By Theko Tlebere
Its only fourteen days into the new year and we are already in another total lockdown. A lot of people have mixed feelings about these decisions hence I was triggered by such to underpin some of the underlying factors on lockdown for us as a country. The potency in Prime Minister(PM) Majoro’s speech on Tuesday the 12th January left many of us in disarray as we were hardly convinced by the decisions that his government made. For us to be able to make a comprehensive and non-elusive analysis on the issue of this particular lockdown I felt there was a need to look closely at what does this lockdown mean to us as a country, and as individuals from different sectors of life. Therefore as I inaugurate the new year I will be dwelling on key sectors that are instrumental in making us understand the goods and the bad of this particular lockdown. The sectors are not limited agriculture, education, immigration and unemployment rate.
I have said it before that the plethora of Covid-19 in Lesotho is one phenomenon that must be approached with due diligence, because of its high amenities as we have witnessed in many western countries. First of all I should indicate that as of today Lesotho is on the red colour code, which is literally level five(5). The indictment of having people very close to us, people we know dying in numbers have left many of Basotho with a strong feeling that a lock down needs to be imposed. And indeed even the nursing associations alluded to the same detriment hence we are here today. I personally don’t believe that PM and his cabinet took the decision to put us on a total lock down because he deliberately copied South Africa’s president, but I would rather we focus on our own problems as a country so that we are able to realise the reality that will hit us in the next fourteen (14) days and onwards.
But the issue would be with eighty five deaths, was the PM justified to impose the total lockdown? Or rather can we say with the number of infections and the infection rate, there was sound reason for lockdown? At this point I should indicate that it doesn’t matter how me and you feel, but what’s essential is making sure that we are all sound and safe. If we endured lockdown while we had zero positive covid cases in Lesotho what more now when we have five thousand nine hundred and thirty seven (5937) positive cases. The notion that I will tip on just a bit and leave it as is, is that with this number of cases Lesotho is on level five(5) while SA is on level three yet they have more than a million cases. Allow me to say, it doesn’t matter to me how often the PM can lock us into our homes so long he has a plan on how he is going to rescue the agricultural sector, education sector, immigration and the already sky rocketing unemployment rate for youth during and after the lockdown.
First let us have a microscopic view of what this lockdown means for our education sector. The most intriguing part about this lockdown announcement is that it comes just days after the minister of education announced the final exams of external classes in February. What baffles me is the fact that the ministry is adamant that exams will be written starting the 1st of February yet two weeks before such huge exams that entail future of our young people we impose a total lockdown. When I close my eyes all I can see is dismay in the performance of form Cs and Es because first they did not attend school for most of last year, and two, they will not have an Intel opportunity to revise and prepare for their exams because their country has decided on a total lockdown. I personally felt with the statistics sky rocketing then the exams should have been put on hold until when there is enough time for teachers and students to be fully equipped and ready for the exams. Therefore I can conclude that what this lockdown means for our education sector is ‘failure’.
There is this other issue of people who need to go back to SA for various reasons who will be directly or indirectly affected by the lockdown. I will not dwell much into the animosity of who brought them to Lesotho and who should assist them back into SA, but what I find essential is the fact that with the current lockdown it means Lesotho shall have more people added to its roll of unemployment rate. The hillary that is going to befall us as a country is that as our positivity rate is rising we shall also be having a chunk of unemployed cadres who will be staffing inside their homes without jobs and food. I was hoping my dearest PM would have said something about how such a situation will be plummeted but alas, he focused on closing the borders and alleviating the super spreader and forgot about what will happen tomorrow.
I want to conclude this series by applauding the government for allowing the agricultural business to continue. I hope all elements involved in this sector will adhere to the Covid-19 regulations because I don’t really want to hear a story of hoeing parties becoming super spreaders. The reason I am saying this is because those people who have been denied to go to SA will definitely resort to going into the fields because largely that’s what we do at this time of the year in the villages. We shall stop here for now. The future is Now!