Two-horse race

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Tha­bane is the newly formed Move­ment for Eco­nomic Change, led by the youngest of the four play­ers in the race, Se­libe Mo­choboroane (39).

“What a lot of Ba­sotho don’t know is that in cel­e­brat­ing a win for Tha­bane, who has un­leashed a lot of re­sources for the cam­paign, they will ul­ti­mately be cel­e­brat­ing a win for the Gup­tas. They are fund­ing him with his elec­tion cam­paign,” said a se­nior diplo­mat.

Tha­bane had gazetted a no­tice that the Gup­tas were en­ti­tled to diplo­matic pass­ports as his spe­cial ad­vis­ers, which came af­ter he amended leg­is­la­tion in 2014, ap­par­ently to ac­com­mo­date his friends.

How­ever, the pass­ports were re­voked and con­fis­cated by the for­eign af­fairs min­istry right af­ter Tha­bane lost the 2015 elec­tions.

It’s un­der­stood that part of the plan for the coali­tion govern­ment un­der Mo­sisili was to end the Gup­tas’ hold on Le­sotho.

Ex­perts have pre­dicted that an­other frac­tious coali­tion govern­ment un­likely to tackle the moun­tain king­dom’s dire lev­els of HIV/Aids and un­em­ploy­ment would re­sult from Satur­day’s snap elec­tion.

“A coali­tion is the most likely out­come, but it is un­likely to be a suc­cess­ful one,” Charles Fo­gel­man, a spe­cial­ist on Le­sotho pol­i­tics at the Uni­ver­sity of Illi­nois, told AFP.

“Both of the pre­vi­ous coali­tions have col­lapsed un­der the weight of suc­ces­sion and power bat­tles, and it is hard to imag­ine fu­ture coali­tions not do­ing the same,” he added.

Tha­bane told the me­dia that he was open to a coali­tion, say­ing it was the way to go “be­cause any­one out­side will burn that house down”. He vowed that he wanted to make Le­sotho “a bea­con of hope” be­fore he re­tires.

Sa­monyane Nt­sekele, Tha­bane’s spokesper­son, did not re­spond to ques­tions sent on Fri­day about cam­paign fund­ing.

HIGH HOPES Thomas Mot­soa­hae ‘Tom’ Tha­bane, for­mer prime min­is­ter of Le­sotho, who cast his vote in Abia vil­lage in Makhoakho­eng, said he was open to a coali­tion

MAK­ING A CHOICE Ba­sotho vot­ers made their way to the polls to de­cide who will be the next leader of the moun­tain king­dom

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