By NKOPANE MOTHIBELI
The spectacle created by the showdown between the ABC’s NEC and its Koro Koro constituency committee over Nqosa Mahao’s candidature for the deputy leadership of the party wasn’t just an intra-party issue.
More importantly, it sheds very useful light through which one can make a much more accurate inference regarding the impotence of political leadership in Lesotho in the face of the national challenges the electorate actually elects it to solve.
I personally do not know Mahao’s political virtues and I believe most people don’t because it’s his first time, not only to publicly express interest in active party politics, but to actually run for political office.
But given that he is a professor of law, it is only logical that some see him as a player that can contribute significantly not only to the political fortunes of the party but also contribute positively to Lesotho’s political landscape as a whole.
This seems to be their standpoint and what for them legitimises their perspective is his successful challenge of the so-called controversial clause 10 of the SADC brokered reforms agreement.
I say so-called because there was absolutely no controversy in that clause. After all, it did not say that pending criminal cases will be struck off the roll.
It explicitly stated that the prosecution of such cases would be temporarily suspended to allow the reform process to proceed. Importantly, given the pronouncements of the SADC Treaty, particularly two that appear under article 6:
1. In part says . . . member states shall refrain from taking any measures likely to jeopardise the sustenance of it’s principles, the implementation of it’s objectives… and
6. Member states shall co-operate with and assist institutions of SADC in the performance of their duties.
There is absolutely no doubt then that inasmuch as the court ruled that clause 10 is illegal – and credit must be given to the court here for purely basing its judgement on the law as it stands – the victory was hollow because, in continuing with prosecutions, our government would inevitably put itself on a collision course with the SADC.
This notwithstanding, the victory indeed added a feather on Mahao’s shoulder and his potential virtue regarding issues that pertain to legalities has been embedded in the minds and hearts of those who stand behind him.
But given the intensity with which significant players within his political party of choice were hell-bent on rejecting him to the extent of almost successfully pushing him out of not only the deputy leadership contest but the party itself, it becomes very easy to connect the dots.
Now, how does this issue shed light on the impotence of Lesotho’s political parties which essentially end up being mere extensions of their leaders?
Well, this does not only apply to political parties but generally (from a psychological perspective) people and in particular, domineering and generally insecure people not willing to compromise mainly because they are convinced of their monopoly of knowledge.
Such people usually prefer to surround themselves with those who know less and are therefore less likely to present an opposing opinion.
Freethinkers are usually demonised to the detriment of anything progressive.
Is Mahao such a freethinker? Is he going to threaten Thabane’s power and charisma in the ABC?
Inasmuch as we can only argue tentatively about these, given Mahao’s knowledge base, it is highly likely that he would refuse to be a yes-men.
This ABC episode will likely give a hint to the question most people have always had about how people qualify to be on slates leading to party leadership election conferences and which factors determine which slates emerge victorious from these conferences.
It looks highly probable that one has to be a yes-man to progress in Lesotho’s party politics and this probably explains why most of our prominent politicians usually come across as lacking the requisite substance to reverse the effects of underdevelopment in Lesotho.
What then is the implication of this?
It is that as long as constituency committees accept bribes or whatever it is that convinces them to elect shallow/empty yes-men or bootlickers to the NECs of political parties, such parties will win elections only to form governments that are not useful to the needs of the people of Lesotho. NW