Tha­bane should get his pri­or­i­ties right

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

IF ever there was an an­ti­cli­max in the his­tory of Le­sotho’s pol­i­tics, few will be more pal­pa­ble than former pre­mier thomas tha­bane’s de­ci­sion yes­ter­day to tes­tify be­fore the SADC Com­mis­sion of In­quiry in cam­era.

Con­sid­er­ing that the na­tion, and in­deed the world, was await­ing to hear Dr tha­bane, it was cer­tainly a big let­down that he opted to speak be­hind closed doors. the former prime min­is­ter is also likely to have be­mused the mul­ti­tudes of his sup­port­ers who had gone to thaba ‘Nchu to lis­ten to his tes­ti­mony in per­son.

the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) leader is cer­tainly within his rights to choose to tes­tify in cam­era. the op­tion was availed to wit­nesses who would be afraid to speak their minds fear­ing for their safety. how­ever, the fact that Dr tha­bane is al­ready in ex­ile means that his safety was not in im­me­di­ate jeop­ardy.

Con­sid­er­ing that other ex­iled op­po­si­tion lead­ers and sol­diers had been bold enough to make no-holds-barred tes­ti­monies, the ABC leader should have also done the same as a show of sol­i­dar­ity with his fel­low ex­iles. the ex­iles who tes­ti­fied cer­tainly stuck their necks out with their chill­ing ac­counts of tor­ture, and the ques­tion they are likely to ask is what se­crets would Dr tha­bane not want to di­vulge in front of Ba­sotho and the world?

What is ap­par­ent is that the former pre­mier did not want to an­tag­o­nize the gov­ern­ment, with whom he is seem­ingly con­tin­u­ing to hold talks. While di­a­logue is an im­por­tant as­pect in end­ing the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal cri­sis, Dr tha­bane can­not se­cure his in­ter­ests at the ex­pense of the other ex­iles.

he needs to show lead­er­ship to both the ex­iles and sup­port­ers at home. oth­er­wise, he risks dis­en­fran­chis­ing both by be­ing per­ceived as a po­lit­i­cal player rather than a man of the peo­ple.

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