ABC must  be a big tent

ABC must be a big tent

THAT the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) had to be dragged to court to resolve whether Professor Nqosa Mahao is eligible to contest the party’s internal elections next month is highly regrettable. In fact the embarrassing court case, which was due to be heard in the High Court yesterday, is the clearest indication that the party has no effective conflict-resolution mechanism.
The Koro-koro constituency committee is adamant that it wants Prof Mahao to stand in elections for the ABC’s deputy leader’s position, a stance that has set it on a collision course with the party’s National Executive Committee.

The NEC argues that Mahao does not qualify to stand for elections within the party as he has not served the mandatory period within the lower structures of the party.
With the two sides sticking to their guns it has now been left for the courts to decide the way forward. That is really sad.
The ABC should have been able to resolve this matter amicably and close ranks to deal with the major challenges confronting Lesotho. The fact that the party cannot amicably resolve such a simple matter is deeply worrying.

In any case, we are of the strong opinion that the ABC, like the big church that it claims to be, must be able to accommodate diverse individuals from all sorts of backgrounds. These include newcomers into the party such as Mahao.

Any attempt to block individuals will render the party archaic. In fact, the party’s leadership must resist the temptation to think they “own” the party and its internal processes.
For the party to grow, it will need to go through a process of self-generation. Any attempt to resist this natural process will render the party redundant.
That is why we think the ABC would be making a fatal mistake in seeking to block Prof Mahao or any other individual on the basis that they do not bear the scars of the struggle when the party was still in opposition.

True as it is that Mahao is a relative newcomer within the party, we think he would add a completely new dimension to our often dour politics that are marked by the worship of the “dear leader”.
We are of the humble opinion that Mahao and Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro have the intellectual gravitas to understand the real challenges confronting this country. Without that full comprehension of issues, it would be very difficult if not impossible to offer any alternatives.

That is why it would be critical to subject Mahao to an electoral process at the party’s conference next month. If he loses the internal polls, then he must accept the will of the people.
As it is, it would appear the ABC’s national executive committee has gone out of its way to block Mahao without sufficient basis. And for that, Mahao might still get the sympathy votes in the court of public opinion.

It would therefore be in the party’s interests to allow a free, fair process to unfold so that the best candidate can win.
With Prime Minister Thomas Thabane in the twilight of his long and illustrious political career, it is critical for the ABC to elect a capable leader who will be able to hold his own in the cut-throat politics of Lesotho. And that individual might as well be Mahao or any other so-called newcomer into the party.

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