Democ­racy for whom the bell tolls

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In 1998, know­ing they could only get a field skewed in favour of the in­cum­bents, the op­po­si­tion signed for the In­terim Po­lit­i­cal Au­thor­ity (IPA) which saw them play sec­ond fid­dle to gov­ern­ment, in­stead of a pre­vi­ous de­mand for Gov­ern­ment of na­tional Unity or replica of the Tran­si­tional Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil (TEC) of South Africa.

While they fought over seats on the IPA, their lead­ing ac­tivists like Th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane who led the three-party Set­lamo youth as pres­i­dent of Bnp’s Thaka E Ncha were be­ing ar­rested willy-nilly, al­most on a daily ba­sis, and their lead­ers re­mained tight-lipped.

The in­cum­bents, sup­ported by some on the na­tional po­lit­i­cal left, in­sisted it was their pre­rog­a­tive “to re­store law and order”.

To­day it is Th­e­sele and Tha­bane who was on the “ar­rest­ing” side, whose spokes­men and ac­tivists are per­se­cuted while all eyes are on lead­ers’ pas­sage home from an ex­ile trig­gered by the same sol­diers who are hun­ters of their men; whereas their re­turn rides on the as­sump­tion that the mil­i­tary threat has sub­sided.

Some opine that they re­main non­plussed and trans­fixed, while the gov­ern­ment’s train of (se­cu­rity) re­forms on which they are as­sumed pas­sen­gers hur­tles to a de­fined desti­na­tion of ob­fus­ca­tion, kicked off with that mono­logue of the gov­ern­ment and its part­ners re­cently, as part of rolling out that roadmap it has pro­duced by it­self and for it­self, and pre­ceded by a tech­ni­cal work­shop on se­cu­rity re­forms, which the prime min­is­ter chris­tened as not ev­ery­body’s busi­ness, while also chastis­ing me­dia and civil so­ci­ety for fan­ning the ex­ist­ing pre­car­i­ous state on na­tional se­cu­rity which he had all along said did not ex­ist.

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