACHIAVELLIAN THOMAS THABANE

Though now hated by his former cheerleaders, Thomas Thabane’s brand of politics and their appeal have revealed to anyone who cared to see that politically, Lesotho has more idiots than independent thinkers. This is a cold truth.

By Nkopane Mathibeli

“Everybody knows how commendable it is for rulers to keep their word and live by integrity rather than by cunning. Yet experience shows that rulers with little regard for their word have achieved great things, being experts at beguiling man’s minds” ~ Niccolo Machiavelli

He might be coming to the end of his political run but whether you love him or you don’t, the current Prime Minister of Lesotho is an exceptionally smooth political dribbler; he dribbled past Lesotho’s most informed populace (or so it has always been alleged) by causing it to legitimise some of his most gross political/economic errors of judgement.

The beauty of it all is that he did not arm twist his thousands of fanatics (or should I say former fanatics?); they were all mind controlled.

How can you deny this without making yourself look out of touch with reality? On what ground would you when reference here is to a man who without breaking a sweat, demonstrated to anyone who cared to see how even the bulk of the enlightened urban middle class mass in Lesotho is still in its political infancy?

Here you are not just talking of a man who dabbles in politics but a Machiavellian thoroughbred. A shrewd political strategist who obviously understands that, within a democratic dispensation, the success of the strategy to acquire political power, rests on capturing the minds and hearts of the electorate.

He achieved this with remarkable ease by exploiting, with exceptional timing, every opportunity that presented itself.

He didn’t get into power through a coup, he convinced people to vote him into power.

He played by every rule of the participatory democratic system. He sought legitimacy from the electorate and got it. It may be true that his legitimacy is now in question but nothing can invalidate the fact that the legitimacy was mostly built on the blind faith that thousands had in him.

Through his charismatic appeal, Thomas Thabane became an enigma, a living legend, the alpha and omega of political/economic logic in Lesotho. He was indeed perceived as the epitome of political excellence and each one of his words was taken as bond.

Nothing he said was wrong and everyone he accused was guilty. Not much evidence was required. He no longer led what seemed like a cult. He had become a cult himself.

How did this happen; how were so many allegedly enlightened, highly educated people, caused to passionately defend the many legal, political and economic errors he made? They were obviously blinded by their infatuation of the man and in the process revealed their political naiveté.

Before emphasising the importance of Thomas Thabane (as loathed as he currently is) with regard to revealing the political infancy at which most of his former praise singers are, let’s just look at a few glaring errors they loudly cheered him for committing; in their blind faith in a political hustler he is, they legitimised them by acting as rubber stamps.

The first one is the unlawful removal of Tlali Kamoli as Commander of Lesotho’s defence force. That removal, which happened six year ago, was not different from that involving the Commissioner of Police a month ago.

Unlike then, the Prime Minister was no longer as loved hence Compol’s removal was loudly criticised. At closer look, it’s only logical to ask whether Maaparankoe Mahao died for a just cause; was he a political pawn?

The second one was the unprocedural removal of Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara. The constitution is clear on the procedure to be followed in removing a judge. It was not followed but Thabane’s cheerleaders cheered on. CJ Majara was replaced with Acting Chief Justice Maseforo Mahase who has revealed her true colours.

The third revolved around the wool and mohair debacle. These are just three of such instances which show how politically naive many in Lesotho are. These are people who have not yet grasped the essence and rationale of elective politics.

Though now hated by his former cheerleaders, Thomas Thabane’s brand of politics and their appeal have revealed to anyone who cared to see that politically, Lesotho has more idiots than independent thinkers. This is a cold truth. NW

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