Fight for soul of the DC
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 . . .