Response to Rapelang Mosae’s open letter


Ntate Rapelang Mokotsolane Mosae- Your very articulate “Open Letter” to the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Lesotho, published in the Public Eye Newspaper of the 2nd February 2024, was a read-worthy masterpiece which to me easily accentuated your incredible linguistic aptitude and thinking that warrant strong commendation coupled with analytical follow up rather than a churlish confutation.

I am inspired to make it reach maximum readership because there is something I couldn’t possibly put my finger on; whether it is its honest undertones or the valuable content itself, it aroused my interest hence I proffer my two cents worth.

You were quite upfront as you cut to the chase, rebutting the presentation of His Excellency Ambassador Lei Kezhong of President Xi Jinping’s vision of “Community of the shared future for mankind”, you, purportedly, juxtaposed it against what you dubbed conduct of “Chinese in Lesotho”.

If the discourse is about a fair request for knowledge and information about certain ideas, beliefs and culture attributed to a particular nation state, diplomatic missions of such countries should invariably be well positioned to respond and assist both professionally and suitably; but in the event that the exercise is a biased and prejudicial polemics, all reasonable people everywhere will regard such with the contempt it deserves. Bigotry should not be glorified by any sort of response whatsoever.

Indeed the head of a diplomatic mission in any country whether it’s the High Commissioners in some jurisdictions or Ambassadors in others; stand for and represent everything that symbolizes their country and her people. They are bonafide representatives of their sovereign. They must exude the self-determination of their nations and states with their aura and statesmanship. They are permanent envoys of their countries who must protect the image of their countries as well as popularize and defend values, visions, policies, culture and heritage of their countries.

Ntate Rapelang Mokotsolane Mosae the court of public opinion is very powerful and should not be undermined for it debases public faith and sows seeds of division and discord in societies where it is prevalent. If an author writes opinions that are not based on facts or empirical evidence, it is elegant and civilized to “indicate so” rather than hurl dangerous ideas bordering on vituperative slander

Sir, when driven by rational thinking, we cannot pin the actions of each and every expatriate on foreign land on the mother country nor can we claim that their actions are a reflection of values upheld by their nations. In a similar vein, we can only hope that civilized people in polite company everywhere will never be driven by irrational fears to the extent that they paint all peoples of certain descent with the same broad brush.

Hans Rosling, in his book called Factfulness, contends that our propensity and proximity to sensationalism and overdramatic misconceptions is the reason why, according to his study, the majority of people were found to be veering too far from a fact-based worldview and the truth has become an endangered commodity.

Ntate Mosae, in one of your opening paragraphs you make a “huge” claim “to speak on behalf of scores of Basotho”, before I could even unbundle your statement let me share what Hans Rosling says in his book “what we should try to do is avoid generalizing incorrectly” he also advises that we should “Look for differences across groups. Do not assume that what applies for one group (or individual), applies for another.”

I would like to share some methodologies from Rosling book “Factfulness” particularly juxtaposing them with your “open letter”. Factfulness is –recognizing when a story talks about a gap, and remembering that this paints a picture of two separate groups, with a gap in between. The reality is often not polarized at all. Usually the majority is right there in the middle, where the gap is (purportedly) supposed to be.

To control the gap instinct, look for the majority.

  • Beware comparison of averages. If you could find the spread you would probably find they overlap. There is probably no gap at all
  • Beware comparisons of Extremes. In all groups, of countries or people, there are some at the top and the bottom. The difference is sometimes extremely unfair. But even then the majority is usually somewhere in between, right where the gap is (purportedly) supposed to be.

He goes further to say: Factfulness is-recognizing when a scapegoat is being used and remembering that blaming an individual often steals the focus from other possible explanations and blocks our ability to prevent similar problems in the future. To control the blame instinct, resist finding a scapegoat.

  • Look for causes, not villains. When something goes wrong don’t look for an individual or a group to blame. Accept that bad things can happen without anyone intending them to. Instead spend your energy on understanding the multiple interacting causes, or system that created the situation.

From these examples and methodologies shared by Hans Rosling, it is self-evident that truth matters fundamentally as the source of just, free, fair, transparent, moral and virtuous life. Fact-based living is the best choice one can make in life because one is guided by the right tools to map the correct path and empirical evidence to ensure the right decision making. Opinions are just but opinions. Unfortunately facts are universal and no one holds the monopoly of the truth.

One of Thomas Sowell’s gifts to mankind is his cogency when unpacking the value and cruciality of the truth to life. In one of his books he makes the case that “When you want to help the people, you tell the truth but if you want to help yourself, you tell them what they want to hear”.

Students of Strategy and avid followers of Robert Green call it self-directed warfare, students of Psychology call it self-evaluation and looking in the mirror while Catholics are taught a prayer of confession called Mea culpa, simply translated “it was my fault” but whatever one prefers to call it, it is vitally important to be brutally honest to one’s self.

The inability to look at oneself in the mirror, being unable to confront inner-truths, is how society has become a group of unrealistic liars. Shifting the blame and passing the buck has been the “mother” of all vices and failures.

Ntate Mosae, where you made mention of kickbacks and inflating prices at Ramarothole Solar farm, you mention the Chinese company commissioned to deliver a solar electricity potent farm without giving a valid reason why any suspicion of “underhanded dealings” should be leveled against them because, according to the experiences we already have, bribery becomes rampant at the tender process level while your insinuation suggests it happened at the tail end.

I deem it proper to recount for your recollection the well-known court case of REX (Lesotho government) Versus Masopha Ephraim Sole and others. We have to remind ourselves that if we cannot be brutally honest to ourselves we will perish because we have travelled this path before and we have successfully confronted our demons and exorcised them successfully to the extent that the world held Lesotho in very high acclaim once upon a time.

In the above mentioned court case, Acting Justice Brendan Cullinan Passed judgment and said “What of the perception of international investors who were or might be attracted to Lesotho? Will their confidence in investment be unaffected by the knowledge that undoubtedly one of the highest paid officials in Lesotho has been involved in corruption on a vast scale, extending over a period of nine years? Who can predict or measure the damage involved? Who can gauge the insidious flow of the poison of corruption?”  

The Lesotho government having initially arraigned 19 legal persons (private persons and companies), three of these were found guilty of being involved in corruption and were sentenced to varying fines and some were debarred. The prosecution of Mr Sole unearthed a nest of corruption involving up to 19 construction firms, members of various consortia involved in construction work on the LHWP.

• Acres International (Canadian) fined M15 million,

 • Lahmeyer Consulting Engineers (German) fined M12 million;

• Spie Batignolles (French) fined M10 million

There is no greater surety for the return on investment than preservation and protection of your hard earned gains and progress.

We demonstrated by courageous deeds and bold action decades ago that multinational corporations could not intimidate our justice system. Rich companies from rich first world countries were charged and convicted, some were debarred.

When all the convictions and debarring of multinational corporations were secured, I have never witnessed and I can safely say, there has never been an attempt to shame and debase the countries from whom the companies came from by indirectly or directly impugning their standing in the league of nations or in local or international media to say their countries are inherently corrupt because those companies were convicted for corruption.

Civilized minds and rational people then understood as they still do today that the Canadian government, the German government and the French government did not instruct and or advised Acres International (Canadian), Lahmeyer Consulting Engineers (German) Spie Batignolles respectively to act venally as the court evidence corroborated against them and the sentencing ensued. About twelve multinational corporations listed above hail from and span almost all the major European countries.

Today we have regressed horribly and our fiscus is hanging precariously as a nation; the Fraser solar saga is a specter that haunts The Mountain Kingdom “Maseru, Jan. 13 — The South African High Court has on Friday dealt a major blow to the Government of Lesotho (GOL) by throwing out its case to overturn Frazer Solar’s arbitration award. The government of Lesotho has lost to Frazer Solar and the South African Ministry of Justice thus the former has failed on every argument raised. 

The Judge has dismissed the case and ordered the government of Lesotho to pay costs to Frazer Solar and the South African Ministry of Justice.  The value of Frazer Solar’s claim including interest and costs is estimated to be €58 million (US $64 million or M1.2 billion).

In the final analysis and when adding the sum of all equals instead of shifting the blame and passing the buck to the nationals of other countries who are on our shores to chase and pursue their interests, the question is why have we regressed from the best practices of prosecuting the wrong doing and securing convictions in an open, free and just court like the matters of LHDA and Mr Masopha Sole?

Why are we mired in Fraser Solar morass today, putting our posterity in great dilemma when we know what we know as a country? Let’s be brutally honest with ourselves, own up and take charge.

Ntate Mosae, methinks a critical thinker would surely sniff a stench of bigotry or xenophobia of sorts in your report if you do not acknowledge how positively impactful the “Chinese” project is, at bare minimum. You should have put on record that the Mpiti/Sehlaba-Thebe project will enhance the quality of life of people in various ways which include, inter alia, that it will reduce travel times, improve access to essential services, and promote economic development but, alas, this was not the centre of your argument.  

Even though it was an oddly short paragraph compared with other 100 longer paragraphs of negative accounts, your information source, the Africa-China Reporting Project at least appreciated that “When complete, the 7-meter-wide double-lane road is expected to boost business in the Tsoelike constituency, shortening the driving time from Mpiti to Sehlabathebe from 4 hours to about 1.5 hours. The project is said to have created employment for at least 500 Basotho.”,

Learned and civilized people know that however critical or negative you may view a “subject” you must also be fair enough to concede the strengths of the “subject”. Similarly, no matter how fond you are of the “subject” you must at least be fair enough to point out the systemic weaknesses.

Ntate Mosae, you as a Mosotho, I don’t know how you couldn’t pick up glaring red flags that indicated that Africa-China Reporting Project is a proxy by propaganda mercenaries of Ford Foundation, an American organization founded in 1936, a self-confessed China obsessed organization that brazenly professes to police all China interests in Africa.

On the official website of Ford Foundation, they posit that The gravest “Challenge” is that “China is the world’s largest provider of development finance—one quarter of all global bank lending to emerging markets comes from Chinese financial institutions, easily surpassing the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank.” While Africa and the rest of the world think it’s a blessing for China to be so endowed, Ford Foundation, for reasons known to themselves, think it is a curse.    

AUDACIOUSLY on their official website the Ford Foundation also says on the self same website, that the foundation says it endeavors to “Build the Global South’s understanding of China. We support institutions and networks in countries in the Global South to engage with China from positions of greater knowledge, leading to positive, more just outcomes for their people. With this knowledge, these organizations, supported by our BUILD initiative, can bring a unique Global South perspective to China’s rise” what is the American foundation’s interest in bilaterals of China and African Countries.

 “China will adopt international best practices. Chinese policy makers, companies, and development finance institutions will adopt policies aligned with internationally accepted standards and work with a higher level of transparency, leading to practices that are more socially and environmentally sustainable, and beneficial to local communities. There will also be better data about the nature and scope of Chinese development finance in the Global South to inform international discourse.”

Just appallingly mindboggling bigotry, Ford Foundation arrogates all this high and mighty powers to massage its greedy ego and superiority self-aggrandizement.

Ntate Mosae, you should have easily calculated that the foundation recruits propaganda mercenaries against China and African states under the smokescreen of “Investing in key journalists”. The Ford Foundation’s “China Office and the Office of Southern Africa jointly made a grant to the Africa-China Reporting Project at the University of Witwatersrand, which trained more than 40 African and Chinese journalists to conduct investigative journalism projects highlighting the complexity and nuance of China’s evolving role in the region. Our aim was to cultivate a cohort of journalists who write objectively and counter overly simplified narratives about China’s impact on Africa, including critical issues such as the Belt and Road Initiative, industrialization, and digital technology. These investigations, many written by female and community-based journalists, have been published in Arabic, Chinese, English, and French. As a result, the complexity of China’s role in the region is understood more clearly”. And voila there you have it!!

Give them flowers while they can still smell them.

Universality of the truth is unchallengeable. Many countries have expressed gratitude in one form or the other to the People’s Republic of China for the generosity of spirit and for lending a hand of assistance either in time of great need or for their crucial national projects. Multilateral organizations have also showered the People’s Republic of China with accolades for China’s participation in alleviating poverty and other social ills in the world.

The Prime Minister of Lesotho Speech at Ramarothole Solar Station

The Prime Minister also expressed his gratitude to the Government of China for supporting the project for the benefit of Basotho, saying this further strengthens the bilateral relations between the two countries. He urged members of the community in the area together with the local authorities to protect the project as they are primary beneficiaries of the project.”

Xi Jinping Exchanges Messages of Congratulations with Lesotho’s King Letsie III on the 30th Anniversary of the Resumption of Diplomatic Relations between China and Lesotho  Li Qiang Exchanges Messages of Congratulations with Lesotho’s Prime Minister Ntsokoane Samuel Matekane

2024-01-12 20:48

President Xi said that he attaches great importance to the development of China-Lesotho relations and is ready to work with King Letsie III to take the 30th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations as a new starting point to further upgrade bilateral relations, expand practical cooperation areas, and achieve greater development of China-Lesotho friendly cooperative relations.

Letsie III said that both Lesotho and China have achieved leapfrog development over the past 30 years. The two countries have established solid diplomatic relations based on peaceful coexistence, mutual respect and mutual benefits, significantly increasing the well-being of the two peoples.

Helping 800 Million People Escape Poverty Was Greatest Such Effort in History, Says Secretary-General, on Seventieth Anniversary of China’s Founding6 SEPTEMBER 2019

Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks at the exhibition on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, in New York today:

It is a pleasure to be with you to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.  I congratulate the people and Government of China on your impressive achievements over the past seven decades.

Every time I visit China, I am stunned by the speed of change and progress.  You have created one of the most dynamic economies in the world, while helping more than 800 million people to lift themselves out of poverty — the greatest anti-poverty achievement in history. 

Indigenous Businesses

Ntate Mosae, the mentioning of the years that predate 2013 does not serve justice to Excellency’s Lei Kezhong presentation and promotion of President Xi Jinping’s vision because President Xi only became President and Head of State from 2013.

The other issue to consider is in the year 2020; the Parliament contemplated, debated and enacted remedial statutes that sought to reserve 47 business sectors for “indigenous” Basotho. The matter you raised about Chinese running out Basotho businesses is for all intents and purposes overtaken by developments, events and statutes, what remains the task at hand is operationalization of laws as promulgated.

Ntate Mosae, my personal lamentation about your opinion is the fact that the sectors you have mentioned where you suggested that the Chinese are elbowing out Basotho are not particularly predominantly Chinese, that Pakistanis, Indians, North East African nationals like Somalis, Ethiopians and Eritreans and other Asians like Bangladeshi are also quite a large group hence my suspicion that you have a deep bigoted hatred for the Chinese people otherwise known as sinophobia.

Wool and Mohair

Ntate Mosae there are a lot of moving parts in the cited stories as they relate to the narrative you presented vis-à-vis the veracity of what transpired truthfully and what continues to happen. For instance, in the wool and mohair impasse the obfuscation is still pervasive that it has ostensibly become impossible to distinguish and sift facts from fiction.

Ntate Mosae there is a Lesotho special delegation that went to China to source development partners of the wool and mohair development project. The expedition was successful and the investor was secured and allowed by all and sundry to start operations in Lesotho. Whatever happened that muddied the waters was a Lesotho internal strife and power wrangling; but, as usual, we passed the buck and shifted the blame.

A case in point to demonstrate that the plot keeps thickening is the recent lawsuit lodged by the Lesotho National Wool and Mohair Growers Association (LNWMGA) against Lesotho Volleyball Association (LVA). Grapevine has it that the LVA had a lofty task of hosting the games called regional zone 6 club games in December last year 2023, and as reality would have it, Lesotho had no arenas or stadia for holding such a prestigious and huge sporting competition.

We are told that the leadership of LVA approached the Chinese businessman Stone Shi and beseeched him to release the Thaba-Bosiu wool and mohair facility temporarily to LVA to host the tourney.

No sooner had the businessman agreed to release the facility temporarily to LVA for the holding of Zone 6 games than Wool and Mohair growers association (LNWMGA) interdicted the LVA, (supposedly), saying LVA was using the facility without the consent of the rightful authority (owners), being LNWMGA. Those who have followed all narratives were dumbfounded by this lawsuit because they thought it was a quintessential hypocrisy, hypocrisy of the highest order.   LNWMGA had publicly disassociated itself with the Thaba-Bosiu facility for the longest time until this very year 2024.

From Young Basotho Professional Forum

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