Lesotho’s own Congressgate
THE United States (US) had the Watergate scandal. Brazil has the impending impeachment of a sitting president and South Africa has Nkandlagate. Not to be outdone, Lesotho now has its own version of these sandals; what I aptly-named Congressgate.
On 30 May 2016, radio listeners and social media aficionados, woke up to an audio recording that will surely have far-reaching consequences on the political future of Lesotho, in particular the Congress movement.
To bring a fuller understanding of the seismic proportions of the effects of the Lesotho recordings, I purposely drew comparisons with the US, Brazil and South Africa to fully assess the far-reaching magnitude of this recording. Let me, therefore, briefly recount for your assessment, what the three scandals entail.
Similarity to US Watergate Scandal Firstly, the Watergate scandal in the US led to the resignation of then President Richard Nixon on 8 August 1974. Watergate is one of the plushest hotels in the American capital, Washington.
The investigation into Watergate that led to the resignation of the President are a case study in the operation of the American Constitution and political values.
The Judiciary Committee of the US Congress considered the impeachment of Nixon, by accepting three of the four proposed Articles of Impeachment.
The final blow came with the decision by the Supreme Court to order Nixon to release more White House tapes. One of these became known as the “smoking gun” tape when it revealed that Nixon had participated in the Watergate coverup as far back as 23 June 1972, leading to calls throughout the US for the 37th President to resign.
The term “Watergate” is a general term used to describe a complex web of political scandals between 1972 and 1974. It is a term that has entered the political lexicon as a term synonymous with corruption and scandal. It was at this world-famous hotel that burglars broke into the Democratic Party’s National Committee offices on 17 June, 1972. If it had not been for the alert actions of Frank Wills, a security guard, the scandal may never have erupted.
Political investigations into Watergate began in 1973, February, when the Senate established a committee to investigate the Watergate scandal. The public hearing of the Committee were sensational, including the evidence of John Dean, Nixon’s former White House Counsel. The Committee also uncovered the existence of the Secret White House tape recording, sparking a major political and legal battle between Congress and the President.
Watergate had profound consequences in the US. There was a long list of convictions and other casualties. For example, the aftermath of Watergate ushered in changes in campaign finance reform and a more aggressive attitude by the media.
Similarity to Brazil’s Petrobas Scandal Secondly, in Brazil, after months of determined resistance from President Dilmar Rousseff, the Brazilian Congress finally voted to have her impeached for corruption involving billions of dollars and for engaging her predecessor as her chief-of-staff, presumably to shield herself and the predecessor from possible prosecution.
To this day, as I put pen to paper, the reverberations throughout Brazil are still sending shockwaves, with the president claiming it is a coup by the Brazilian Congress to oust a democratically-elected president. We are still awaiting the outcome of the impeachment proceedings, in
LCD Spokesperson Teboho Sekata.