Cope papers over cracks

A CLOSER look at the weekend truce between the Congress of the People (Cope) leaders, Mosiuoa Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa, reveals it as merely a contrived show of public unity - albeit for a short while.

A CLOSER look at the weekend truce between the Congress of the People (Cope) leaders, Mosiuoa Lekota and Mbhazima Shilowa, reveals it as merely a contrived show of public unity - albeit for a short while.

It is a step engineered by the party for party president and deputy to feign peace without wrecking the process leading to the party's elective conference later this month, when the leadership contest will be resolved.

The main objective of their toenadering is to keep tensions out of the public arena to mitigate damage to the party's image.

With the stakes so high the bruising race for the party leadership might well expose the tenuousness of the peace pact.

The reality is that while both Lekota and Shilowa and their supporters have buried the hatchet, they will not forget where they buried it.

As for Lekota's apology to Shilowa for making public allegations of financial mismanagement, the overture does not signify the issues has disappeared.

The allegations remain and are now being scrutinised by a parliamentary audit currently under way, according to Cope.

This is still ammunition for Lekota and his supporters, who might still exploit it - albeit in a rearguard action - to weaken Shilowa's bid for leadership.

Whatever the outcome of the audit, Cope is conscious of the impact that both the probe and leadership battle will have on party unity in the long term.

The challenge lies in managing the process so that its culmination does not leave so deep a chasm as to threaten its future.

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