DEMOCRATIC Congress (DC) leader and outgoing Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili has said he is personally at fault for some of the infighting which has split the congress movement and plunged the country into an endemic spiral of snap elections.
The congress movement which was formerly a single entity as the Basotho Congress Party has endured several splits over the decades, including the 1997 split which resulted in the creation of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) in 1997.
There were other splits which gave birth to the Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC in 2002), All Basotho Convention (ABC in 2006), the DC in 2012 and the latest in December 2016 which yielded the Monyane Moleleki-led Alliance of Democrats (AD).
Addressing a joint DC-LCD rally in Qoaling early this week, Dr Mosisili said the infighting resulted in the coalition governments which were unstable so much such that the country had been forced to hold three elections in less than five years.
There were elections in 2012 and again in 2015.
The country will hold elections on 3 June and this follows the 1 March of collapse of the Dr Mosisili-led seven parties’ coalition government owing to a no confidence vote by the opposition bloc including the ABC and AD parties.
Dr Mosisili told the estimated crowd of 7000 followers that Mr Moleleki’s departure had made the congress movement, particularly the DC and LCD appreciate the need for dialogue and unity in order to win the up-coming elections.
“Having sat down and engaged in talks we realised that in 1993 when the congress party was still intact as BCP, we were as strong as a storm as we garnered all 65 constituencies and the nationals had not even one,” Dr Mosisili said, adding, this only showed that “unity is power”.
“We fought among ourselves in parliament even though we had no opposition, then established LCD in 1997 which made us weak and lose the 1998 elections and for the first time a totally dead BNP won the Bobatsi constituency.
“We should have seen that divisions and infighting weakens performance but we failed to learn.”
He said another split just before the 2002 elections resulted in the formation of the LPC and “in 2007, (former Prime Minister Thomas) Thabane also split from the congress and established the ABC and our strength was more reduced as he whisked away with him 17 constituencies”.
Dr Mosisili said although they still became government, they did not have the large majority of the past.
“As if this was not enough I also played my role in the divisions and tore away from the LCD to establish the DC.
“And for the first time we failed to form a government. Thabane only became Prime Minister because we had weakened ourselves with all these divisions and we really need to be fair with one another because straight talk breaks no friendship”.
He said in his first rally after the 2012 elections he had warned the LCD about their coalition with ABC and Basotho National Party, saying, “I said their union was as good as trying to mix water and oil, only to be belittled for that and called a nation divider, but I was right because that union did not last”.
Dr Mosisili said it having noted all these shortcomings, it was therefore incumbent upon the congress parties to unite.
“Let’s all heed that when we hold hands we are strong, vote for life, vote for the future and don’t make a fuss over who the candidate is in your constituency because you will not be voting that person but will be voting for the congress.”
He said it was high time that they won the urban constituencies “which the nationals have now turned them into their own”.
“They now think that they have conquered the territory and we need to prove them wrong. Fighting only makes us weak and I swear that if we stand together no rag shall stand before us,” he said.