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Coalition government will survive, analysts say

Bongiwe Zihlangu MASERU — The new coalition government that begins work tomorrow will survive as there are no major ideological differences separating them, analysts say.

The coalition was quickly cobbled together after former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Democratic Congress (DC) failed to get a 61-seat majority in the May 26 election.

But there are fears that the coalition, headed by All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, Thomas Thabane, could wobble as leaders haggle over positions and influence.

The other leaders of the coalition government are the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD)’s Mothetjoa Metsing and the Basotho National Party (BNP)’s Thesele ’Maseribane.

Analysts who spoke to the Sunday Express on Friday said they see the coalition riding past these challenges.

Professor Nqosa Mahao, Dean of the Faculty of Law at Unisa, says there is no reason to think the coalition will be unworkable because “there are no ideological differences among the parties involved”.

“I believe it will last. Normally coalitions collapse because of ideological differences. But, in this case there are none to precipitate a collapse,” Mahao says.

Tlohang Letsie, a social scientist at the National University of Lesotho (NUL), says he only sees problems in the coalition government cropping up towards the 2017 elections when the leaders start positioning themselves for a strike at the country’s top job.

Letsie said only then would the political parties in the coalition want to seek to outdo each other to score political points.

“Right now they have similar goals and reasons to work together. The presence of the DC as a strong opposition party will also steer them on,” Letsie says.

“Even if the coalition experiences problems due to their different backgrounds, I see them managing to rise above their differences.”

Lira Theko, president of the Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations, says the three parties were entering virgin territory as the whole concept of a coalition administration was new to Lesotho.

But the three parties will have to understand “why they formed a coalition government in the first place”.

“They have to ask themselves if they formed the coalition based on fundamental issues or simply as a matter of convenience,” Theko says.

Theko says he expects the ABC, LCD and BNP to demonstrate political maturity instead of serving their personal interests.

“If this government is to be able to deal with outstanding issues which the outgoing government failed to address, each party will have to understand its role in the coalition,” Theko says. He says the new government must quickly address the issue of service delivery in government departments.

“The coalition needs to be strong, it has to identify core challenges affecting the nation such as passports, health services, to name but a few,” Theko says.

He says the coalition must come up with an all-inclusive “programme of action”.

“I’m expecting it to be a busy coalition, accommodating the views from the public,” Theko says.

He says the presence of Mosisili in parliament will also keep the coalition on its toes.

Professor Kopano Makoa, former Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at NUL, said the coalition had succeeded in ousting Mosisili who was their common enemy.

He however says with their goal achieved, the coalition partners must focus on delivering better services to Basotho in line with their election promises.

“Having removed Mosisili, they are faced with delivering services as they promised and deliver much better than him,” Makoa says.

“They promised the public that they will be a better alternative. Therefore, they will simply have to deliver to fulfill their promise to the public.”

Makoa says because there are no major ideological differences he expects the coalition to last the next five years.

“The only pressure is for them to prove that they are a genuine force to run this country. After all, they convinced the public and King Letsie III to put them there,” Makoa says.

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