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The hydras behind the Solar Fraser saga

By: Theko Tlebere

It doesn’t matter how we may all want to look into the Solar Fraser case which is one of the most talked about topics in Lesotho recently, it shall affect all of us as a nation. It really doesn’t matter who signed the deal or didn’t, but the ramifications will affect all of us Basotho. The complexity of this issue made me realise how essential it is to discuss some issues with the delicacy they deserve, but with the sole aim of educating our young people. So this week I intend to question some of the outstanding issues in this Fraser debacle, by posing some critical questions that may aid in the rationale and the ambivalence in this whole project. I should allude to the fact that after former president of South Africa Jacob Zuma was arrested last night I realised that the hydras behind this Fraser sager in Lesotho can be solved and people can be arrested and jailed.

Allow me to make a small recap how this Fraser guy landed in Lesotho and all the legal implications to this effect. We are told that in November 2017 Fraser Solar made a proposal to officials of the kingdom of Lesotho of its renewable energy project and sought to solicit the interest of the kingdom in the proposals in light of the current renewable energy policy. Thereafter a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed by parties on 21 November 2017. We are further told that the project would be funded through a German export credit loan procured from a German financing institution to the tune of €100 million euros repayable over a period of 10 years. In a nutshell when this project did not follow through Solar Fraser therefore requested  the  South African High Court to aid it in ordering the Kingdom of Lesotho to pay liquidated damages in the sum of €50 000000(fifty million Euros).

Hydra is a persistent or many-sided problem that presents new obstacles as soon as one aspect is solved. Today I will tackle the many-sided problems that come with the Solar Fraser misfortune and the involvement of many politicians in Lesotho. First I want to be sarcastic by commenting the government of Lesotho (GOL) for the formation of an independent commission of enquiry that deal with the issue. The intention sounds noble, with the commission being headed by some three elitist citizens of Lesotho, that no one, even myself have no doubt that they will do their jobs well. The only hydra that I see in this commission is that I don’t see how the formation of the commission will aid the nation from knowing the truth that is different from the truth that we already know.

The first time a learned of a word expunged in my entire life was back in 2016 when the Phumaphi commission report was presented to the GOL and the prime minister then, decided he would expunge some names from the report. The truth of the matter is that constitutionally there was nothing wrong in expunging whatever he felt like in that report, but in the eyes of the public people felt like he was protecting certain cadres or even hiding something. I am bringing up this issue at this stage because I feel like the insurgence of GOL to promptly have a commission of enquiry is meant to protect certain individuals, because most of the names that have come up thus far are elementary cadres from the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) political party.

 I blatantly don’t comprehend why law enforcement agencies in Lesotho cannot perform their duties, and have to wait for a commission of enquiry?  It doesn’t make sense why the Police, the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO) have not instigated investigations without waiting for the instructions of the Executive?  I will never understand why we have to make an enquiry that’s going to cost Lesotho some money to make investigations that people who are already in the government’s payroll can make. The names of people who instigated the project are there in black and white court papers but our executive is turning a blind eye and bringing up a commission that will come at a cost to us as a nation. The rule of law that we preach every day on social media and the rest of the radio stations is what I was expecting the GOL  to execute without fear or favour. It should be clear that I have no doubt that Justice Makara, former Minister Tsekoa and Advocate Malebanye(KC) will do a sterling job but then I am worried that the intention of the government is to ploy and protect its own.

I want to wrap it up by alarmingly condemning the executive again for stopping the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) in its quest to unravel the solar Fraser sager. The reasoning seems to be legally sound, but like I said before, in the public eyes it looks like the Executive is shying away by hiding behind legal connotations to protect them from appearing before the PAC. Stopping the PAC from continuing with the investigations will not deter us the masses from knowing the truth and making our own judgement on the issue. Public opinion is very instrumental in this sager because the way people perceive it, is more like Lesotho was sold for nothing by a certain click of political elites. And for that it doesn’t look like it’s a sin that will be easily forgivable. The future is Now!

GNU hence the title above

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