MASERU-The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has certified seven new parties making them all 53 into its fray, ahead of the national elections scheduled for September 2022.
As it stands the electorate numbering a paltry is 1 240 537, according to the last population census conducted in 2016.
There is likelihood that there are more parties which could also be certified just ahead of the elections.
The new parties are Basotho Economic Enrichment-BEE led by Mr. Litaba Mohatle, Basotho Social Party-BSP led by Mr. Bofihla Letsie, Bahlabani ba Tokoloho Movement-BTM led by Mr. Tšeliso Moleko, Khothalang Basotho-KB led by Mrs. ’Makeratile Mathibolle, Lesotho Economic Freedom Fighters-LEFF led by Mr. Tefo Makhakhe, Metsi and Natural Resource Party-METSI led by Mr. Lenka Thamae.
According to IEC, all the seven new parties have registered with IEC and met the registration requirements stipulated in section 24 of the National Assembly Electoral Act, 2011.
While this proliferation of parties may suggest democracy is at play and thriving in Lesotho, analysts on the other hand are skeptical of the numerous parties’ capacity to make any meaningful political contributions to address the socio-economic plight of long-suffering citizens of this country.
To demonstrate the exponential increase of parties, IEC chairperson, Mphasa Mokhochane, said at the inception of the Commission in 1998, there were only six parties and now they have swelled to 53.
If anything, analysts say the mushrooming of the parties is simply a manifestation of the self-seeking phenomenon of individuals who enter into politics for personal enrichment.
Lesotho has only 2, 1 million people, a population much smaller than that of South Africa’s commercial hub city of Johannesburg. According to the latest World Bank estimates, Lesotho’s annual gross domestic product (GDP) is only US$2, 7 billion (about M40 billion) and the majority of Basotho survive on less than US$1 per day.