THE turmoil within the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) reached boiling point last week.
Seventeen constituencies wrote to the party’s secretary general Mothetjoa Metsing calling for the dissolution of the entire national executive committee.
Previously the constituencies had wanted the committee disbanded save for party leader Pakalitha Mosisili and his deputy Lesao Lehohla.
By calling on Mosisili and Lehloha to step down, the constituencies have stepped up the stakes in a fierce battle for the control of the ruling party.
The call to disband the national executive and last week’s crisis meeting by the LCD’s executive committee clearly bring to the fore the ongoing tussle for power within the party.
We think the turmoil within the ruling party bodes ill for the country as it will divert the government from fulfilling its national mandate.
Such infighting will slow down the government’s fight against poverty and derail its intention to improve service delivery to the people.
It could also seriously dent the party’s prospects in a key general election next year.
It is not in dispute that the LCD is facing these problems because there is a clear fight over who will succeed Mosisili if and when he steps down.
We however believe these problems bedevilling the LCD could have been avoided.
The party could have pre-empted these problems by coming up with a clear succession plan that leaves no one in doubt as to when Mosisili will pave way for a successor.
Regrettably, the party has sought not to take that route, at least in the public arena. We therefore have individuals who might believe it is treasonous to discuss the issue of succession.
The result is that we have factional leaders who feign allegiance to Mosisili during the day only to sit in dark corners at night to plot his ouster.
Mosisili has done fairly well in improving the lives of the people. But the truth is no one, even within the LCD, knows when he intends to pass on the baton.
It is this failure to be open about the succession issue that could be breeding the tension within his own party, which is regrettable.
We think the LCD would do itself a world of good by coming up with a clear, unequivocal roadmap regarding the direction the party will take post-2012 elections.
It would be in the party’s interest to do so.
That way the LCD leadership will be able to successfully manage the succession issue and deal with the infighting that is threatening to wreck the party.
Mosisili has been at the helm of the LCD since 1997.
After 14 years in power we think it is in Mosisili’s interest to start planning for life after the premiership.
As we have argued in previous editorials Mosisili will etch his name into posterity if he were to voluntarily hand over power to a successor when he is still on top of his game.
The LCD must learn from what is happening in North Africa and the Arab world.
No government is immune from facing the same fate.
The LCD leadership must realise that political parties that have failed to regenerate themselves often fall by the wayside.
It would be in its interest that the LCD strives to promote greater internal democracy and transparency within itself on the issue of succession.