By Mahao Mahao
WE have recently seen fiery exchanges between the Democratic Congress (DC) and the government, through the Minister of Communications Tšeliso Mokhosi, over the legitimacy or otherwise of the new coalition government.
The DC leader Pakalitha Mosisili has lately been ranting about how and why his party failed to form a coalition with the LCD, much to the annoyance of the government itself as Mosisili’s comments are deemed divisive and, to some extent, demeaning.
Mosisili has gone further to insinuate how God will never bless the union the LCD has formed with the All Basotho Convention and the Basutoland National Party.
He further bemoans the LCD’s decision to sell the congress movement to nationalists.
I find Mosisili’s statements rather unsettling. To evoke the image of God in a union that involves the LCD and its coalition partners is taking it a bit too far; and religious leaders may be displeased.
It seems to imply that God would only bless a union between the LCD and the DC.
I am certain that the Almighty would never choose sides this way.
Only humans have the potential to judge, sideline and condemn others.
Election results are always the outcome of what the electorate want and God will always bless how the people choose to be governed; and from time to time,
Basotho, through the power elections give them, will make adjustments on who they want their government to be.
Maybe God himself had grown weary of a one-party led cabinet and wanted to give Basotho something different; a more representative government drawn from more pluralistic views.
My hunch is that God will bless whatever our politicians do in the interests of the citizens, not for their own personal gains and clamouring for cabinet positions.
The issue of betrayal of the congress movement sends a message that reflects lack of forward thinking in the political ideals of this nation.
Are the citizens made to assume that only the congress parties have a divine right to be at the helm of governance in Lesotho?
I wonder just how many people in Lesotho go to an election with the sole intention to prop up a nationalist or congress government.
Maybe that was the nature of our political dispensation for the past many years, especially during the politically volatile and explosive era of Leabua Jonathan and Ntsu Mokhehle.
Clearly, remnants of such uninspiring ideals still remain in Lesotho but they should rapidly be declining into an insignificant minority who will never be able to determine election results.
To me, any leader who wants to portray a picture of progressive politics should not harp on such archaic and irrelevant paradigms of national or congress ideology.
Their base is rapidly eroding.
Basotho want leaders who can address their daily challenges of joblessness, HIV/Aids, deprivation and a quest for a decent education.
Whether they are nationalist or congress is immaterial.
Young people today value the brains of the leader far more than the nationalist or congress dogma.
As I wrote in this column in the past weeks, this divisive outlook is no different from apartheid, racism and tribalism and takes us many steps backward while we have already made so much progress towards political tolerance and harmony.
The tripartite coalition government places a seal of approval on how far our nation has come. It must be applauded and nurtured to full fruition and nothing must be allowed to break it apart.
When Leabua Jonathan’s government ceased to exist in 1986, I was not yet mature enough to comprehend the scale of the collapse and its resulting implications to those who held him dear to their hearts.
He had ruled Lesotho for 20 years and it is possible that many people took long to get over the hang-over of life without him.
The current political developments bear a striking resemblance to those of 1986 where Basotho, particularly Mosisili’s supporters, have had to adjust to life without the only leader they have known for 14 years.
It is a hang-over they will not shed in a month. But one day it will be gone and they will discover that it is time to move on and cease hanging onto the past.
When Thomas Thabane launched the ABC in 2006, 20 years after the toppling of Jonathan’s government, he avoided the non-progressive labelling and painting of Basotho in terms of nationalist or congress.
He opened the ABC platform to every Mosotho, no matter their political affiliation. This was the start of conventional politics which focused beyond the divisive, myopic and one-dimensional route of name-calling which had long characterised our political outlook.
As history will prove, Thabane’s party gained a huge following from both nationalists and congressionals and those who leaned to neither.
Leaders who want to secure a bright future career as politicians would well be advised to steer clear of living in the past.
It is now observable (though more research could be conducted) that Basotho are beginning to show huge political maturity which will ascertain that they will never be taken for a ride again.
For many of us today, a national or congress ideology rings hollow. We just want a concrete promise of a better life.
Mahao Mahao is a lecturer in the Faculty of Education, National University of Lesotho