It pains to realise that the current Government of Lesotho is only 14 months on, but there has been so much drama in the entire nation, and in particular the wool and mohair industry as if the parliamentary session is four years old, and just about to go for polls next year. When the State Entities are captured does it mean the Government’s time has lapsed? Is a question at the forefront of any political analysts and citizens’ mind. One would expect corrupt politicians to be defending corruption and taking others hostage to defend themselves or face the axe from a cabinet position.
All this, the world witnessed in South Africa under the leadership of a close friend of Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, and it seems Lesotho is going to go through the same circle that South Africa went through a couple of months ago.
The spirit in the wool and mohair industry is that the current Minister of Agriculture and Food Security Hon. Mahala Molapo and his Principal Secretary Malefetsane Nchaka are “not part of the mess / controversy founded in the Legal Notice No: 37 of 2018 titled Wool and Mohair Regulations” but unfortunately both have to comply or face the axe from their positions, close sources to the two reveal! One way of speculating or supporting this hypothesis is that the Chairman of the Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers Association (LNWMGA) Mokoenehi Thinyane has been reported to have been meeting Minister Mahala a couple of times before and after meeting with what had been named the Cabinet Task Committee on Wool and Mohair. Grapevine also reveal that the other members of this task force had complained to Mahala that Thinyane seems to be co-operative to him but not the other members of cabinet, as several times Thinyane refused to meet such ministers but constantly meets with Mahala.
Mahala’s apparent position and personal character, of being a very humble and down to earth leader, is perceived to be compromised by his obvious party loyalty and not at being at the mercy of a cabinet position (as he is personally financially strong) and had apparently accumulated his wealth through proper and much organised farming systems in his home village of Sebothoane in Leribe district.Similarly, Nchaka, whose political strength is perceived to emanate from strong personal principles, was once tested while a trade union leader at Limkowkwing University of Creative Technology. Close sources also reveal that this energetic young Principal Secretary, who makes extremely high combustion with Mahala, in an atomic engine of “4 plus 1” government to take Lesotho to the zero hunger targets, is also frustrated with the current legislation which seems to have been done to protect certain individuals who are captured by the so-called ‘John and Stone’ of the Chinese State Capture Empire.
Getting to the Wool and Mohair Promotion Project (WAMPP) which is predominantly financed by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), there have been complaints about both Mahala and Nchaka, in that they are failing to control the Prime Minister Thabane’s son in law Lebohang Hlaele who is also the Minister of Law Constitutional Affairs and Human Rights. Hlaele is married to the Prime Minister’s daughter Advocate Nkoya Thabane. According to one of the LNWMGA Executive Member Teboho Leleka, Hlaele insists a Wool Shed to be built in his home constituency of Maphutseng in the Mohales’ Hoek district, yet that move does not fall under the project area.
Leleka further explains that there was a set criteria set on where to erect wool sheds, and according to the project mandate and budget, wool sheds are supposed to be erected where they are needed most. Very internal sources divulge that both Mahala and Nchaka had been unable to effectively advise Hlaele otherwise, as the so called ‘Son in Law Minister’ was putting pressure to erect the wool shed in his home ground, for his political mileage not the benefit of WAMPP or IFAD or LNWMGA objectives and will. To the apparent strength of LNWMGA, the apparent ministerial interference did not prevail.On this note, IFAD would remember that during the crafting of the WAMPP concept, the retired Growers’ Association CEO Lefu Lehloba advised IFAD that the success of the project, and speedy results could only be realised if the project is controlled and directed by LNWMGA and not the Government of Lesotho and civil service, but IFAD negotiating team did not share the view of Lehloba, who understood the experience and culture within the Lesotho civil service. It is that decision of IFAD that resulted in the crippling delay of the project that Lesotho needed decades ago.
It should be noted that what Hlaele is doing now in relation to both Mahala and Nchaka’s is not different from what the Former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing did to the Former Agriculture and Food Security Minister ‘Mapalesa Mothokho. It is well known in Lesotho that incoming governments seeks existing projects and or opportunities to ‘repay/reward’ their supports.
A case in point: According to previous interviews with the Chairman of LNWMGA Thinyane, who was also a Member of Parliament at the time, Mothokho in reply to Thinyane’s request of not putting WAMPP into a political mess by appointing Apesi, Mothokho’s response was that Metsing ordered her to approve Apesi to get the Project Director position over Dr. Puleng Matebesi, as both Thinyane and Mothokho were also Parliamentarians by virtue of the same political authority -Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), therefore Apesi must get a job as well so that he earns an income equivalent to his contributions in the party, just like them.
The Silo readers and IFAD shall remember that it was through The Silo’s whistle blowing that IFAD did not issue ‘a no objection document’ to approve Apesi and the position was re-advertised and fresh interviews were held and Apesi was out of the picture.
All, including the reader, should also be in a position to interpret, extrapolate or analyse to the conclusion that the Government of Lesotho process of establishing/appointing the human resources was so slow, leading to a launch after one year, what a pain and shame.
May be it is very important to take serious notes here. Readers will recall that the IFAD mission came into Lehloba’s office while winding up some of the projects in Lesotho, about six or seven years ago.
Their objective was to get information from LNWMGA, why all its associations are organised and perform by far better than other Basotho agricultural associations in the Southern parts of Lesotho. Lehloba responds to the IFAD lady loss, and the mission gets satisfied, when the lady boss is about to leave Lehloba’s office. Lehloba asks a question: “But why is it that IFAD comes to Lesotho with project models developed elsewhere, and does not get to tailor-make projects addressing Lesotho’s challenges such as the ones I have just tabulated to you?”
According to our previous interviews with Lehloba, the lady boss sat down, smiled and said, “I will think about it.” Two weeks later IFAD mission was sent on a fact-finding mission, and a feasibility study and project appraisal was then made.
May be it is high time that IFAD also should realise that, the same way they designed the WAMPP project to meet specific challenges of the small-stock farmers, they should realise that their policy of delivering such projects only using a government as an implementing vehicle, is not working in the Mountain Kingdom, regardless of the regime.
Message of solidarity
# Legal Notice No.37 of 2018 must fall!