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Keep them on their toes

THE main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) party yesterday met for its first leadership conference in Hlotse eight months after its formation in February.
The conference also came four months after the party was unceremoniously ousted from power following the May 26 election.
While the party led by former premier Pakalitha Mosisili is no longer in power driving government policy we believe it still has a part to play in our nascent democracy.
One cannot wish away its existence.
There is clearly a huge constituency out there that still believes in the party’s programmes and its leadership.
The weekend conference was therefore an opportunity for the DC to sit back and reflect on the role it can play in a democratic society.
We strongly believe Lesotho needs a strong opposition party with the gravitas of the DC to keep the ruling coalition government led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane in check.
Without a strong, vibrant opposition our democracy would be in peril.
As the DC plays its watchdog role in parliament it must guard against seeing its role as that of a mere rubble rousers.
That would be unwise and suicidal.
There was a perception immediately after the May election that some elements within the party could not stomach the reality that they had lost power and had to let go.
But this is the reality in a democratic society. You win and lose elections.
However, for all its faults Basotho owe the current peace and political stability to the DC that refused to hang on to power after failing to get a clear majority.
What happened in May must be properly juxtaposed with the reality on the African continent where leaders often thumb their noses at the victors and refuse to relinquish power even when they have clearly lost the mandate of their people.
It would be wise for the DC to stop moaning its loss of power and address key issues in parliament and at other fora that resonate with voters.
The party must not project an image that it is a sore loser. After all the next election is only less than 55 months away.
We believe Lesotho needs a strong opposition that can play a constructive role in parliament.
We hope and pray that the DC will be a loyal and progressive opposition party that will keep the coalition government on its toes.
The DC leadership, with decades of experience in government and the civil service, can play a significant role in strengthening our democracy.
But for the leadership to be able to do so, they must deal with the demons that haunted the leadership when it was still in government under the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) banner.
We hope the party leadership has learnt from the pitfalls of political infighting in the past.
The party must also mark clear guidelines on the question of succession.
It was that failure to deal with the succession wrangle that caused the split in the first place.
Unless the DC deals with the succession issue it risks importing the same problems that were at the root of the split in the LCD.

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