Le­sotho at a cross­roads

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

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.

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