We align ourselves with the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL)’s admonition to the authorities not to plunge this country into chaos in their self-serving power struggles.
As the CCL says in a story published elsewhere in this edition, this not the time for the politicians to be fighting each other for power but to be uniting to fight the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Not that there is ever a good time for destabilising power struggles, but these are unprecedented, cataclysmic times when the entire world is facing an existential crisis in the form of the COVID-19 pandemic which threatens to wipe mankind off the face of the earth.
More than 2, 3 million people had been infected by the virus and close to 157 000 deaths had been recorded by yesterday.
World economies have ground to a standstill as countries have imposed lockdowns which are keeping the citizenry in their homes even at the risk of running out of food and other necessities. The lockdowns have been imposed in a desperate bid to prevent the spread of the deadly virus whose propensity for human victims is reminiscent of Biblical plagues and other divine punishments that led to the near extinction of the human race.
But in the midst of all this and instead of keeping our eyes firmly on the Armageddonic struggle against the virus, our politicians appear focused on their petty squabbles for power.
Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has since called on the army to deal with any threats to his government. Yesterday there were also scary rumours of the arrest of the Police Commissioner Holomo Molibeli who has been involved in a long-running feud with the premier. This and the heavy military presence on the streets of Maseru yesterday had many ordinary citizens shaking with fear.
Yesterday’s televised speech by the premier is the second such he has made in as many weeks calling upon the security agencies to defend his government against rivals within his own All Basotho Convention (ABC) and other parties bent on toppling his government.
As the fourth estate, ours is not to take sides but to speak truth to power. We appeal to all the political leaders to temporarily set aside their differences to fully focus on the task of implementing policies to save this nation from the threat posed by COVID-19.
Although our beautiful country is yet to record a single infection, it is never-the-less reeling from the impact of the disease which so far seen businesses close and many people losing their jobs. Others will go without salaries this month as some companies cannot pay wages when there has not been any production.
In such perilous times, we expect politicians to forget their differences and give direction to the country. Only when the virus has been conquered can the politicians get back to their petty squabbles if they so wish. And if they want to replace the current coalition, they should do so within the confines of the law as has been the case in the past few years when constitutional provisions have been followed in parliament through no confidence votes to effect a change of government.
This country has suffered too much and for far too long as a result of the never-ending power struggles. The police and army have been at loggerheads and engaged in violent conflict due the politicians’ squabbles. Civilians have been caught up in the crossfire and many people died in the previous conflicts.
It is never a picnic when the military is deployed on the streets and the latest deployment has already caused many to fear the worst.
It is therefore our heartfelt plea to all the politicians not to sacrifice the nation’s peace at the altar of their selfish ambitions.
We also appeal to all of our security agencies not to take advantage of the fact that the world’s attention is on the virus to abuse the rights of citizens. We plead for peace now and always.