Home Scrutator A very good man, tainted by the bug of association

A very good man, tainted by the bug of association

by Lesotho Times


Anyone who has associated with Ntate Mathibeli Mokhothu in one way or another will attest that he is a very good man. Immensely handsome, suave, erudite to an extent  with a disarming tinge of humility. He is the archetypal good politician who tries to listen to all and sundry. There is no doubt that if Moruo (aka RFP) had not happened,  Ntate Mokhothu will be in State House right  now, notwithstanding the widespread displeasure with career politicians.  His Democratic Congress did fairly well, scoring an impressive second. Though it could have done better.

Ntate Mokhothu might not be a policy hawk.  He might not be  intellectually lucid or astute, but he is nonetheless a good, decent politician. It’s a huge pity that he was undone by his association with the discredited, corrupt, useless and moribund All Basotho Convention (ABC) and the premiership of one Moeketsi Majoro. With everything we now know about the debilitating reign of Majoro, we can only conclude that it was never going to be an easy task being a deputy to the outgoing supremely incompetent premier.

Perhaps, Ntate Mokhothu would have done himself a huge favour if he had pulled out of the coalition on account of Majoro’s uselessness. He could also have just spoken out more about the obvious rot in the coalition he was part of. It’s perhaps a difficult thing to criticise a government that one is a cog in.

I am not sure how much power a deputy prime minister has. But this is an office that has no significant constitutional gravitas. It is there largely for decoration. It is still a significant pillar of coalition politics. As Ntate Mokhothu saw the ABC tearing itself apart, at the expense of service delivery, he could have broken ranks.

As he experienced first-hand Majoro’s lack of leadership and directionless, Ntate Mokhothu should have raised his voice. He should have staked his own claim to the premiership. Maybe he did not see Moruo coming. Maybe he opted to just stay in the coalition to see the ABC eliminating itself out of existence, and then him rising.

Whatever the case, his decision to remain in bed with the ABC despite the latter’s glaring shortcomings was a bad one. Hindsight is always the best master. Ntate Mokhothu has now been left in the lurch by the whim of association. When you are part of a coalition, you are bound by its successes and failings. As the ABC imploded, and as Majoro ran an incohesive and incoherent administration, the DC became part of the mess.

Ntate Mokhothu had done well to keep the DC united. He had done well to run his party as a cohesive force. But because he was in bed with a laggard, he became tainted by association. The failings of the ABC became his own. The  ABC’s contempt for voters became his own. Majoro’s reputation as the worst ever prime minister became his own. After all he was the eminent deputy. In the end, the DC had to pay the price. The lesson to draw from all this is that no one should remain in a coalition of convenience for the sake of wanting the niceties and trappings of office. If Ntate Mokhothu had pulled the plug on the moribund coalition that he was part of, perhaps we could be talking a different language now. We would be singing a different tune.

Be that as it may, Ntate Mokhothu still has a very critical role to play in Lesotho’s politics. As leader of the opposition, the role of ensuring that Moruo runs an accountable government now belongs to him. Any democracy needs an effective opposition. Opposition must not be just opposition for the sake of it. It must be more than just opposition. It must be grounded in articulate policy. It must be a government in waiting.

Once the Moruo cabinet is finalised, Ntate Mokhothu must appoint a mirror shadow cabinet.  Every shadow minister must track and monitor every move of the real minister. They must be able to articulate contrarian policies wherever needed. For credibility sake, they must support every good proposition by the real ministers.

Once an opposition party establishes credibility in the back benches, it can be trusted with power when the incumbents fail.

If the Moruo project fails, Ntate Mokhothu must be ready in the wings.  With the ABC all but dead, he has no competition in the opposition. He is the undisputed opposition leader for the next five years. The DC performed decently. But  Ntate Sam did the right thing to exclude the DC  from his coalition. A Moruo/DC coalition would have been immensely stable. But it would have defeated Ntate Sam’s whole renewal project.  Voters gave Moruo a landslide because they were looking for something new. Incorporating a party that had been in bed with Ntate Majoro’s inept formation would not only have been improper, it would have been akin to raping the voters. It’s therefore a good thing that the DC now resides in the opposition. It’s the DC’s role to ensure that Moruo delivers on its promises.

If things were normal in His Majesty’s Majestic kingdom, then other one or two seat “political parties” should simply have closed shop and joined the DC in the opposition benches. That would have ensued a strong opposition and entrenched a two party system to save the country of all resources being wasted in sdministering the 65 plus parties that we have.   But as long as there is a small window for a PR seat for the husband, nephew parties, that will not happen.

Still, Ntate Mokhothu should lead the opposition effectively. He is the official opposition leader. He must prove that he is a prime minister in waiting.   And in future, he must keep guard on who to associate with. His association with the once mighty ABC cost him dearly. It need not be in the future for such a worldwide handsome dude.




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