Calling for a GNU and derailing reforms

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Thulo Hoeane

I LISTENED with shock to an interview over a local station during which the leader of the Popular Front for Democracy (PFD), Lekhetho Rakuoane, argued that the only way Lesotho can move forward in the aftermath of the despicable rule of the Pakalitha Mosisili-led seven party coalition is through the establishment of a government of national unity (GNU).

But who exactly is Rakuoane? Lest we forget Rakuoane was the minister of home affairs in the ill-fated seven party coalition under whose rule this country was plunged into an abyss of indescribable lawlessness. Ironically this is the same Rakuoane who now wants us to believe that he has mutated overnight into an angel of national unity. This is a man who now wants to prescribe a way forward out of the chaos we now find ourselves in.

It was during that reign of terror from 2015 to 2017 that scores of people, too many to enumerate, were mercilessly killed. We saw many soldiers imprisoned on trumped charges that they were involved in mutinous acts. Some of them still bear the physical and psychological scars of that God forsaken era. I do not recall Rakuoane ever speaking out against those atrocities. He was conspicuous by his stoic silence during that time.

The PFD is a peripheral entity in the wider scheme of Lesotho politics and its leader and those he leads have only made it into government courtesy of the monstrosity of the Mixed Member Proportional Model (MMP) model that is only intended to reward election losers and political rejects in a power sharing arrangement that they do not deserve.

It is also the timing of his call for the establishment of a GNU which is significant. The 3 June 2017 election is now behind us and the PFD is out of government where it belongs.  And now that the PFD is out of government and clearly and realistically has no hope of ever being in government we now hear its leader making calls like all other opposition leaders who are in denial mode calling for a GNU. The whole thing just does not wash with me. These calls are nothing more than a cheap political ruse intended by the opposition to be a stepping stone into government.

Resoundingly rejected by the people the PFD and those in its corner want to manouvre their way into power through means other than the ballot box. There is nothing popular about the PFD. And its calls for an unelected GNU have nothing to do with the democracy that it purportedly stands for. People like Rakuoane have a long way to go before they start making calls like these.

They must at the very least earn the right to rule. They must convince the people that they have what it takes politically. And the starting point is the ballot box. If they cannot make it past the ballot box they have no business telling us anything and coming up with prescriptive measures we should take to solve the problems of this country. A politician who cannot even win his home constituency is at the end of the day only a politician in name only.

My take on calls by Rakuoane for a GNU is that we have heard all this before. His brother in political anonymity, Mothetjoa Metsing, is singing from the same hymn book and is also calling for a GNU as a pre – condition for his participation in the reforms. They are simply calls intended to divert attention from the business of the day. The real business of the day is to get the multi-sector reforms implemented without any further delays.

As it is, we are running out of time and SADC has read us the riot act. We have only until May 2019 to ensure that we restore normalcy to this country. A GNU and anything akin to it is certainly not on the agenda. The PFD leader should not risk losing the little political credibility he has left by making calls for a GNU.

The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and they do not necessarily reflect the views of the Lesotho Times.

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