MASERU — Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili was the author of his own downfall but he can still salvage his reputation by quitting active politics, analysts have said.
After 15 years of loyal public service at the top, Mosisili has done his part and has nothing to lose if he quits party politics, they added.
Mosisili quit the former Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party in February and formed the Democratic Congress following a bitter two-year internal tussle for the control of the former ruling party.
But the decision to form the DC three months before a general election backfired last Saturday after his new party failed to garner a clear majority to allow it to form government.
The DC won 48 of the 120 seats in parliament, 13 short of the required 61-seat majority.
The opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) led by Thomas Thabane claimed 30 seats while the LCD won 26 seats.
The Basotho National Party won five seats with other smaller parties grabbing the rest of the seats.
In a dramatic twist to Lesotho’s often dour politics, the ABC, LCD and BNP announced last week that they were planning to set up a coalition government with Thabane as prime minister and LCD leader Mothetjoa Metsing as his deputy.
The coalition is still to come up with a role for BNP leader Thesele ’Maseribane.
Analysts who spoke to the Sunday Express said Mosisili brought this upon himself when he defected from the LCD to form the DC earlier this year.
Lira Theko, the Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (LCN) president, says the best Mosisili can do to protect his legacy would be by resigning from active politics.
“It will be in his best interest to leave active politics and only contribute as an ordinary Mosotho man,” Theko said.
“That way he will attract more respect.”
Theko said the DC’s failure to garner a clear majority was an indictment on the party’s leadership.
“This party needs to reassess itself and see where its weaknesses are,” he said.
Theko said the DC’s failure to have enough seats to form government showed that “the people wanted change” and it is time that the DC seriously examines its options.
“The DC should not fold its arms and rest. It should work hard to strengthen its structures if it wants to be relevant in the next general election,” he said.
Nchafatso Sello, a civil society activist, said after failing to win a majority Mosisili will have a herculean task to win back the trust of the people.
“It is going to be difficult for him to command the little respect he once enjoyed,” Sello said.
The failure to win a majority could signal the beginning of the end of the dominance of congress parties in Lesotho since the re-introduction of democracy in 1993.
Sello said Mosisili had benefited immensely from being “Ntsu Mokhehle’s anointed one”.
The charismatic Mokhehle was a former leader of the LCD who handpicked Mosisili as party leader in 1997.
“People looked upon Mosisili as Mokhehle’s anointed one and they rated him highly until he defected to form the DC,” Sello said.
He said it would however be wrong for people to dismiss Mosisili as a spent force in Lesotho’s politics.
“He still has time to collect the scattered pieces of his party,” Sello said.
National University of Lesotho’s Professor Kopano Makoa said Mosisili lost the election because he was seen as weak in fighting corruption in higher places.
He also failed to deal with the internecine struggles within his former LCD party.
“Mosisili is leaving office at a time when people wondered whether he could run this country any further,” Makoa said.
“The last 15 years demonstrated that he was a weak leader. He was never a strong leader,” Makoa, an active member of the BNP, said.
Makoa said Basotho will find it difficult to forget how Mosisili mismanaged the country. He said this will make it difficult for him to have any influence in Lesotho’s politics.
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