“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Ezekiel 36: 26-27 (NIV)
We have a reasonably sane Constitution of Lesotho 1993, we have laws governing every aspect of our socio-economic affairs and, every now and again, as we open up new frontiers, Parliament considers modern pieces of legislation such as the Computer Crime and Security Bill 2023. We have documents such as the National Vision 2020 and the National Strategic Development Plan I and II. The NSDPs were preceded by the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and the Interim National Development Framework (INDF). In the preface to NSDP I, it is stated that it would, like the PRSP and the INDF, serve as an implementation strategy for the National Vision 2020. The internet is awash with this and that developmental document pertaining to Lesotho and its fortunes. Good intentions. Well meaning. But look at this country in 2024. Four years after which the National Vision 2020 was supposed to have achieved its lofty ambitions for our beloved country. But the beloved country is crying in 2024; there is nothing to celebrate in the public sphere. Apart from policies and legal frameworks, we also have all manner of public institutions which derive their mandate from said laws. It is safe to say that most of our public institutions have been gutted by our destructive partisan political wars which know no bounds and are without principle or credible ideological foundations. Indeed, this society is a mirror into our soul as a Nation.
All this that we see unfolding before us is proof positive that there is a significant missing link that consistently characterizes our developmental efforts. I have taken to referring to Lesotho as Lesotho Inc. A country which must, for the large part, be run like a corporation in order to yield value for Basotho like any successful corporation would do for its shareholders.
So, what is the missing link in our developmental conceptualisation and initiatives? The building block of society: the person, the human being. We are neglecting holistic personal development at our peril. In some of these instruments, if this aspect is mentioned at all, it is more in the vein of, “oh, and by the way” and yet, I am of the firm view that holistic personal development should be central to our developmental policies and laws as a Nation. A firm and coherent spiritual foundation must permeate every single legal instrument of this country starting with the Constitution. Not only should such a firm and coherent spiritual foundation permeate all our laws and policies, but we must live it. I am not talking about religion; we do that like clockwork every weekend and yet, here we are. Furthermore, we need to focus our attention on getting rid of this poverty mentality that dominates most of our socio-economic interactions. As a result of this poverty mentality, we fight tooth and nail for government tenders, we hire hitmen to get rid of our competitors on shortlists for corporate jobs, we cheat each other routinely on so-called collaborations (fairness and principle are always casualties of these ingrained practices), mistrust reigns and there is the ever-present expectation that our collaborator will “short” us and, indeed, said collaborator always fulfils that prophecy because that is who we have chosen to become as a people.
The National Vision 2020 is a beautiful, inspiring, document whose core was developed mainly in 2001. That is 23 years of workshops, seminars, public broadcasts and other marketing activities, symposia, trips around the world for government Ministers, MPs, Principal Secretaries, Directors, and other senior government officials, but the results, are, to say the least, underwhelming. Why? Because we as a people have lost our core. Our values are questionable, our spirits and souls are hollow, we are a country that is in need of what I call a Person and People Transformation Revolution. We need to pause on the discredited “Reforms” and have THIS conversation. What happened to us as a people? It starts with this basic question. A question I see us Basotho assiduously avoiding answering. Instead we are planning carnivals celebrating hollowness.
Mothepa Ndumo writes in her personal capacity.
Adv Ndumo is a Legal Academic at the National University of Lesotho, a Pension Law Scholar in the Faculty of Law registered for a PhD focusing on the domestic investment of pension funds, a Thomas Psychometrics Practitioner, an Industrial Sociologist and Certified Executive and Leadership Coach. She is an Alum of the National University of Lesotho, the University of Cape Town and the University of Namibia. Advocate Ndumo is the Founder & CEO of the Tataiso-Bhotani Group which has interests in corporate training, accredited coaching and mentorship and film, tv series and talk shows and publishing across multimedia platforms. Her passions are Lesotho, Afrika, indigenous systems of governance, history, young people and she is a lover of animals and of The Creator.