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Lessons on SA media tribunal

LESOTHO Congress for Democracy (LCD) youth leader Selibe Mochoboroane has alleged a plot is brewing within the ruling party to oust its boss, Prime Pakalitha Mosisili, and his national executive committee.

Mochoboroane has accused a “faction” including nine MPs of hatching the plan during secretive meetings.

He has since written a letter to the LCD leadership warning them of the alleged plot.

One of the MPs who Mochoboroane accused of masterminding the alleged plot has however dismissed the youth leader’s accusations.

Whether Mochoboroane’s allegations are truthful or fabricated, no one can deny that all is not well in the ruling party.

The damning allegations have emerged at a time the LCD is battling to paper over cracks within its ranks.

We understand tensions have been simmering in the LCD women’s league — the key organ when it comes to drawing votes — since the ruling party held elections for its structures in 2008.

The party’s youth is in a worse state.

With the youth wing set to elect a substantive committee later this month, the fight for influence has shaken the party to its core.

Sources within the party say the battle for the youth league leadership could tilt the scales in the wider battle to succeed Mosisili.

Although Mosisili has not indicated any intention to step down from the helm of the LCD, sources say there is a fierce battle within the party’s structures to succeed him.

Mochoboroane’s letter could be read in this context.

We hope the allegations made by Mochoboroane are not part of a smear campaign against political rivals.

Politicians are wont to engage in dirty tactics especially when their own positions are under threat.

In African politics, talking about replacing an incumbent leader can be seen as treasonous.

We hope the LCD leadership will not rush into taking punitive measures against those alleged to be plotting against Mosisili without making independent and thorough investigations.

Yet even if it’s indeed true that the alleged faction is scheming a plan to unseat the party’s leadership there is nothing criminal about it.

As long as they are planning to do it in a legal and democratic manner.

Politicians normally hold “secretive” meetings to plot ousters when their parties consider discussing succession issues taboo.

Since when has debating about Mosisili’s successor become treasonous?

We strongly believe it is part of healthy national discourse.

Lesotho can only enhance its democracy by allowing vigorous and unfettered debate on the subject both within and outside the ruling party.

Those who show an interest in the top job should not be vilified.

Instead they should be allowed to throw their hats into the ring without fear or intimidation.

Our fears now are that the internecine battles within the LCD may end up distracting the attention of the government from the real issues affecting Basotho.

The people are worried about unemployment.

They don’t have enough to eat.

The economy cannot afford to pay living salaries.

The healthcare sector is struggling.

And in the meantime Lesotho remains one of the countries in the world worst affected by the HIV pandemic.

These are some of the critical issues that the people of this kingdom expect any government that wants to be taken seriously to address.

But the LCD government cannot focus on that when its MPs and officials are preoccupied with safeguarding their positions.

They cannot worry about what’s afflicting Lesotho when their own positions in their party are under threat.

In short, they end up using most of their time trying to safeguard personal interests at the expense of public interests.

For the people’s sake, it is our hope that the LCD — which still has more than a year in office — can put its house in order and focus on serving the electorate that put them in charge in the first place.

The reality we can’t escape is that when the LCD coughs the whole country sneezes.

That’s the last thing a country like ours which has a turbulent political past would want.

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