The former ruling Democratic Congress (DC) party will head for its first elective conference later this month where the party will elect its first substantive national executive committee.
The elective conference will be a test of the party’s claims to be a democratic institution.
It is precisely for that reason that we have taken a keen interest in the happenings within the former ruling party.
We believe the DC can still play a very huge and constructive role in the entrenchment of democracy in Lesotho.
While the party graciously handed over the reins of power after failing to form government last May, we believe it needs to consolidate and remain resolute on its pledge to keep the coalition government led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane on its toes.
It must play its role as a loyal opposition with dignity.
But there are important issues that the DC must be reminded of as it heads for its elective conference.
The party’s leadership must be mindful of the demons that caused the split with their erstwhile colleagues in the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party.
Unless the DC leadership deals with the underlying issues that triggered the split there is always a possibility, lurking behind the scenes, that the demon of factionalism will come back to haunt the party again.
There are already murmurs within the party over the formation of cliques around certain personalities.
The party must move away from worshipping the “cult of personality”, a key element of Lesotho’s politics, to issues driven politics.
The DC leadership must be candid enough to interrogate their role in the split and work harder to forestall such an eventuality in future.
But the DC leadership must put in place a clear succession formula.
There must be clear term limits for the president of the party and his deputy.
This is essential in any party that claims to be democratic.
The issue of term limits will also ensure there is leadership renewal with the party.
Any party that resists such renewal is bound to collapse.
We also expect the DC to promote vibrant debate within its structures at the conference.
The leadership must not seek to muzzle dissenting voices.
It is only through vibrant debate that the party can deepen the roots of democracy at grassroots level.
This counsel is given in good faith.
We also want to acknowledge the critical role played by former premier Pakalitha Mosisili in Lesotho’s politics over the past 15 years, particularly after the May 26 general election.
To his credit, Mosisili never attempted to hold on to power after the people clearly spoke that they wanted change.
He graciously handed over the reins to Thabane and the coalition government.
The peace that Lesotho enjoys now is largely because Mosisili chose not to cling to power.
Sometimes we think not enough credit has been given to the man.
With Mosisili expected to gradually step aside in favour of his deputy Moleleki, we hope the DC will remain potent enough to play its role as a loyal opposition.
It is in Lesotho’s interest that we have strong opposition parties that articulate and point out weaknesses that needed to be fixed by the coalition government.