UNLESS something dramatic happens in the next few days to mend the rift between warring factions in the Lesotho Congress of Democracy (LCD) the party is most likely headed for a split.
For the past two years the ruling party has been moving in slow-motion towards its demise.
The warring factions have made sure of that.
The Mothetjoa Metsing-led executive committee has been under relentless pressure to leave office.
Numerous battles have been fought in the courts.
Never in its history has the LCD become such a playground for power hungry political schemers. It’s a power struggle that has become toxic to both the party and the government.
The chaotic events of the past weekend have proven beyond doubt that the ruling party is now on the verge of collapse.
A special conference meant to decide the executive committee’s fate had to be suspended indefinitely after faction members almost came to blows.
Observers say it is no longer a question of whether the party will split but when.
What is particularly disappointing about this internal strife is that it is not based on any fundamental ideological differences between the factions.
It has been difficult to pinpoint what concrete issues caused the fallout between the factions led by Metsing and Natural Resources Minister Monyane Moleleki.
It’s all about who will succeed party leader Pakalitha Mosisili.
It is tempting to lay the blame squarely on the factions and their alleged leaders.
Yet a closer analysis reveals that if there is anyone who should take the biggest stick for this mess it is Mosisili himself.
We have no doubt that if Mosisili had handled the situation differently this crisis would have been averted.
Mosisili has failed to give a proper timetable indicating when he intends to leave office.
This strategy of keeping his plans under wraps and leaving everyone to second guess his intentions has triggered uncertainty.
The result is that the factions, unsure of when the leader will go, have started scheming to take strategic positions.
In this battle for supremacy dirty and callous tactics have been used with ruinous consequences on the party.
Mosisili should have publicly marked his departure date on the calendar and allowed the succession debate to begin in earnest.
That way aspiring candidates would have thrown their names into the hat and played the political games according to clear rules set by the LCD constitution.
This is a process that the party would have managed properly.
Mosisili would then have leveraged his stature in the party to ensure that none of the candidates or their factions diverted from the set rules.
The debate on who should replace him would have played itself out in the open away from the secret meetings that have now hijacked the process.
Mosisili also appears to have dismally failed to rise above petty squabbles. There is a perception within the party that he favours the Moleleki faction.
In fact some go further to say he is actually the driving force behind that faction.
We are cognisant of the fact that this might just be an unfounded allegation and it is not for us to judge the validity of such allegations.
What we can only say is that it is unfortunate for a leader of Mosisili’s stature to stoop that low.
Mosisili’s decision to dismiss Metsing, Motloheloa Phooko and Khotso Matla this week has not helped dispel the damaging allegation that he is fighting in Moleleki’s corner.
He comes across as a leader who has failed to rise above the factionalism that has gripped his party over the past three years.
His decision to get rid of those three has only helped strengthen the notion that he is vindictive and biased.
It is difficult to put a finger on anything positive that will come out of that decision. It was hasty and ill-timed.
As things stand now the LCD is hurtling towards a precipice.
It will come off this crisis a fragmented entity that is too weak to command enough parliamentary seats to form the next government.
Time is fast running out for Mosisili to show that he can rise about petty squabbles and lead the party out of this quagmire.