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Another political party joins the fray

by Lesotho Times
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ANOTHER year, another month and another party is set to enter the political fray fronted by former Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) secretary-general and current Small Business Development Minister, Selibe Mochoboroane- adding to the plethora of political formations already in the country.

The new party is called the Movement for Economic Change (MEC).

And what are we to make of this political new kid on the block and the propensity of our beautiful tiny mountain kingdom to churn out political parties the way some would throw around confetti at a wedding?

The country already boasts of an impressive 25 registered political parties but there are lots more unregistered and probably more that will be formed to cater for approximately two million citizens as at the last published census figures 10 years ago.

It is in this area if not anywhere else where we can lay claim to being democratic and if the trend continues, the bookmakers would dare not take bets on the probability that we may end up having a political party for every adult who has attained the legal age of voting.

There are many among us who are always seeing the dark side of things and these could be seeing in Mr Mochoboroane’s and others’ moves to form political parties, an unbridled quest for political power for selfish reasons.

The pessimists would say that it is not about the altruistic zeal to make a positive change in the country’s socio-political and economic fortunes.

They would say that this is driven by the simple realisation that political power and connections are the prerequisites for getting those lucrative tenders which are important for the crude process of primitive accumulation and self-aggrandisement.

But Mr Mochoboroane has said the MEC is different from Lesotho’s other parties because it is “relevant to the time and challenges Lesotho currently faces”.

He identified the challenges as economic stagnation, poor service delivery and high unemployment, especially among youths.

“We believe that Basotho are the only people who can take charge and develop the country’s economy. Lesotho’s economy has a capacity for growth if local products were promoted and taken seriously,” Mr Mochoboroane said, adding Lesotho’s natural resources were not benefitting its people “as should be the case”, adding his party would work towards addressing that “anomaly”.

The MEC, he said, would mostly target youths and women as their core constituency.

“This is because those two groups are more marginalised than all other sections of society.”

Fine words indeed but then again it is the kind of language that most Basotho have heard before.

King Solomon, the wisest man ever to walk this earth, wrote in the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes that all is vanity and there is nothing new under the sun.

The odds are heavily stacked against most politicians delivering something new, more so in this country where most political outfits are splinter organisations which have split many times over without significantly altering the country’s socio-political malaise and economic stagnation.

But we are all for giving people chances to prove themselves before pronouncing judgement.

Despite our general pessimism with politicians over the long course of our 50 years of independence, we will afford Mr Mochoboroane the benefit of doubt. And we do so with some apprehension caused by the fact that he is intent on clinging to the ministerial position even as his former boss, deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing points out that he only got the position by virtue of being a member of the governing party.

We hope that this is not a classic case of wanting to have your cake and eat it too.

When all has been said and done, Mr Mochoboroane and others who have also formed their own political parties will be judged on the basis of their ability to walk their own talk.

And it is our sincere hope that though politicians’ promises be brittle as lovers’ oaths, this political new kid on the block will prove to be made of different metal.



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