Annointed successors a threat to democracy

LESOTHO’S political parties are certainly going through turbulence.

It is only those who are politically blind who will oppose this statement.

The political turbulence is on the whole a manifestation of lack of intra-party democracy within parties.

However, we still expect these political parties to be custodians of our fragile democracy.

This article will seek to explain what needs to be done to protect our young democracy.

First, there is need for unfettered competition for leadership positions within political parties.

The current trend of hand-picking successors should not be acceptable.

It has the potential of inflicting untold harm on our democracy.

In fact it will also in the long run compromise the quality of leadership that we get at the end of the day.

Members of political parties should be given more space to decide who should lead their political parties.

Time has come for the country to explore all avenues if we are to come up with people with impeccable qualities who can take over the leadership of this country.

Political parties must create space for people who aspire to become leaders to campaign openly before their members.

Aspiring for political office should not be seen as treasonous.

It is only when there is space that members of the same political party will openly campaign for the top job and stop suing each other over malicious accusations.

In addition, electing individuals for the country’s top job should be based on what the individual has to offer.

It should be a rational decision.

We all know that people often base their decisions on the charisma, eloquence and credibility of the individual as well as the person’s track record.

Basotho deserve an individual who thinks of the greater good of the nation as opposed to his or her personal interests.

We do not want a leadership that gets into power thinking it is now “their time to eat”.

That warped thinking should have no space in the modern age.

The leaders in government should not be seen to be heading private sector initiatives.

The role of government ministers is to create space and an enabling environment for individuals and firms to engage in business.

They should not be seen to be winning government contracts themselves.

Neither should their closest family members be seen to be directly exploiting these links to further their business interests.

In my opinion very few small and medium enterprises have benefited since the establishment of the smart partnership and private sector foundations a few years ago.

The head of government should be at the forefront in demanding better delivery of services and empowering Basotho entrepreneurs.

Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili should also ensure that no one gets a ministerial position for life.

Such a practice creates laxity within government ministers.

He should keep ministers on their toes.

We also expect that political parties will constantly change those in leadership positions.

The days of life presidencies within political parties are gone.

No one should expect to serve as a party leader for life.

At present it looks like there is no alternative political party that is stable enough to form government that will drive economic development of Lesotho beyond its current least developed country status.

A closer look at the congress movement in Lesotho will reveal that the movement is quite effective in mobilising people to garner votes during election time.

But beyond elections the movement dismally fails to rally the people behind government policies.

Look at how the government has failed to rally the people to plough their own fields so that this country can realise food security and food sovereignty.

Lesotho needs to produce enough to avoid the shame of begging for food packages from other nations.

People who aspire for national office must demonstrate that they are willing and ready to serve.

I also think these individuals should be made to declare their assets before assuming office.

This will help stop them from falling into the limitless pit of corruption.

We need a transparent process of electing a clean leadership that will take us beyond the 2012 elections.

On the whole however we should come out of the current political wrangling stronger and focused as a nation.

All the energy should be channelled towards the development of the lives of the people.

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