Talks are the way to go for ABC

Talks are the way to go for ABC

AS explained in our lead story this week, there are fresh attempts to break the two-month old impasse that has seen the ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) party on the verge of a damaging split.
This week, Professor Nqosa Mahao is said to have met Prime Minister Thomas Thabane in a renewed push for dialogue.
Initial reports suggest the meeting was amicable and a committee headed by outgoing secretary general Samonyane Ntsekele was set up to pave way for formal talks between the two factions.
Ever since Mahao’s stunning electoral victory in February, we have watched as politicians tore into each with gusto. The coarse and vituperative language on display has been shocking.

Here was a party that was on the verge of committing political euthanasia. With so much hope having been invested in the party, the ABC was on the verge of self-immolation.
We are not surprised that critics were already penning the party’s obituary.
The infighting suggested that the rift between the factions was so wide that it would not be easily bridged. At the core of the ABC’s troubles was a shocking failure to respect democratic norms.
Unless these fundamental issues are addressed, it is our considered view that the proposed talks will be dead in the water even before they kick-off.

Will Mahao and his newly elected executive committee be allowed to assume the reins? That is the key question.
As we have argued previously on this column, this is a political crisis that will require a political solution. We have always thought that the decision to take the matter to the courts was ill-conceived.
And to make matters worse, the courts have appeared reluctant to swiftly deal with the crisis in the ABC. This was an urgent matter that we expected the courts to dispense with on an urgent basis.
But what we have seen over the last two months is an unprecedented act of prevarication by the courts. There is still no judgment on who won the election two months after the controversial poll.
The courts have been extremely slow in dealing with the leadership crisis in the ABC which gave rise to fears that some of our judges are conflicted.
This was extremely unfortunate.

It is no exaggeration to postulate that the crisis within the ABC has had a devastating impact on governance. Instead of dealing with issues of service delivery, the party’s leadership has been tearing each other apart.
Key government projects have been on virtual standstill as factions sought to outdo each other. This has been in evidence all over the country.
While this has been going on, there have been allegations that certain constituencies have been deliberately starved of resources because the MPs belong to the wrong camp.

Development projects that were lined up in such constituencies have therefore stalled.
That is totally unacceptable.
That is why we think the ABC must quickly resolve its own squabbles to ensure that the people on the ground do not suffer.
While Parliament remains closed, we hope Thabane will work his magic behind the scenes to ensure that the party remains intact for the greater good of Basotho.
We would like to believe that no one, including the opposition, has an appetite for yet another election.


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