The case for the congress al­liance

Lesotho Times - - Opinion & Analysis -

THIS ar­ti­cle stems from the 11 May 2017 ar­ti­cle in the Le­sotho Times by Pro­fes­sor Mafa Se­jana­mane ti­tled “Has the DC com­mit­ted po­lit­i­cal sui­cide?”

In the ar­ti­cle, Prof Se­jana­mane opines that the elec­toral pact be­tween the Demo­cratic Congress (DC) and Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (LCD) would fail.

In fact, he con­cluded that the agree­ment was tan­ta­mount to po­lit­i­cal sui­cide for the DC even be­fore the 3 June 2017 elec­tion.

I ve­he­mently dis­agree with him as will be ex­plained be­low. Prof Se­jana­mane cited the split from the DC by mem­bers who formed the Al­liance of Democrats (AD) and the split from the LCD by mem­bers who formed the Move­ment for Eco­nomic Change (MEC).

Prof Se­jana­mane also cited what he termed “the fast growth” of the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC). Lastly, he also fore­casted an elec­toral doom sce­nario for the DCLCD Al­liance.

The pro­fes­sor raised very in­ter­est­ing points al­though he was con­strained by his par­ti­san­ship. I must state from the out­set that I will not de­scent into par­ti­san ar­gu­ments.

I will ven­ture straight into po­lit­i­cal sci­ence ar­gu­ments in re­la­tion to the afore­men­tioned pos­tures.

The value of com­par­i­son lies with hu­man ac­tion to strive to un­der­stand the phe­nom­ena or a para- digm in dif­fer­ent re­spects.

In fact, Land­man (2000), puts it as a nat­u­ral hu­man ac­tiv­ity geared to­wards es­tab­lish­ing facts re­lat­ing to hu­man ac­tiv­ity, “from an­tiq­uity to the present, gen­er­a­tions of hu­mans have sought to un­der­stand and ex­plain the sim­i­lar­i­ties and dif­fer­ences they per­ceive be­tween them­selves and oth­ers. In short, to com­pare is to be hu­man”.

These im­por­tant points are very cru­cial when com­par­ing po­lit­i­cal al­liances such as the DC-LCD pact as pos­tu­lated by Prof Se­jana­mane.

He claims that the for­ma­tion of this al­liance is mo­ti­vated by per­ceived weak­nesses that both par­ties have ob­served rather than per­ceived strength.

The pos­tu­la­tion of the Se­jana­mane the­sis is want­ing be­cause it does not re­veal all sides of the story.

An al­liance or coali­tion gov­ern­ment is a mech­a­nism through which will­ing par­ties come to­gether to lead the na­tion.

Their agree­ment is usu­ally based on a shared pol­icy agree­ment they want to pur­sue in gov­ern­ment.

These types of gov­ern­ments or rather al­liances con­sist of two or more po­lit­i­cal par­ties who must com­pro­mise on prin­ci­ples and shared man­dates to gov­ern the coun­try.

For ex­am­ple, all Bel­gian cab­i­nets since 1954 have been coali­tions of two or more par­ties with more than but dur­ing po­lit­i­cal crises as well as dur­ing World War II from 19311940 in Great Bri­tain.

So the ar­gu­ment that the DC and LCD formed an al­liance be­cause of their per­ceived weak­nesses does not nec­es­sar­ily hold water.

The al­liance is sim­ply a po­lit­i­cal strat­egy and the ac­knowl­edge­ment and ac­cep­tance of po­lit­i­cal re­align­ment in the po­lit­i­cal sphere within the elec­torate.

Par­ties need to adapt to chang­ing po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic and so­cial cir­cum­stances if they have to sur­vive in a lib­eral democ­racy. The DC and LCD are there­fore not an ex­cep­tion to this change.

There are a plethora of ex­am­ples of po­lit­i­cal party de­cay and fail­ures as a con­se­quence of the in­abil­ity to per­form sat­is­fac­to­rily which drives the par­ties to change.

Par­ties need to ap­peal to a broad con­stituency of vot­ers.

The DC-LCD strat­egy is akin to this very ap­proach and, there­fore, it is grossly un­fair to de­monise them for their strat­egy. In fact, theirs is a per­fect strat­egy in our lib­eral democ­racy.

This strat­egy is nei­ther naïve nor sui­ci­dal as ar­gued by the ar­ti­cle but it is the best strat­egy geared to­wards max­i­miz­ing the two par­ties’ elec­toral strength.

There's the is­sue of the voter turnout in the 3 June elec­tion. In all pos­si­bil­ity, this might rub­bish the pro­fes­sor’s anal­y­sis.

It is not known how many Congress ide­ol­ogy sup­port­ers will be wooed back to the move­ment if there's a pos­si­bil­ity that it can re­group.

It is a sen­ti­men­tal is­sue close to Congress diehards’ hearts. There­fore, the com­ing to­gether of Congress par­ties may be the mas­ter­stroke that op­po­nents fear most. The Congress ral­lies are very im­pres­sive so far.

Both the lead­ers of Congress par­ties are an­i­mated and breath­ing fire, that’s what sup­port­ers want in a leader.

In fact, the resur­gence of the congress move­ment, as seen in cur­rent ral­lies, point us in this di­rec­tion. The Congress move­ment is emerg­ing with a thun­der­ous light­ning speed.

Le­sotho’s MMP sys­tem Le­sotho uses a Mixed Mem­ber Pro­por­tional Rep­re­sen­ta­tion (MMPR) elec­toral sys­tem or what is known as the Com­pen­satory Model.

This elec­toral sys­tem is founded on the prin­ci­ple that gov­ern­ments are formed by an agree­ment of will­ing par­ties.

These par­ties’ main in­ter­est is to in­flu­ence gov­ern­ment poli­cies and pro­grammes in the di­rec­tion

Con­tin­ues on Page 14


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