The tempestuous alliance between the All Basotho Convention (ABC) and the Lesotho Workers Party (LWP) has ended.
ABC leader Tom Thabane yesterday confirmed that the marriage is over.
Three short but stormy years is all it took for Lesotho’s biggest opposition alliance to fall apart.
Those who were close to the alliance say it was an acrimonious end to a marriage that had become more accustomed with dealing with allegations of factionalism and backstabbing than coming up with strategies to become the next government.
The well had been poisoned, they say.
It’s still early to establish the real impact of this split on both parties because the modalities of the divorce are yet to be finalised.
It’s also too early to predict who is poorer without the other although functionaries from both parties are likely to gloat about their stability outside the alliance for the next months.
“We are just fine without them,” are the words that we are likely to hear from both parties.
Yet one thing is already clear: Lesotho’s opposition movement is certainly poorer and miserable without the ABC/LWP alliance.
The alliance had its weaknesses but it still was a formidable force in the opposition movement.
A combination of the ABC, a broad church of mostly urbanites angry with the current government, and the LWP, a workers’ party, looked like a potent force.
The two had formed a strong platform that had the capacity to challenge the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party in future elections.
Even if the alliance might not have grown to its full capacity there was still hope that it would provide a challenge to the LCD.
It is not good for democracy when a country has one dominant political party.
Democracy is therefore the biggest loser in this split.
What makes it particularly sad is that the alliance is crumbling with only two years before we go to the next general elections.
This is an alliance that recently suffered a drubbing in three by-elections.
Yet instead of regrouping to think up strategies for the next election they decide to split.
This shows how unfocused and impatient our opposition leaders can be.
Little wonder they remain in the opposition.
Lesotho’s opposition parties must accept that they cannot defeat the LCD as individual entities unless a major calamity befalls the ruling party.
Their inadequacies have been exposed many a time.
Their narrow support bases have been their biggest undoing.
Their capacities have been frail and their membership too small to propel them into government.
There are parties that don’t even have structures in other parts of the country and even where there is a semblance of their existence they are too weak to make a difference.
Given this reality it is clear that alliances, like the one that the ABC had with the LWP, are the only way to go.
By breaking the alliance the two parties are saying they have totally failed to work together.
They are saying they both believe either of the party had become a huge burden on the other’s ability’s to perform.
But we beg to differ.
What killed this alliance was the failure of the leaders from both parties to manage the culture mix.
And they did not define the real motive of their alliance.
There were never clear set goals to define the alliance.
What kept the alliance going was the belief that one day their numbers might be huge enough to garner enough votes to form the next government.
And when that failed mistrust grew, with each party thinking that it could do without the other.
The leaders of both parties must take the blame for failing to manage the egos of those around them.
There are people in both parties who have a destructive sense of entitlement.