Break political stalemate

Break political stalemate

At the tail-end of 2019, High Court judge, Justice Tšeliso Monaphathi delivered an order that we thought was going to bring finality to a long-running leadership squabble in the All Basotho Convention (ABC) party.
In a succinct ruling, the judge overturned the expulsion of Professor Nqosa Mahao and four others from the ABC.

The judge also nullified the appointments of Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro and three others into the party’s National Executive Committee.
But even before the ink had dried, the faction that is backing Thabane was already literally telling the victorious Mahao camp to go hang. That was despite what appeared to be magnanimous overtures by their counterparts in the party.

The Thabane camp insisted that they would only allow Mahao and his colleagues back into the party only as ordinary card-carrying members, a position that appeared to be at cross-purposes with the spirit of the court ruling.

The latest standoff is yet another clear indication that the gulf in understanding between the two groups has become so vast that any prospect of unifying the two groups is now remote.
Any hopes of a reconciliation have been extinguished.

We cannot see how the two groups could ever sit on the same table again in an attempt to amicably resolve this year-old leadership wrangle.
With a fresh snap election looming on the horizon, we understand both groups would desperately want to retain control of the ABC brand. The current fight is now effectively a fight over the brand.

The two sides have since February last year operated as separate entities, holding separate rallies with Mahao heading the other faction while Thabane remained in charge of the other.

A divorce seems the most likely outcome. With the relationship between the two sides having irretrievably broken down, we would be reluctant to urge the two to remain in an unhappy marriage.
A divorce, however acrimonious, looks the best option under the circumstances.

And we know that whoever holds the biggest numbers at the grassroots level will likely triumph at the polls. A split and weakened ABC will likely have a bloody nose at the polls.

We are however disturbed to note that the Mahao camp is now accusing the Thabane group of plotting to use violence to wrestle control of the party.
That to us is extremely worrying. If that were to be allowed to happen, it would mark a new low in the practice of politics in Lesotho.
The “zanufication” of our politics – the use of violence to achieve political goals – must be swiftly rejected. It is a dangerous political model to follow.

As we have argued in previously editorials, the stalemate within the ABC is hurting business. It is hurting government programmes. It is hurting tourism.
That is why this stalemate must not be allowed to continue a day longer. It must be swiftly broken.

That will likely see the opposition taking the battle back to Parliament.
Speaker of Parliament, Sephiri Motanyane, who has been accused by the opposition of fighting in Thabane’s corner, will likely have his plate full this year.

Rather than shield Thabane from parliamentary censure, Motanyane must allow the democratic process to unfold within Parliament to ensure this country can move forward.
Any attempts to stifle the democratic process through prevarication and legal gymnastics risks plunging this country into chaos.

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