Clear time-table for succession needed

PRIME Minister Pakalitha Mosisili this week spoke again about his imminent retirement in yet another indication that he could be finally planning to exit the political stage.

The discussion could indicate that Mosisili is in fact thinking about retirement and passing on the baton to a successor.

This is to be commended.

Mosisili, who has been at the helm since 1998, has built an almost impeccable reputation as an astute organiser and leader.

He is credited with steadying the ship by bringing stability to Lesotho’s often turbulent politics.

But he can still do more.

He would join an illustrious small band of African leaders were he to voluntarily step down as prime minister.

We are happy that Mosisili is talking openly about retirement.

We hope the LCD will also start talking openly about this matter. Such talk is not treasonous.

But talk about succession needs to be couched in specifics.

The current discussion is muddied through lack of specific information regarding when Mosisili intends to pass the baton.

This is quite unhelpful to his ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party and the nation at large.

It is our humble submission that Mosisili’s reluctance to state when he intends to hand over power to a successor is largely to blame for the fierce battles that we are currently witnessing within the ruling party.

It is therefore only Mosisili himself who can stop this confusion.

He can do so by stating in very unambiguous terms the dates of his departure.

Of course no one is pushing that he be stampeded out of State House. Such a transition should be orderly.

This would be in the interest of our national security and the protection of our nascent democratic project.

But it is also true that the LCD is experiencing its worst crisis since it assumed power 14 years ago.

There is a risk that the party could implode if it fails to handle the succession dispute in a mature manner.

It is a well-known fact that the factionalism within the party is threatening to tear it apart.

Mosisili can play a statesman’s role to help heal the wounds and bring unity within his embattled party.

That process of healing, we feel, is directly connected to a clear time-table indicating when he intends to step aside.

The party can reap huge benefits if Mosisili were to indicate when he intends to call it quits.

It is also true that the current set-up where the future of the party appears to be beholden to the whims of an individual is clearly unsatisfactory.

This is where the party’s supreme decision making body, the national executive committee, should come in.

The party must consider introducing term limits for the presidency.

Term limits for both the party and country will stop this problem from recurring.

As we have argued before, succession planning is the hallmark of all successful organisations.

The hawks that have been angling for the country’s top job will only be neutralised when they know no one will over-stay in office.

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