Con­gress sup­port­ers up­beat on poll prospects

Lesotho Times - - News - Lim­pho Sello

MA­PUT­SOE — Sup­port­ers of the Le­sotho Con­gress for Democ­racy (LCD) and Demo­cratic Con­gress (DC) say they are now “un­stop­pable” af­ter forg­ing a pact to join forces in the 3 June 2017 par­lia­men­tary elec­tion.

The sup­port­ers, who spoke to the Le­sotho Times on the side-lines of a joint rally held in Ma­put­soe ear­lier this week, also said their unity made them con­fi­dent of a re­turn to the era of po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity akin to 1993 when the Ba­su­toland Con­gress Party (BCP) was elected into power.

The DC, LCD and Pop­u­lar Front for Democ­racy (PFD) inked an elec­toral pact to field one can­di­date for each of the coun­try’s 80 con­stituen­cies to avoid vote split­ting.

The DC will con­test in 54 con­stituen­cies while the LCD was al­lo­cated 25. The three par­ties will also vote for PFD deputy leader, Thabang Kholumo, in his Qalo strong­hold in Butha-buthe.

Malisemelo Mak­in­tane, from Ma­hobong con­stituency, said LCD leader Mo­thetjoa Mets­ing was not given enough time to “prove him­self” in the suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments he has been deputy prime min­is­ter be­cause they failed to last their five-year terms.

The LCD formed a coali­tion gov­ern­ment with the All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC) and Ba­sotho Na­tional Party af­ter the 26 May 2012 gen­eral elec­tion had re­sulted in a hung par­lia­ment.

How­ever, the coali­tion gov­ern­ment col- lapsed in 2014 af­ter Mr Mets­ing ac­cused then premier and ABC leader Thomas Tha­bane of not con­sult­ing him on key gov­er­nance de­ci­sions.

The LCD was also one of the seven par­ties that cob­bled to­gether a gov­ern­ing coali­tion af­ter the 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015 gen­eral elec­tion also re­sulted in a hung par­lia­ment.

The other par­ties in the coali­tion are the DC, PFD, Mare­mat­lou Free­dom Party, Ba­sotho Con­gress Party, Na­tional In­de­pen­dent Party and Le­sotho Peo­ple’s Con­gress.

How­ever, the seven-party coali­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion suc­cumbed to a no-con­fi­dence vote in par­lia­ment en­gi­neered by four op­po­si­tion par­ties on 1 March 2017, prompt­ing the call­ing of an elec­tion by King Let­sie III on 3 June 2017.

“In my con­stituency, Ntate Mets­ing was able to ini­ti­ate com­mu­nity devel­op­ment projects over the years,” Ms Mak­in­tane said.

“The only chal­lenge that needs to be ad­dressed is the lack of roads which I be­lieve he will ad­dress to­gether with Ntate Mo­sisili af­ter win­ning the elec­tion and form­ing gov­ern­ment again.”

She added: “I be­lieve those two gen­tle­men can serve us in a peace­ful way and bring back the sta­bil­ity we saw in 1993 when a con­gress party was solely gov­ern­ing this coun­try.”

Echo­ing the sen­ti­ment, Mai­tume­leng Rachele said she had long yearned for unity among con­gress par­ties to ensure elec­toral com­pet­i­tive­ness.

“Af­ter 3 June, we will be talk­ing about some­thing new and in­ter­est­ing con­cern­ing the con­gress par­ties. Our unity is a recipe for vic­tory in the up­com­ing elec­tion,” she said.

“As con­gress sup­port­ers, we see vic­tory for our par­ties as spell­ing sal­va­tion for this coun­try. Once they re­turn to power, I know they can come up with strate­gies to bet­ter our lives.”

For his part, Tale Tsotetsi, also from Ma­hobong con­stituency, said she sup­ported con­gress par­ties be­cause of their “peo­ple first” ide­ol­ogy.

“We sup­port the con­gress par­ties be­cause we know they can re­turn the favour by serv­ing us once elected into gov­ern­ment,” Mr Tsotetsi said.

“I must con­fess that I have al­ways dreamed of unity among con­gress par­ties. And now that it has been achieved, the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Le­sotho can re­turn to nor­malcy.”

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