Election watch with Sofonia Shale – WHILE neither the Democratic Congress (DC) nor the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) is ready to shoulder blame for deficiencies of LCD government, both want to claim its successes.
The LCD claims all the achievements of government from 1998 to February 2012 when it was controversially pushed out of the government by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s DC.
The DC as the organisation which only started in February 2012 and may not have much to show, argues that what has been achieved by the government led by its leader is part of its glory.
Mosisili says if elected he will continue what he has been doing but he is quick to blame the LCD for all the failure of the past 15 years.
This is ironic because for those years he was the leader of the LCD and the government.
The LCD leader Mothetjoa Metsing has been talking about an “LCD with new thinking” during his campaign trail. It is this “new thinking” he says will drive his government’s policies.
It is clear that both men want to dissociate themselves from the LCD’s failures as they move towards their first poll as opponents. But in this battle there has also been a strong indication the two leaders terribly miss each other.
Each has a quality that could have immensely helped the other in this election. When Mosisili succumbed to pressure of the losing faction in the power struggle in the LCD and formed the DC there was speculation as to how the people would react. Looking at the size of his political rallies Mosisili has been having there is no doubt that the response to DC formation is quite impressive and good enough to return him to the State House. But when you look closely you also realise that a huge number of people are also resisting the exodus to the new party.
Although the DC leader has lamented what he referred to as a forced departure from LCD, in general terms he believes DC members will experience a big sigh from the oppression in their old home.
The split gives Mosisili the opportunity to flex his political muscle. The LCD leader, on the other hand, can use the split as an opportunity to make LCD appear to be a party with new thinking. What must be admitted is that these changes have helped the two parties to tackle issues they never tackled and use approaches which in the past would have been considered too humble for them.
For instance both leaders have on different occasions reached out to street vendors, a group of people suffered under the regime they both served. Metsing, just like Mosisili when he first came to Parliament, was little known in political circles. Acting within his constitutional powers of prerogative, Mosisili appointed Metsing an assistant Minister in the Ministry of Justice.
In his second term of parliament, Metsing was given more responsibility, full ministerial position and became the spokesperson of the government. This limelight and opportunity to prove himself could have easily not been realised had it not been because Mosisili believed in his potential and nurtured him for big political responsibilities.
To the LCD supporters Mosisili would express his positive appraisal to the emerging leader.
At times he called him Umthentjoa (A trusted herder of a flock). The ascendance of Metsing to the secretary general position within the party crowned the otherwise positive appraisal by the leader.
Mosisili’s ability to appeal to the grassroots masses which is basically the support base of the LCD has boosted Metsing as an emerging leader.
This Metsing will surely miss. On the other hand, Mosisili will miss Metsing’s ability to communicate firmly but not harshly. During the post-2007 General Elections resistance, Metsing would strongly communicate government position but measured his statements to avoid antagonising opposition parties. His ability to work with opposition and appeal to the different sides and sectors of society is what Mosisili will definitely miss. Although they are now both leaders, their comparison may not be the criterion LCD members will use to determine whether to stay with LCD or go to DC.
This is because the fight has not been between Metsing and Mosisili in the first place.
It was a fight between Metsing and the faction that eventually Mosisili sided with. So in deciding which party to join many in the LCD will consider who Mosisili has gone with. If they find him going with leadership material better than Metsing, they will follow him.I believe LCD people are not comparing Metsing with Mosisili. Rather, they are comparing Metsing with the calibre of the people who have moved with Mosisili to the DC. While there could be many reasons, the stiff resolve of LCD members to go with their leader may not have anything to do with him but an appraisal of those he is going with.
If this analysis contributes to the mammoth task of seeking to understand what is going on between DC and LCD in terms of people’s choices of going and staying, then it would be logical to conclude that both leaders miss each other.