Say no to merchants of violence

Say no to merchants of violence

WE note with utter dismay the violence that erupted at a Democratic Congress (DC) youth meeting in Maseru last weekend.

Violence in any form should have no place in a democratic dispensation.

The party must reject and eject all merchants of violence in its midst. It must send a clear and unequivocal message that violence in any form will not be tolerated within the organs of the party.

It is public knowledge that party youths are split into two main factions with one backing party leader Pakalitha Mosisili while the other is allegedly said to be rooting for his deputy Monyane Moleleki.

In our opinion, there is nothing wrong per se in having factions within political formations. They are often a sign of a vibrant democratic culture within parties.

In any case, the issue of factions is nothing new within the DC.

They have been there as long as we can remember, dating back to the period when the party was still under the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) banner.

Factionalism will always be there in any vibrant political formation. To expect that everyone should think alike would reduce party members to morons. And that would be tragic.

But what are sometimes seen as factions are merely genuine differences of opinion among party members.

While differences will always be there within a party, they must be managed well so that they do not spark violent scenes like we saw last weekend.

But it is also critical to add that bitter acrimony over leadership is not limited to the DC. Almost every party in Lesotho has its fair share of worries over the matter.

The All Basotho Convention (ABC), Basotho National Party (BNP) and MFP have had their own leadership squabbles in recent times.

Yet, it is how such differences are managed that matters.

What we saw last weekend could be a raw manifestation of the festering issue of leadership change within the DC. How the DC manages the political transition from the Mosisili era to the next leader will have a major impact on the future of the party.

Mosisili did extremely well in keeping his former LCD party together for 14 years. Despite losing power in 2012, he remains the darling of the rural masses through his pro-poor policies such as old age pensions.

At the next election in 2020, Mosisili will be 78. It is inevitable that a discussion on leadership renewal will soon dominate the corridors of power at the Government Complex and party offices in Maseru.

But it would be a pity if such discussion morphs into mobilizing party functionaries to stampede him out of power before his term ends. The transition must be orderly and well planned.

It is our hope that the DC has begun candid discussions on the future of Mosisili and the party in general. The DC must begin a serious introspection on the issue of succession.

In our opinion, Mosisili has a clear constitutional option. He can allow the party organs to elect a successor as is mandated by the party’s constitution.

This option is viable and workable. That is how he became the successor of Ntsu Mokhehle.

Of course this option of allowing the party to elect a successor is more democratic and desirable.

This we hope is the discussion that is going on behind the scenes and in the corridors of power at the party’s head office in Maseru.

The party must allow free and unfettered debate on the subject. It is not treasonous.


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