May the best candidate win!

May the best candidate win!

THE search for a successor within the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) party appears to have gathered momentum this week with the party narrowing the search to two candidates.
This comes after party leader, Thomas Thabane, indicated that he now wishes to step down due to old age.
But we know that the decision was most likely triggered by the dramatic developments that rocked the First Family since late last month.
Thabane has been under immense pressure to step down after he was implicated in the murder of his first wife, Lipolelo Thabane, in June 2017.
His current wife, ’Maesiah Thabane, is now on the run after she too was charged with Lipolelo’s murder.

Thabane’s own ABC party and partners in the coalition government have all now cranked up the pressure arguing his position as premier has now become untenable.
Yet in the midst of all this, Thabane wants to duck and dive. He has so far failed to give an exact date when he intends to hand over the reins to a successor.
That the ABC is now deeply divided over the succession issue is of Thabane’s own making. The party dismally failed to groom a successor.
With Thabane’s biological clock ticking towards midnight, the ABC finds itself bitterly divided along factional lines.

While the party has over the last four weeks sought to present a united front, it is still evident after the two nominations that the ABC remains deeply fractured along factional lines.
There is the Nqosa Mahao-led group which won elections last February and a group that had coalesced around Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
We are not surprised then that ’Matebatso Doti and Kabi, the two leading contenders to succeed Thabane, have become proxies of this factional battle. The two still represent factional interests.
But for the party to elect the best candidate, the ABC might need to “democratise” the electoral process by opening up the contest by nominating any party member within its ranks for the position of party leader.
That way, the party will likely pick the best candidate even though he might not be in the NEC.

The likes of Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro must be given a chance to run for the position of party leader.
The question the ABC must now interrogate is whether the two, Doti and Kabi, represent the best brains within the party given what is likely to be a very challenging political environment.
There is no doubt that at his peak, Thabane brought a certain charisma to the ABC. Thabane was a charismatic leader who single-handedly ensured victory for the party in the last elections.
With him gone, the ABC will likely face immense challenges to maintain its hegemony on the political scene. That is why it is critical that the ABC elects the best candidate to take the party forward.
Yet at the same time, it must be admitted that in the last few years of his political career, Thabane made serious political blunders. His young wife,’Maesiah, antagonised a large segment of Lesotho’s voting population. She has been a liability both for Thabane and the party.

The ABC must therefore move swiftly to resolve the succession issue so as to have enough time to rebuild its battered image or else kiss any prospects of retaining political power at the next elections goodbye.
The ABC members must quickly bury their differences and rally behind a consensus candidate who must be a unifier.
Once that is done, the party can then approach Parliament ready to elect Lesotho’s next Prime Minister.

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