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Metsing set the pace for 2012 election campaign

Sofonea Shale

THE first public appearance of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) since Pakalitha Mosisili served it with divorce papers and the maiden speech of its new leader Mothetjoa Metsing will necessitate change of Democratic Congress campaign strategy.
Since its formation DC has on a number of counts, scored significant political points, a political reality whose impact on the impression formulation of voters can only be undermined at the peril of their competitors.
First, the DC leader retained the Premiership. Although he did so controversially the results clearly showed that he enjoys the majority support of the MPs in the National Assembly.
Changing political identity in parliament and remaining in power is a sign of strength and many people including MPs, who in their sober mind may not go with such a leader, may eventually act in a manner that they identify with the powerful.
Canvassing support and justifying the reason for the formation of a new party is easier when done by those retaining state power than those who lost it.
The state power which was critical for the LCD is now with the DC.
This means the accruing benefits of being the incumbent party went with a new party.
Lest the charge is rightly laid against this column for limited exposure, readers have to be reminded that the LCD itself was formed under similar moral political questions and parliamentary procedural controversies.
The only question could be why does it happen and why do we not learn from previous mistakes?
If our institutions are not led by people who can withstand political pressure, then our democracy will remain week.
The impressive public appearance of the DC at Ha Foso in recent weeks confirmed that Mosisili still has some support.
This made the DC leader’s claim that that LCD is deserted appear credible.
This explains the impressions upon which DC campaign strategy could have been based before Metsing was elected LCD leader and the party made its first public appearance without Mosisili.
But recent events have shown that the LCD is still very much alive and has a decent chance of winning the May 26 election.
The former ruling party’s special conference was the initial indication that the LCD is still alive.
It was still as busy and eventful as the LCD’s conferences before the split.
Nothing really could show that there has been such a huge change. You wouldn’t believe that this is the same party that has lost its leader of 15 years.
Most of the LCD’s stalwarts have not changed their allegiance and they still have control over government.
The election of Metsing as a leader did not come as a surprise given that his previous position as the secretary general had given him a significant head-start.
He is seen as the one who has been persecuted by the faction that later left the party with Mosisili to form the DC.
To many people he was a victim.
And he didn’t do badly in his maiden speech as the LCD leader.
In fact he showed the maturity that has been lacking in this election campaign period.
In his more than 45 minutes address, the young leader uttered no single inflammatory statement towards any political party or leader including DC and Mosisili.
Contrary to what could have been expected of a Mosotho leader emerging of a turbulent political situation as this, Metsing narrated what the new LCD with a progressive orientation will do if elected.
The soft spoken leader who demonstrated his little known robust oratorical skills promised a media policy approval within three months, a review of Limkonkwing University qualifications to ensure that graduates are accepted without question in the labour market, delegation of Public Service Commission recruitment powers to the ministries to ensure that government does not budget for the positions that are never filled yet many young people are unemployed.
In his metaphorical and Biblical oriented speech which referred to poverty facing Basotho as Goliath and himself and the LCD executive as David, Metsing set a tone and pace for 2012 elections and beyond which other leaders including Mosisili and Thomas Thabane will ignore at their own risk.
Following Metsing’s maiden speech all party leaders will have to give attention to real issues.
The fact that Metsing still retains the mature and voting loyalist LCD members and that he addresses real issues will certainly have an impact on how DC and other parties conduct their campaigns.

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