IT has been said when elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers most and nowhere is this truer than the present circumstances in this our beloved Mountain Kingdom.
Not long ago, there were festivities and merry-making as we celebrated our golden jubilee of independence with exhortations to make the next 50 years a period of accelerated growth to ensure economic development and prosperity for all and sundry.
But no sooner had all the dignitaries to our celebrations departed for their own countries than our politicians from the Democratic Congress (DC) started to tear at each other.
We have pleaded and remonstrated with leaders in the DC to bury the hatchet for the good of the country but to no avail.
We however hope that if they will not listen to us and the rest of the country, they will at least listen to the voice of the church which has now taken up the task of urging them to end the infighting which can only hemorrhage the country especially in economic terms.
As we report elsewhere in this edition, church leaders under the Christian Council of Lesotho (CCL) recently met representatives of the feuding DC factions to call for an end to the infighting that has crippled the National Assembly and hence service delivery.
CCL Secretary-General Khosi Makubakube this week said the council met with DC officials from across the factional divide to make them “understand the gravity of the infighting in the party”.
“We have no interest in the political issues surrounding the infighting or in mediating in their internal affairs. We are more concerned with how this infighting is crippling the oversight function of the National Assembly and affecting government as well as its ability to deliver services to the general public,” said Mr Makubakube.
For weeks, the nation has been on the tenterhooks, watching as the two factions traded blows. One day it would be the DC’s National Executive Committee (NEC) announcing a pullout from government and on the next it would Dr Mosisili announcing the suspension of his estranged NEC colleagues and calling a special conference to discipline the rebels and reassert his control of the party and government.
And it is indeed a show of bravado bordering on recklessness especially as the likes of deputy leader Monyane Moleleki has shown no qualms in declaring their intention to hold the national budget to ransom in parliament if they do not get their way in their fight with Dr Mosisili.
It is either “my way or the high way” as the factions struggle to the death, exhibiting the kind of brinkmanship that can only end in disaster for the country.
And indeed that disaster which used to be thought of as an improbable mirage has morphed into a likelihood with dire consequences.
There are real issues of service delivery that need to be addressed and even more there is the urgent need to address human rights and governance issues that could scupper our chances of remaining among the nations benefitting from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which allows us to make duty free exports to the United States. Losing AGOA would be economically and socially disastrous as it has helped create more than 40 000 direct jobs and many more through downstream industries. On 1 January 2017, the US will decide if we meet the eligibility criteria to keep benefitting and this includes tackling governance issues. But it would seem this is not on the list of our politicians’ priorities.
We once again urge the warring politicians not to wait until irreversible damage has been done. Bury the hatchet for the sake of the country please!