“The revolutions were the easiest part of the work that they have to do. Building a political culture, driven by their elected leaders in government, is the major task that lies ahead.” –Chude Jidenowo
The suspension of Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane for six years on the 6th June 2019 – at a special Party conference of ABC from the ABC political party he founded thirteen years ago, as well as the suspension of his former secretary general Samonyane Ntsekele (old NEC) and current Nkaku Kabi (new NEC) is unsurprising. Intra-party factionalism has once again reared its ugly head, a characteristic of politicians at the end of their political career; yet, hold on believing they can revive it through ostracizing the new ABC NEC, “new kids on the block”.
The newly elected ABC NEC, elected in February 2019, is referred to as being the “Mahao faction”.
Dr Nqosa Mahao was elected as Deputy Party Leader in the above-mentioned election, much to the chagrin of PM Thabane. As the outgoing Vice Chancellor of the National University of Lesotho, Dr Mahao is a career academic and is the older brother of the late LDF Army General Maaparankoe Mahao who was the first Army General to be executed in June 2015.The reason for the mentioning of the slain army general is that the forced exiling of Thabane and the tragedy that befell the Mahao family, had sincerely united both influential leaders and worked to get PM Thabane elected through a sympathy vote. The two leaders have since had a spectacular falling out.
The reason for the falling out is shaped by numerous factors, male ego and posturing for one, it is also rumoured that PM Thabane surrounds himself with frantic sycophants’ and the most prevalent rumour is of the First Lady being the de facto leader of the country.
Dr Mahao has ran with this “bedroom coup” narrative , mentioning it in an interview on NewzroomAfrika, a South African network interview, in blaming Lesotho’s perennial instability on the First Lady.
The election of Dr Mahao as the Deputy Leader in the new ABC NEC was seen as the ushering in of a visionary and technocratic leadership.
If he was to succeed PM Thabane and be elected to the highest office by law of succession in politics, he would on paper, be the most educated Prime Minister Lesotho could ever have.
Dr Mahao’s credibility comes from his turnaround of the National University of Lesotho, as VC he saved a university that had functionally collapsed and was bankrupt in every sense of the word.
He is an intellectual who has proven himself to be more than capable and it is assumed that he can transfer that aptitude to country level , a lot more complex in nature, but anything is better than the passivity and frankly condescending manner of previous and current governments.
I find him however to be ambiguous on what it is that he stands for, besides deriding factionalism that he has benefitted from, the sexist remarks about a bedroom coup being orchestrated is an easy escape route, because an entire country can be brought down to its knees by a Helen of Troy. Will his campaign be centred on how a country was nearly ruined by a single woman?
A single woman defeated trade agreements, curtailed aid and stopped the release of an MCC compact worth more than a billion rand; did she also single-handily defeat the efforts of SADC and a whole government to implement reforms?
The denigration of the First Lady is hip in Lesotho politics, also referenced by primary opposition parties such as DC/ LCD as the bane of the coalition government a statement no doubt mirroring the ingenuity of its upright political history.
The cystic patronage network that feeds on governments is what curtails successful governments.
I find it hard to believe a woman who is alleged to be “barely educated” from the remote Mokhotlong region which regularly gets snowed under every winter, can successfully out manoeuvre an entire cabinet of career civil servants, parliamentarians, academics and technocrats? The irony is that she fits the profile of the average Mosotho women who began life as an informal trader, a rural to urban migrant who leaves the highlands to work in the lowlands or migrates beyond that.
I find Dr Mahao’s misogyny to be jarring, as how would he then help grow an economy in which more women than men are employed in the formal economy?
Would he thus prefer women in his cabinet, assuming to be as educated as him, with the confidence to question his authority in key government positions being complacent?
The First Lady’s character flaws are being amplified and used as a cloak and dagger rouse to escape accountability from an anticlimactic coalition government. Winning an election is the easy part, to canvass voters is routine, I would have to say Lesotho is plagued by empty nationalism, we project our aspirations to our leaders, we do not actually listen to what it is that they have to say, which is usually empty spirited rhetoric but we interpret this as charisma.
Some would then say but we should not impede talented people, who have important value to add to the country we say we love.
We will have to mentally and then physically build our country based on an understanding of where we are coming from and where we can go; based on a set of ideas and concepts that are inspired by and guided through the sociology (who we are), history (where we are coming from), philosophy (how we think), even cosmology (how we view the unseen) of both our constituent parts and the constructed whole.
Two, we misjudge the character of those who enter into government, projecting our principles and aspirations on to them and thus mis-imagining—or unfairly pre-empting—how they will conduct themselves in office. But thirdly, and most alarming: the trappings of government office in Nigeria are simply not conducive to reality.