The writing is on the wall

The writing is on the wall

THE collapse of talks between warring All Basotho Convention (ABC) factions could be the clearest indication that Lesotho could be headed for yet another snap election.
The writing is already on the wall, with all indicators pointing to a fresh election to decide who assumes the reins at State House.
The ABC, which was swept into power on the back of outlandish promises to do better than its predecessors in terms of governance, appears to have shot itself in the foot.
And now we could be heading into yet another costly election.
What a waste?

This is a golden opportunity that has been blown away.
The coalition government, of which the ABC was the senior partner, had a lot of goodwill from Basotho and the international community. After 14 years of governance under Pakalitha Mosisili, the people of Lesotho were thirsting for change.
Yet instead of giving them refreshing waters through new policies untainted by the bitterness of the past, the ABC appears to have given them bitter waters through constant squabbling.
The result is that an opportunity that was meant to resolve a pressing national ill has been lost. Take for instance the much hyped SADC-driven national dialogue.

This yet another opportunity that has been lost. The momentum on the national dialogue is gone. That means any new government will have to start all over again.
The question is: Will Lesotho get the same level of support and attention from the international community?
We doubt; in fact we fear we risk being dismissed as one big joke.
As Basotho, we have unfortunately built a negative reputation as a squabbling people who have dismally failed to manage our politics since independence from the British in 1966.

The result, unfortunately, has been economic stagnation while our peers in the region such as Botswana and Swaziland are taking huge strides forward. Our toxic politics have been our biggest undoing.
We have suffered as a nation in terms of development. While we might have some few mineral resources such as diamonds and water, we have nothing to show for it in terms of genuine developmental projects.
Our road infrastructure is in a pathetic state. Poverty still stalks the majority of our people. And we still rely on food handouts from international relief agencies, which is a shame for a country that used to export grain in the early 1980s.

We had expected that the new coalition government led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane would be an upgrade from the previous one. We have been slowly disabused of that notion as we see leaders of the ABC tear each other apart.
It would appear that the ABC has failed to learn from its predecessors’ failure to manage internal party dynamics. We all know that it led to the fall of the mighty Lesotho Congress for Democracy and a split in the Democratic Congress and many other parties that came before it.

The current crisis has clearly shown that the ABC has learnt nothing from the mistakes of its predecessors. That is really sad.
To avert further splits, political parties must learn to be democratic themselves. They must learn that there is no room for big-headedness. The era of big-name politics is long gone.
While we can talk of reforms at the national level, it is also clear that political parties must be prepared to swallow the bitter pill of reform themselves.
If they do not do so, we can only see more pain and anguish within political parties.


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