Lesotho’s inaugural coalition government, which appeared doomed only a fortnight ago, looks to have been finally saved, if the public show of affection by its leadership is anything to go.
After Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing had publicly accused Prime Minister Thomas Thabane of violating terms of the agreement which gave birth to the tripartite government in June 2012, subsequent events seemed to suggest the demise of the coalition administration was only a matter of time.
However, mediation efforts by the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other stakeholders, appear to have brought the three governing parties — Dr Thabane’s All Basotho Convention (ABC), Mr Metsing’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and the Basotho National Party (BNP) led by Chief Thesele ‘Maseribane —to an amicable agreement regarding their much-publicised misunderstanding.
Mr Metsing, who had been scathing in his attack of Dr Thabane’s alleged dictatorial tendencies and lack of consultation with his fellow principals when making key decisions with a bearing on good governance, leading to the spectacular fallout, has since been singing a completely different tune of allegiance to his two government partners.
The three leaders have also been seen together in public on several occasions over recent days, in a clear show that whatever disagreements might have existed between them, are now a thing of the past.
If this renewed affection is as genuine as it looks, then the development should be something to applaud as it signifies an end to what had increasingly become a worrisome situation due to its potential to bring untold mayhem to this nation.
The violence had already started with the burning of T-shirts bearing Mr Metsing’s image by certain communities angry at the deputy premier’s decision to sign an agreement with the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC), in anticipation of forming yet another coalition government.
But perhaps the most worrying development in the midst of the spectacular fallout were reports that the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF) could capitalise on the dispute and take over government.
However, these reports were quickly dismissed as baseless, while the generality of the public remained calm in a laudable show of political maturity.
On Friday last week, the three government leaders — Dr Thabane, Mr Metsing and Chief ‘Maseribane — were seen together at the pass-out parade of 247 members of the Lesotho Mounted Police Service, following another joint public appearance the previous week. The three leaders were again together at yesterday’s colourful commemoration of Armed Forces Day by the Lesotho Defence Force (LDF), in apparent confirmation of the renewal of their marriage vows.
The last thing Lesotho needs is anything that disturbs the relative peace that the country has enjoyed for so long.
According to Chief ‘Maseribane, who has been speaking on behalf of his fellow government leaders, the three parties are expected to sign a revised agreement on 10 July, aimed at ushering the government into a new era of cooperation, and hopefully, prosperity.
Should this undertaking come to pass — and the newfound friendship holds until the country goes to the polls in 2017—the three leaders would have shown commendable political tolerance and leadership qualities befitting of their high offices.