Curtail the factionalism

Curtail the factionalism

ON Sunday evening I was busy watching a movie, The Forgotten Kingdom, when it was drawn to my attention through a Whatsapp group message that a more important programme was running on SABC 3.
I quickly switched channels and what I learnt from that programme was very beneficial. My only wish is that all the politicians in my country, especially those holding leadership positions, can get access to that programme especially now that we are going into the reform process.

The programme on air, channel SABC 3, Sunday evening is called Unfiltered. I really do not know why that programme has that name but my guess is that the news aired is supposed to be unfiltered because that is the sense I got while watching that programme.
The anchor of the programme, Redi Tlhabi, had invited to the studio three political analysts to deliberate on the thin line between the state, the party and factions, and whether political parties have the capacity to respect those lines.

The discussion was sparked by the ongoing state capture commission that is currently underway in South Africa. The commission has thus far unearthed horrendous activities of the blurring of the lines between the state, the party and factions.

The discussions by the panellists really captured my interest as I thought Lesotho can learn a lot from the mistakes of her neighbour. It is very important, especially now that we are driving towards reforms that we try and redress the mistakes and injustices of the past.
Lesotho has been to elections three times within a period of five years. At the centre of the collapse of the government was the failure by political parties to respect what Tlhabi calls a thin line between the state, the party and factions.

The collapse of the two previous governments had nothing to do with differences of opinion regarding ideology but were caused by factions within and among political parties in the government.
During the collapse of the first coalition, there was factionalism within the LCD that even led to the formation of the RCL. In the second coalition, the government was collapsed by the formation of the AD and the MEC.

In addition, during the discussion Tlhabi pointed out that, the political parties have no business flooding the public service with their loyal cadres who would fulfil the needs and demands of the party at the expense of the nation.

We have experienced first-hand in Lesotho the repercussions of a public service flooded by politicians. We have seen the erosion of millions of maloti that were used to buy out the diplomats, the PS, the DAs and other senior government officials. The sad reality is this very expensive exercise adversely affects the economic growth of the country. The youths remain unemployed and the poor continue to live in abject poverty.

During the reforms process, we need to think deeply and critically as to how we will weave into our new legislation directives that will clip the wings of the political parties so that they stop meddling in the public service, the security sector and other public institutions. We need a remedy to curtail the factionalism that always leads us to untimely elections, another exercise that just gobbles the meagre resources that we have.

There is a serious need to ensure that the thin line said to exist between the state, party and factionalism is respected and appreciated by our political leaders and the political followers. We also need to ensure that our voters are capacitated to stop politicians from crossing the line.

The reforms come at an opportune time for us. We should therefore take advantage of the problems we see in other countries like South Africa, to correct that which we have never experienced. There is no need for us to first experience state capture before putting up legislative measures to curb it.

Let us tread carefully during the reforms and ensure that we indeed prepare for the Lesotho we want, the Lesotho that will not go for elections every two seconds. Rather we should work towards the Lesotho that will be at peace with herself and neighbours, a hub for the rule of law with a thriving economy.

BY: Kelello Rakolobe

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