OP-EDs

OP-ED: ‘UNITY’ OF ABC VS DIVISION OF CONGRESS PARTIES

By Nkopane Mathibeli
For a moment, the flickering but almost lifeless flame of hope that the All Basotho Convention (ABC) would get its house in order seemed to have stopped its lifeless flicks and promised to be a fiery flame signifying life.

This was after High Court judgement handed down by Judge Sakoane “ended” the tug-of-war between ABC’s old and incoming National Executive Committees.
However, in a boldly contemptuous move expelling members of the incoming NEC through letters, the leader of the party has pulled the carpet beneath the feet of this NEC.

Will the ABC be united after this? Will it be able to focus on organisational unity?
Whatever happens, this is what seems best for it because courtesy of the rugged terrain it has to negotiate particularly because of the wool and mohair saga whose victims attribute it not to the government or any other party in the current coalition government but the ABC, it needs more than a miracle to stay a viable alternative in Lesotho’s elective politics.

This is particularly so because its closest rival, the Democratic Congress (DC) definitely hit the ground running after the successful, trouble free election of its new NEC.
Courtesy of its almost everyday visits/rally holding sessions, especially in the rural constituencies where most victims of the amateurishly handled, poverty creating wool and mohair saga reside, there is no doubt that the ABC’s hopes of making inroads in rural constituencies has fizzled out.

All the progress it previously made has been invalidated and irrevocably so thanks to the Lesotho Wool Centre spokesperson’s poor and relentless attempt to defend the indefensible which went hand in hand with the senseless denialism of Phori particularly relating to the appeal sought and acquired regarding the validation of the wool and mohair regulations.

But was that necessary when already the aftermath of the regulations is almost fit to be classified as a crime against humanity? Well, that is for him to answer.
In the midst of what seems to be the dwindling political fortunes of the ABC and the rising ones of the DC which obviously go together with those of the Mothetjoa Metsing led Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), a huge crack just showed up between Metsing’s LCD and Mokhothu’s DC.

Before I even talk about this crack, it may be important that I say something about the rising political fortunes of Metsing’s LCD. Which fortunes may these be; will the LCD even ever rise? I’ll be brief and precise here but will intentionally not touch on its political prospects.
That would require exclusive attention and space does not permit here.

The LCD’s political fortunes began dipping the moment the Democratic Congress emerged from it in 2012 but went further down during and after its tumultuous coalition with the ABC and Basotho National Party (BNP).
At the forefront of the decline of its political fortunes (LCD), besides its alleged manipulation of the army for political ends, is what was later proven by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to be a lie, that its leader appropriated for himself M53 million.

In essence, the rise in the LCD’s political fortunes, as slight as it may be, happened simultaneously with the fall of ABC’s fortunes. Somehow, the PAC’s revelation in conjunction with the ABC’s dismal service delivery record, alleged involvement of its deployees in corruption and the total reneging on its election promises inspired a new perception among its followers that just like all other parties, it thrives on lies.

Through its spokesperson and other members, the LCD added fuel to this fire and in the process, reawakening many of its then disillusioned followers.
Now in summary, let us look at the crack among congress parties in parliament and whether it has positive implications for the ABC.

For a start, by virtue of having contested the 2017 elections with pacts, the DC and LCD technically entered parliament as partners.
The fact that LCD claims not to have been privy of the issues around the mulled but failed motion of no confidence against PM Thabane, to which the DC was party, is more than enough evidence that these parties have broken ranks.

This was an obvious miscalculation which inevitably connotes political immaturity more than anything else. With the government already troubled, the best that these two and the rest of the congress parties in parliament could have done was to close ranks more than ever.

Now, with ABC unity obviously postponed sine die (so to speak), should we expect its electoral supremacy going forward especially given that congress parties in parliament seem to have peed in their own well? Absolutely not.

On the other hand, the division of congress parties in Parliament does not take anything away from the progress made by the DC in rural constituencies.

Given the depth of ABC’s current mishaps, there is still a very healthy possibility that in case these congress parties, particularly LCD and DC, go to the elections in their individual capacities, the DC will definitely give ABC a terrible lashing. NW

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