Cope faces huge problems

WILL Cope follow Bantu Holomisa's United Democratic Movement and fizzle out into political oblivion, or will it be the first official black opposition?

It appears that Cope won't be able to resuscitate the hype it created when it was formed. Leading to the elections, it presented itself as the next official opposition and some people bought into that lie. But Mosiuoa Lekota's party had a rude awakening after elections.

Cope committed a cardinal mistake by making Bishop Mvume Dandala its face for the elections. The cleric was brought in as a compromise candidate and that didn't work in Cope's favour. The party has admitted as much.

It is no surprise that the darling of the media (Cope) now makes headlines for all the wrong reasons. It was formed in a hush-hush manner and its interim leadership was appointed on consensus.

Now that has come back to haunt them. It is clear that Cope is in crisis, though it vehemently denies it.

Recent media reports about the power struggle in Cope and poor financial status doesn't inspire confidence. Its senior communications staff have left because of payment problems. Funders are said to be playing a wait-and-see game because they are unhappy with the leadership (read Lekota).

A Cope spin doctor says Lekota will only be removed by an elective conference - as if he was democratically elected.

A party member Simon Grindrod did an unsolicited autopsy on the state of affairs at Cope. His gloomy analysis leftthe leadership hopping mad. The country's third powerful political party is divided into a Lekota and a Mbhazima Shilowa cliques.

Word has it that Shilowa supporters are canvassing for Cope to hold its elective conference soon. There is no denying that Cope is facing serious political challenges. Unless it is honest with itself, its downward spiral will continue.

Thabile Mange, Kagiso