Lesotho at a crossroads
Lesotho is at a crossroads and only Basotho can rescue the country from what has increasingly become a desperate situation.
the relative peace which marked the beginning of campaigns for the 28 February 2015 National Assembly elections has since come under threat following several skirmishes between rival supporters over recent weeks.
Reports that certain parties are not going to accept saturday’s results have not helped the situation, hence the need for political leaders to openly denounce any actions that might bring this nation to its knees.
the Independent electoral Commission (IEC) has announced its readiness to deliver a credible poll come saturday, while the southern African Development Community which brokered the vote now has such a heavy presence in Lesotho to ensure the people exercise their right to choose a leadership of their choice.
Yet this election is not about SADC, the African Union or the Commonwealth but Basotho who will still be in Lesotho when this difficult process is done and dusted.
the current presence of an elite group of foreign police officers in Lesotho means SADC is either anticipating violence during this election period or simply taking measures that discourage such acts of madness.
No-matter the reason for this heavy security, Basotho have a great opportunity to bring lasting stability to the kingdom by voting for a leadership with the necessary pedigree to come up with a development — and not selfish — agenda this country now desperately needs following two years of ineffective management under the coalition government.
A close study of the different party manifestos gives the electorate an idea of the kind of leadership they would be voting to power on saturday, while public statements by the politicians in the run-up to the elections have also hopefully helped the public decide on the best possible candidates.
Blind loyalty to inept politicians has always brought despair to nations the world over, while failing to vote brings equally disastrous consequences.
In 2012, Lesotho had 1 127 980 registered voters but only 564 451 cast their ballot. this year, the roll has slightly increased to 1 209 170, and hopefully, the turnout is going to be much better to ensure those who end up in Parliament, and ultimately Cabinet, are given that mandate by the majority.
The weekend’s heavy attendance of the parties’ final star rallies suggest huge interest in the election, but there was similar enthusiasm in 2012, yet only half of the registered voters cast their ballot.
there is no downplaying the dire situation the country finds itself in because of the marriage of convenience the All Basotho Convention, Lesotho Congress for Democracy and Basotho National Party entered into when they formed a coalition government two years ago, but the electorate has been presented with an opportunity to right the wrong of the 26 May 2012 elections.
A massive voter-turnout would minimise the risk of yet another unworkable relationship that could see the nation going for elections prematurely once again.
this, without doubt, is a watershed moment for Lesotho, and failure to take part in saturday’s elections is to betray one’s compatriots and the young generation which cannot be part of this crucial process.
the relevant authorities have provided an ideal environment for every Mosotho to go to the polling station no-matter the location of one’s constituency, by declaring both tomorrow and saturday public holidays.
In addition to a good turnout for the upcoming elections, it is our hope that sanity would prevail among communities for the process to be concluded without bloodshed.
Lesotho’s history is steeped in blood and hopefully fears expressed elsewhere in this issue by former Lesotho Defence Force Commander, Retired Major General Metsing Lekhanya — that there could be trouble after the poll — are not going to come true.