Giving a nuanced opinion on the Government of National Unity debate could be somehow complex given the different enchantments   assumed by different political and non-political actors. The fact that Lesotho has never had in its history a Government of National Unity (GNU) means for us it’s a new phenomenon, which could be or could not be good for us.

By Theko Tlebere

But then before we dwell deeper unto finding the congruency of GNU as young people of this beautiful Kingdom, we need to think first about what is GNU? Why is GNU one of the hottest debates among the nation today? Who will benefit from this GNU if it ever sees the light of the day?

Where will this GNU take this country if we were to contemplate it through future? And lastly how would this GNU create jobs for young graduates, how will it allow Basotho sell their wool and Mohair at the place of choice, how will it alleviate the extreme poverty that Basotho are facing today?

The reason for today’s article and many others related to this one that will follow is simply to understand whether there is congruency in the communication of Government of National Unity. Even though there are not as many parties which vouch for GNU I felt it’s important to give a lesson to young people on whether leaders communicating GNU are congruent in their communication.

Bottom line is that the congruency issue came from the notion to ascertain whether the message of GNU when spoken to the nation, those words, the facial expressions of those speaking, their body language, and their tone of voice all match up to the message they are trying to deliver?

That way of communication is known to being congruent. I shall inaugurate our arguments by giving conceptual definitions of what is GNU, then I will extrapolate on various reasons for states to engage in GNU governments. Will further evaluate case studies of different states that have had GNUs, the benefits and disadvantages of GNU. I will conclude by giving a personal analysis of why GNU would work and not work for Lesotho.

A simple dictionary definition for GNU is that it is a power-sharing government made up of different and opposing political parties as a strategy for addressing conflict.

Meaning GNU is normally made up of raging factions of political parties in a particular government setup. I liked this definition so much because it actually made me realize the rage among our political parties about who did what and who can do better than who.

And for a second I thought to myself, so could it mean we actually need a GNU in Lesotho? Or we would rather go for elections and seek a new mandate? Will it be a new mandate in true essence? What will change? Will see a new political party or faction emerging as winner in elections therefore there could be a precipitated change?  Well I will leave you the crème late of this country to decide and respond to those questions all will do in this piece is educate.

According to Mapuva (2010: 249) “GNU denotes a system where two political foes come to a consensus to bury the hatchet and work together.” This type of system is mostly applicable in states that have been diverged by political discord. Mapuya (2010:250) further says that GNU yokes people of different ethnicity, clans and political ideologies to work together for the common good of the nation.

Therefore, it is prudent to altruistically attest to Matyaszak (2010:37) when they said GNU can be traversed to be a political tool employed in the vest to suspend hostilities in times of disagreement, thereby bringing about a respite among raging political and non-political actors.

A very important oration is made by Chigora and Guzura (2011: 21) by reitereiting the fact that at a very basic level “GNU is a coalition government, designed specifically to accommodate all participating political players in governmental structures”.

They broaden the scope by including, the civil service, and cabinet, diplomatic posts and so on. The notion implied here is that inclusion of the other key political actors is paramount for in national governance processes in order to diminish the potential for conflict and enhance prospects for national stability, integration and socio-economic development.

It’s a known fact that during the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mediation of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa there was a stage where he recommended GNU to the Lesotho Government, and those in power at the time blatantly refuse.

I am reminded of this incidence when I read Maina’s (2011:2) intuition that GNUs are often a result of mediation efforts following grievances over election results and or political systems. The emphasis put here is that GNUs are arrangements that seek to manage conflict by bringing opposing parties together with the aim of subduing violence and establishing acceptable solutions to wrangling parties.

The last definition that I want to end todays piece with, that I personally found to be related to what is happening in Lesotho is that of Dzimir (2011:12) when saying GNU is a broad coalition government comprising of major political parties usually formed in times of economic and or political crisis.

It is not voter-initiated but rather imposed due to some political imperatives of the day. I am sure there is too much to digest up to here… let us meet next week when I continue with some reasoning behind GNU. The future is NOW!!! NW

Feedback: Email Theko Tlebere at thekzen9@gmail.com

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