BARELY two months after its formation the Democratic Congress (DC) is already rocked by internal squabbles.
Eight constituencies are alleging that the leadership has imposed candidates for the May 26 election.
Last week DC leader Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili acknowledged that there were some squabbles over candidates in the constituencies.
“Why did we leave the LCD (Lesotho Congress for Democracy) if we keep indulging in the same quarrels? Was it not better to have jettisoned or left this thokolosi behind us?” Mosisili asked the supporters at a rally in Butha-Buthe on Saturday.
“I fail to understand why we broke away from the LCD if we are continuing with conflicts that I thought we were running away from.”
“If by mistake we carried a thokolosi in our baggage when we left the LCD, let us unload and inspect the contents of our bags closely and chase away the thokolosi if we find it,” he said.
Those were wise words from Mosisili but they will not sort out the problems his party faces.
If he wants to have unity in his party he must tackle the problems head-on.
At the centre of the DC’s problems are undemocratic tendencies that allow those at the top to marginalise the will and views of the majority.
It is clear from the problems in the eight constituencies that someone at the top has decided to railroad their decision on the people.
This is a recipe for disaster.
We note Mosisili has tried to blame the squabbles on the problems the DC inherited from the LCD.
He might be right but still such blame-shifting antics won’t solve the DC’s problems.
We think the problems in the DC have more to do with how the DC was formed than the ills it inherited from the LCD.
The DC is a coalition of the wounded.
In other words it was formed by people who had failed to make much progress in the LCD.
These people felt aggrieved by the LCD.
Some joined the DC because their political careers in the LCD had failed to take-off, frustrated or just stalled.
Some MPs were promised that if they crossed from the LCD to the DC with their constituencies they would be automatic candidates for the DC.
Some moved because they had lost primaries in the LCD and they thought they would have a better chance in the new party.
In short, the DC was offering a chance for a new beginning and prospects of progress.
But because the DC can only field 80 candidates on May 26 fierce competition was inevitable.
To get ahead of competition some people used their connections in the leadership while others resorted to unorthodox means.
The squabbles in the eight constituencies are a direct result of people who have either manipulated or ignored the democratic processes altogether.
It has not helped that the DC leadership itself, from Mosisili himself to the last member of the executive committee, was not elected.
While it is admitted that it’s only an interim leadership there is no denying it does not have the people’s mandate.
That legitimacy can only be bestowed on the leadership when the DC has an elective conference.
When people say the leadership has imposed a candidate on them what they really mean is that an unelected leadership has refused to let an election, the very cornerstone of democracy, to decide who will represent them on May 26.
This has fed the perception that the DC is parcelling out jobs to “the boys”.
Mosisili can help bring peace to his party if he makes sure that democratic processes are respected.
If his leadership tinkers with this democratic process then the DC will split just like the LCD did.
He must ensure the party holds credible primary elections in the disputed eight constituencies.
The same must happen in other constituencies to which candidates were parachuted from nowhere.
A culture of democracy must be nurtured.
Mosisili must teach his followers and fellow leaders that democracy is not a luxury but a necessity.
If he fails in that regard then he must brace himself for another split.
This time he might not be the one leaving the party.