Lesotho Times

New party must deal with underlying issues

PRIME Minister Pakalitha Mosisili this week finally dumped the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) to form the Democratic Congress (DC) party.

He engineered the demise of a government he had led for the past 15 years.

What remains of the LCD, a party he led to three electoral victories, will only be seen in the election scheduled for May.

It remains to be seen if Mosisili’s departure has mortally wounded the LCD.

But what is clear is that the former ruling party will never be the same again after the dramatic events of Tuesday.

Without a leader and damaged by years of internal strife, the LCD’s decline from a powerful political giant to a nonentity has probably begun in earnest.

As for the DC, the new kid on the block, we are not sure what values it represents as a political entity.

On the surface it looks like a coalition of the wounded.

It would seem that apart from their frustrations with the LCD executive committee and their ambitions nothing else unites the DC’s leadership.

It will probably be the same old LCD government wrapped in new colours and name tag — more like old wine in new bottles.

Because of its lack of obvious ideological differences with the LCD we cannot say we are excited about the prospect of the DC remaining in government after the May poll.

We suspect that a few years or months from now the DC will implode in the same way the LCD did this week.

The main characters will not entirely be the same but the plot will be identical to that of the LCD.

From the Basutoland Congress Party to the LCD congress parties have had a way of destroying themselves from within.

The reason is because they are built around personalities rather than political ideology.

BCP founder Ntsu Mokhehle built the BCP and then destroyed it to form the LCD.

As Mokhehle’s anointed successor Mosisili carried the LCD for 15 years until he left to form the DC this week.

That unfortunate trend is likely to continue because the DC, like the BCP and LCD, has been built around a personality –—Mosisili.

In doing so the DC has imported the same problems that led to the LCD’s split.

Mosisili himself has admitted that personality clashes were the root cause of the split.

We fully agree with him but we must hasten to add that perhaps he should have gone further to admit that individuals within the LCD clashed because of the succession issue.

For that he must take the blame.

Perhaps deceived by his popularity and buoyed by his cult-like status within the party Mosisili clung on to power and put a tight lid on the succession debate.

And when the debate started, belatedly though, he seems to have sought to use his influence to push Monyane Moleleki as his successor.

The result of that mistake was the split we witnessed on Tuesday.

The formation of the DC has bought Mosisli more time in power.

But that reprieve won’t last long because soon some of his party members will start talking about his succession.

Mosisili says he will now nurture the DC for the next five years before he calls it quits.

That is to be applauded but that is what he should have done while he was still the leader of the LCD.

Instead he left the question of his succession hanging and tried to influence it when pressure mounted.

We have no reason to doubt Mosisili’s sincerity when he says he will leave politics in 2017.

Yet we are doubtful he will be able to properly manage the succession debate.

We say this because it is already clear that he wants to leave the reins to Moleleki.

The LCD has already showed that this tactic of trying to influence the succession debate does not work.

We are sceptical it will work with the DC.

If he does what he tried to do with the LCD then he will certainly leave the DC a split party in 2017.

To avoid that he must mark the exact day he will leave power on the calendar and resist the temptation to interfere with process of choosing his successor.

Lesotho Times

Lesotho's widely read newspaper, published every Thursday and distributed throughout the country and in some parts of South Africa.

Contact us today: News: editor@lestimes.co.ls Advertising: marketing@lestimes.co.ls Telephone: +266 2231 5356


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