Fight for soul of the DC

Lesotho Times - - Opinions & Analysis -

FOR the past two months or so we have read, wit­nessed and heard about the in­ternecine in­fight­ing in the Demo­cratic Congress (DC). This in­fight­ing has lit­er­ally torn the DC into two dis­tinct group­ings.

These are the Liru­rubele fac­tion, loosely trans­lated to mean but­ter­flies and linked to DC deputy leader Monyane Moleleki and the Lithope fac­tion, loosely trans­lated to mean girl­friends and re­port­edly linked to DC leader, Prime Min­is­ter Pakalitha Mo­sisili.

What can­not be de­nied is that the DC, to­gether with the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC), are the two big­gest po­lit­i­cal par­ties in Le­sotho with roughly the same num­ber of vot­ers gar­nered na­tion­ally in the 2015 gen­eral elec­tions.

They also roughly have the same num­ber of con­stituency seats in the last gen­eral elec­tions, namely, 37 and 40 re­spec­tively. It there­fore makes sense, if you like, that with in­tense in­fight­ing within the DC, none of the two ad­ver­saries want to lose con­trol of the DC brand.

Clearly from the lat­est de­vel­op­ments in the in­fight­ing, both sides want to hold on to the brand and all the at­tributes that go with it. The soul of the DC is there­fore very im­por­tant to both sides in or­der to fur­ther their re­spec­tive po­lit­i­cal agen­das, and of course make po­lit­i­cal mileage out of the cur­rent im­passe.

The free en­cy­clo­pe­dia de­fines a brand as a name, term, sym­bol or other fea­ture that dis­tin­guishes one seller’s prod­uct from those of oth­ers.

Broadly speak­ing, po­lit­i­cal par­ties are brands in terms of mar­ket­ing and ad­ver­tise­ment. Lead­ers of po­lit­i­cal par­ties and their fol­low­ers lit­er­ally sell their par­ties to the largest num­ber of vot­ers so they can form a government by gar­ner­ing enough votes.

They em­bark on cer­tain mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion meth­ods that help to dis­tin­guish their party from com­peti­tors and there­fore cre­ate a last­ing im­pres­sion in the minds of the vot­ers.

A brand’s iden­tity may de­liver four lev­els of mean­ing namely, at­tributes, ben­e­fits, val­ues and per­son­al­ity. The DC, just like any brand, has all these four lev­els.

Be­fore I ex­pound on these four lev­els, let me briefly make an ob­ser­va­tion that the bat­tle for con­trol of the DC or rather for the soul of the DC, if you put it metaphor­i­cally, is man­i­fold but it cen­ters on the brand, DC.

This is be­cause both fac­tions are also in­ter­ested in stay­ing in government with the req­ui­site ma­jor­ity to have con­trol of the DC that will fi­nally trans­late to con­trol of government. It would there­fore be a huge loss to ei­ther for­ma­tion within the DC to lose con­trol of the party.

Through­out the mod­ern world, there is the branch of law that is called In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty that is specif­i­cally de­signed to pro­tect in­tan­gi­ble prop­erty that is the re­sult of cre­ativ­ity such as patents, copy­rights and trade­marks.

In or­der that I don’t fall foul of the rel­e­vant ad­ver­tis­ing stan­dards and re­quire­ments, in this col­umn it is im­por­tant to note that there are cer­tain brands that are known in­ter­na­tion­ally, re­gion­ally and do­mes­ti­cally which are pro­tected un­der In­tel­lec­tual Prop­erty law and statutes, specif­i­cally to pro­hibit un­due in­fringe­ments on the right of their orig­i­na­tors.

This equally goes for the DC. It is a brand broadly speak­ing along business and mar­ket­ing lines along with all the other po­lit­i­cal par­ties. That is why it has to be reg­is­tered in ac­cor­dance with cer­tain statu­tory re­quire­ments that may not be in­fringed upon by any­body.

Re­vert­ing to the four lev­els, the first one are at­tributes which are a set of la­bels with which the party wishes to be as­so­ci­ated. In the DC’S case, its con­sti­tu­tion pro­nounces it­self to be stead­fastly against cor­rup­tion and prom­ises to do all in its might to erad­i­cate to be iden­ti­fied with, as they are more likely to share sim­i­lar val­ues.

Four and be­lieve you me please, the DC has a per­son­al­ity. A po­lit­i­cal party can eas­ily be de­scribed as a suc­cess­ful brand iden­tity as it was a per­son.

This form of brand has proven to be the most ad­van­ta­geous in main­tain­ing long-last­ing re­la­tion­ship with the vot­ers, as it gives them a sense of per­sonal in­ter­ac­tion with the brand.

Col­lec­tively, all these four forms of a brand’s iden­tity help to de­liver a pow­er­ful mean­ing be­hind what a po­lit­i­cal party hopes to ac­com­plish and to ex­plain why vot­ers should choose one party over its com­peti­tors.

The DC, like all po­lit­i­cal par­ties and in­deed other brands in the com­pet­i­tive business and po­lit­i­cal bat­tle­field, has a brand that is ded­i­cated to ex­hibit­ing a strong brand cul­ture that is ded­i­cated to pro­duc­ing in­tan­gi­ble out­puts such as voter sat­is­fac­tion, in­clu­sive par­tic­i­pa­tory and grass­roots democ­racy and voter loy­alty.

The DC brand prom­ises to its fol­low­ers and po­ten­tial vot­ers that they can ex­pect longterm se­cu­rity, a com­pet­i­tive frame of ref­er­ence and a consistent de­liv­ery as well as emo­tional ben­e­fits.

When a voter is fa­mil­iar with a brand or favours it in­com­pa­ra­bly to its com­peti­tors, this is when a party has reached a high level of brand mar­ketabil­ity.

A po­lit­i­cal party brand like in the cor­po­rate world is the most in­tan­gi­ble as­set and most valu­able in the party’s pop­u­lar­ity, and in­tegrity.

A num­ber of fac­tors are in­evitably con­sid­ered in con­sid­er­ing the value of the brand of a po­lit­i­cal party, in this re­gard the DC. Con­tin­ues on page 22 . . .

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