Coalition leaders must introspect
Lesotho comes under the spotlight this week, as regional leaders meet in Zimbabwe’s resort town of Victoria Falls.
Among other issues, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state and government would discuss Lesotho’s political situation, which has remained tense since the leaders of the three ruling parties fell out early this year.
Yet that Lesotho is on the summit’s agenda under such shameful circumstances is an indictment on the coalition leadership, with the bickering now also threatening the country’s chairmanship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation.
The kingdom is supposed to assume the leadership of this crucial body during the upcoming SADC summit, but as reported elsewhere in this issue, the wrangling between the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), All Basotho Convention (ABC) and Basotho National Party (BNP) could scupper these hopes.
This is a crucial Organ tasked with supporting the achievement and maintenance of security and the rule of law in the SADC region, and failure to land the chairmanship would automatically earn Lesotho the unenviable title of a troubled state, while also diminishing the country’s standing in the region.
Again such a status would deal a body blow to the country’s developmental aspirations, as investors would no longer be too keen to inject funding in a politically unstable country.
Yet the differences between the parties should have been nipped in the bud when LCD leader, Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing, started to openly criticise his ABC counterpart, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane, for not living up to the consultative spirit of the Coalition Agreement, which they signed when forming a government in June 2012.
Serious mediation efforts should have been made then when the LCD threatened to form a new coalition government with the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) in June this year.
The fact that the three government partners remain at loggerheads over the powers they wield in the coalition despite efforts to bring them together by various mediators, can only mean some within the alliance are not really serious about ending the feuding which has now undermined Lesotho’s status as a peaceful nation and an investment destination of choice.
Until now, Lesotho has always been proudly known as a nation at peace with itself and its neighbours but this reputation is now under an even bigger threat at the two-day SADC summit, which gets underway in Zimbabwe tomorrow.
Our feuding politicians should seriously introspect and look at their individual conduct in this bickering.
Unless there is something that the three coalition partners are not telling the nation, then their differences should have been resolved a long time ago, and spared Basotho the anguish of not really knowing what the future holds for them, both politically and economically.
It is true that when two elephants fight, the grass suffers, and in this case, the ordinary citizenry is now bearing the brunt of the bickering as under such an uncertain state, the government cannot effectively deliver on its mandate of ensuring the wellbeing of the electorate.