MASERU — Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) stalwart Mpho Malie believes Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s decision to form the Democratic Congress (DC) and establish a new government was a blessing for the LCD.
The former trade minister who is also a member of the LCD’s elders’ committee was speaking last night, hours after Mosisili used his new party to topple the LCD from government.
Below are excerpts of the interview he had with the Lesotho Times.
Lesotho Times (LT): What is your opinion on the Prime Minister’s decision to form a new party and the events that happened in parliament?
Malie: I think it is a blessing. You don’t need to be fighting all the time in a party that is in government. You need to focus on national issues. You don’t stand as a ruling party and have squabbles. I think nobody likes splits but this (split) was for the better.
We had become very diverse, people had their own objectives that were not in line with the vision of the party.
LT: Would you agree that there are no fundamental issues that led to this split?
Malie: Yes it was based on issues of power. What is happening is that it’s an issue of succession. There were problems on the succession issue. The leader had his own person he wanted to push to power. He wanted to circumvent the party structures to do that. This has happened, he (Mosisili) has gone out with his crown prince. It was not about the vision and objective of the party but he wanted his own person (to succeed him). We were saying as a party that stands in government we should do things correctly. I think the party had been hijacked by people in the Cabinet. These people thought that the Cabinet is superior to the party.
LT: What impact will the split have on the LCD?
Malie: I think the impact will be seen in the next election. Most of the 45 MPs that crossed the floor in parliament are disgruntled MPs. These are people who lost the primary elections and are not sure about their future. I looked at them. They looked like people that wanted to see themselves on the PR list. They had no option but to seek a new home.
LT: You were one of the people who crossed the floor from the Basutoland Congress Party (BCP) in 1997 to form the LCD. How different was that split to this one?
Malie: It was very different. There was a departure on principles. The BCP had been a struggle party and there were people in the structures who wanted to continue with that line of thinking. There were lots of people who were in the Lesotho Liberation Army in exile fighting the Basotho National Party government and they wanted to continue with the mentality. But we were saying we are now in government and we should behave differently.
The other difference was that the whole parliament at that time was BCP. It was unlike today where there are lots of parties and alliances.
It was different. Now it’s not about principles but basically about how do I move forward? Of course over the years there have been some fundamental differences we have had. We are now talking about limiting the Prime Minister’s terms to two. It’s a practice all over the world.
LT: Who do you blame for this split?
Malie: I would put the blame squarely on the leader himself without any shame or fear. When you become a leader after a split you have to look at how you can unite the party. Then you have the second split. And then in the third split you are the actual cause of that split. The question is how do we address such an issue.
LT: And what is Minister Monyane Moleleki’s role in the whole issue?
Malie: With him I think this has gone well. When you have those ambitions it’s not about the party’s vision and objectives. It’s not about any solid issues but your ambitions. It is not about any clear objective for the party.
LT: What is the LCD’s strategy going forward?
Malie: The issues are there. These issues need to be tackled. We have to focus on the economy and reduce unemployment especially among the youths. We have the issues of health and HIV.
We know that there is the Vision 2020 to work towards. We have the Millennium Development Goals to achieve. All these are challenging issues. Also, we cannot shy away from the fact that our education system is not delivering the skills that the economy needs. There is unrest in our tertiary institutions. Then there is the issue of poverty and many other problems we have to tackle.