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    Cope is a symbol of failure and dictatorship

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    Cope is a symbol of failure and dictatorship

    Post by Nameless on Wed May 22, 2013 8:31 am

    Political pluralism is necessary for any democracy to thrive and prosper. There are some political parties which inspire hope and confidence among the people. On the other hand, there are some parties which do not add any value to our constitutional democracy. Indeed some opposition parties do not add any significant value to multi-party democracy. I speak of opposition parties whose sheer existence does notcontribute to the consolidation of our constitutional democracy. And one of such parties is Congress of the People (Cope). At national level, Cope is politically dysfunctional and organizationally backward. Since its formation in 2008, it has never succeeded in hosting any national elective conference. It lacks long-term organizationalvision and clarity of purpose.
    Since August 2009, two rival factions have been at each other’s throats over who should lead the party. The tug-of-war between Mosiuoa Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa has caused irreparable damage to the party’s public image. The 1,3 million citizens who voted for Cope in 2009 General Elections are obviously seething with nostalgic regrets. I can imagine them saying: “What a terrible waste!”
    In Limpopo, political odds are mercilessly stacked against Cope. It has suffered a monumental exodus of highly experienced leaders and members since 2011. In April 2011 the then-Provincial Chairperson of Cope, Sello Moloto, abandoned the sinking ship and returned to the ANC. As if that was not enough, the party’s impressive provincial spokesperson, Ike Kekana followed suit. Other disgruntled and disillusioned branch leaders have publicly announced their departure from the dying party. In politics, whenever a particular leader defects to another party, he/she is usually followed by his/her loyalists and supporters. Resultantly, Solly Mkhatshwa took over from Sello Moloto and became theparty’s provincial leader. Last year, Cope’s big boss, Lekota instructed Mkhatshwa to step down from his post as Leader of Official Opposition in the Limpopo Legislature. Mkhatshwa refused to step down and vowed to fight “tooth and nail” to retain his seat in the Limpopo Legislature. Unfortunately, Mkhatshwa lost that battle and he was replaced by an unknown Patrick Sekhutse.
    Another critical problem is that Cope has become a one-man show. In almost all media reports concerning Cope you will find mention of the name “Mosiuoa Lekota”. Lekota’s autocratic and hegemonic tendencies seem to suggest that he is the party’s leader, spokesperson, secretary and treasurer. Surprisingly, he is the only person who is ‘authorized’ to speak to the media about Cope. Lekota also calls himself “Cope President” despite the fact that he was never elected to that position by party members. That is dictatorship at best and autocracy at worst.
    The most fundamental problem with Cope is that it was formed by very angry and agitated former leaders of the ANC. A friend of mine once cautioned that: “Anger is an enemy of logic.” Any organization which is founded on “hyper-tensional anger” is doomed to fail and collapse. A lethal mixture of personal squabbles, toxic anger and ideological confusion are to blame for Cope’s chronic failures. Personal squabbles have been allowed to assume supremacy over the party’s long-term objectives and strategies. It is highly possible that the party cannot manage to survive and exist beyond the 2014 General Elections. Cope is the most dysfunctional and failed political party in the country.
    Elvis Masoga is a political analyst.

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