Connect with us


Coalition will hurt the DC



Last week the Democratic Congress (DC) issued a statement in which it made its position clear regarding the treason charges that have been levelled against Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD), Mothetjoa Metsing, and Movement for Economic Change (MEC) leader, Selibe Mochoboroane. The DC argued that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) through facilitator, Justice Dikgang Moseneke, brokered an agreement that is binding. Moreover, you will remember that the agreement introduced the famous Clause 10 which blocked until after the reforms the prosecution of politicians like Metsing and Mochoboroane. The Clause 10 was contested in the courts of law and it was declared illegal on the basis that it contradicts our Constitution. The courts ruled that the clause inhibits due process. The All Basotho Convention (ABC) spokesperson, Montoeli Masoetsa, told a local radio station, 357 FM, that his party believes in the rule of law and Metsing and Mochoboroane must therefore be charged. These events unfolded just as the DC leadership was already being accused of human trafficking and the ABC spokesperson claimed his party was in possession of evidence that implicates more DC leaders than those whose names came up in initial reports. These statements by Masoetsa make me think that this coalition is bound to hurt the DC and it’s leadership. It looks to me as if certain elements within the ABC are intent on ensuring they tarnish the image of their partners in the coalition. The events that took place this past week remind me that the ABC’s upward trajectory has always been dependent on it feeding on its partners. The word that can best describe the ABC is that it is a leech. Post the 2015 election corruption charges were launched against Metsing, and he was accused of swindling M53 million from the public purse. Metsing was the Deputy Prime Minister in the then coalition government which was a coalition led by the ABC, that also included the BNP. Metsing has since been proven innocent but after enduring a smear campaign by his former partners and losing ten of the twelve constituencies the LCD had in 2012 to the ABC. Coalition governments have become a common electoral outcome in our recent history. Both large and small parties have a chance to participate in government and hold important ministerial positions. My observation with the past four coalition governments is that there is a downside to being a coalition partner. After Metsing’s M53 million saga, the ABC then shifted its blame to the LCD. The party accused the LCD of failing to deliver on its promises. Looking at the last coalition government in which the Alliance of Democrats (AD) was a junior partner, it was blamed for everything that went wrong. In all ABC-dominated coalition government, junior partners must be made to suffer. It is apparent that the ABC’s behaviour towards the DC is nothing new. As with the LCD and the AD in the past, the DC ought to suffer for being a junior partner to the ABC. In fact, the signs are already clear. Just like previous junior partners, the DC will not be able to deliver or enact much of what they promised before they got into power. Although they campaigned on specific policies, they are finding it very difficult to implement them. For example, the most important policy promise the DC advocated was for the wool and mohair to be sold anywhere in the world. But their senior partners are making it difficult for this to happen, so that it can appear as if the DC failed the masses of our people. Another reason junior partners that are allied to the ABC face problems is that they are often unable to sufficiently differentiate themselves from their larger coalition partner. It seems to me that voters have difficulty distinguishing between the policy decisions of the prime minister’s party and the policy positions of its junior coalition partners. It appears that voters see little difference between junior and senior partners and thus see no reason to vote for the junior, less powerful party in the next election. Voters left the LCD in huge numbers after the ABC and LCD coalition government. And the AD was demonised and left out of the new coalition government. So, what can parties with smaller numbers do? I might not have an answer. However, this conundrum is even more problematic because I have also observed that parties that stay in the opposition do better electorally than those that join as junior partners. The DC performed much better as opposition in 2015. The ABC also performed very well as opposition in 2017. No surprise here, that is why more and more parties are beginning to become reluctant to join the ABC-led coalition government as junior partners. The DC was very bold in joining the coalition. I sincerely wish them a different outcome. But they should push their policy positions and make sure they are implemented. I am convinced that staying in the opposition for junior partners may be a better strategy than the power and prestige of joining a government. After last week’s conflict the DC has to seriously weigh the costs and benefits of continuing in this coalition government. Truth be told coalition governments are inherently unstable, ineffective, and messy. Members of different political ideologies assemble into a coalition for the sole purpose of being in power, or denying their political enemies a chance to form the government. Every coalition member is a competitor in his or her own right, so trust is absent. Between 2012 and 2017, Basotho went to vote a record three times, an unpardonable expense for a relatively poor country. We are on a fourth coalition government today. During this period, nothing consequential got implemented at the policy level. Coalition governments have left a very bitter taste in the mouths of our people over the years. The previous coalition led by former Prime Minister Thomas Thabane was the worst. The DC is yet to be tested. If they are to perform better than the previous junior partners, they should stand for what they believe in, and push for the implementation of their policies. Ramahooana matlosa

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Copyright © 2022. The Post Newspaper. All Rights Reserved