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We expect better from ABC



PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane’s ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) party is going through turbulent times following hotly contested internal elections two weeks ago.
The elections saw Professor Nqosa Mahao being elected the party’s deputy leader after a bruising battle in the courts.
Instead of rejuvenating the party, Mahao’s election has left the ABC deeply divided.

The bitter acrimony has left political observers bewildered with some fearing that the party, which was the darling of the masses only two years, was on the verge of euthanising itself politically.
The fears of an implosion are real.
The events of the last two weeks give the clearest indication that the losing faction will not go quietly. They have since launched a court case to challenge Mahao’s election.
All this, in our opinion, was totally unnecessary.

The ABC, as the leading party in government, must lead by example by demonstrating strict adherence to its own rules.
By taking its dispute to the courts, the party has surrendered the initiative to outsiders to resolve what is essentially a political issue.
Of course the judges will sit in judgment to rule who is the bona fide deputy leader of the party. But that will not resolve the core issues at the centre of the leadership tussle within the party.
The Mahao issue and the election of the new executive committee is a political issue that can only be resolved politically. Judges will deliver a judgment based on the law but will not resolve the political issues at the core of the dispute.

There is no doubt that the two ABC factions are viscerally opposed to each other. This new court case will only drive a wedge between the two factions. Instead of bringing the party together, the court case will entrench the hostilities.
It is common cause that no two groups can take each other to court and thereafter remain friends. The damage the court process will inflict will therefore be immense.

The tragedy of the ABC case is that not even party leader, Thomas Thabane, can mediate between the two factions.
Where Thabane’s loyalties lie became clear in the run-up to the elections after he made some unsavory remarks against Mahao.
Now that Mahao and his faction have won the elections resoundingly, that has made Thabane’s possible position as mediator highly untenable.

It is for that reason that we can postulate that the Mahao faction probably sees Thabane as part of the problem and not the solution.
This ultimately presents the biggest test to Thabane’s acumen as leader. If not handled properly, the ABC, a party which he built from scratch 13 years ago, could implode.

That would mark the collapse of the coalition government and force yet another snap election.
Two weeks after the elections we still sense a bubbling sense of tension within the ABC with rumours of plots and counter-plots.
The ABC supporters are waiting to see how Thabane provides the necessary leadership in defusing this crisis.
But what is really sad about this current crisis is that it is not driven by any major ideological differences among ABC cadres. This is essentially a tussle for leadership positions.
That makes the whole fiasco really sad.



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