By Nthakoana Ngatane
MASERU – Lesotho’s King Letsie III has proclaimed in a gazette that the country will elect a new government on 7 October 2022.
The gazette published by the outgoing government outlines a timetable including dates for the announcement of candidates to vote for, and registration of new voters.
Political parties had already started campaigning, however the formation of new parties, Revolution For Prosperity (RFP) by business mogul Sam Matekane, and Basotho Action Party (BAP) by academic Professor Nqosa Mahao is likely to up the stakes significantly.
The two are innocent of previous failures but are yet to show if they can bring the change they claim to represent.
Meanwhile traditionally dominant All Basotho Convention – ABC, and Democratic Congress – DC, that each led a failed coalition, and were forced to become strange bedfellows since 2020 to save yet another government from collapse, are also putting up a formidable fight, albeit individually.
Lesotho was governed by coalition governments that failed to complete a full constitutional 5-year term in 2012 and 2015, leading to instability and a decline in economic growth that was exacerbated by the Covid19 pandemic.
The outgoing government that was voted-in in 2017 survived its term by splitting the governing ABC, ousting the party’s former leader and Prime Minister Tom Thabane through retirement, and replacing him with Dr Moeketsi Majoro who was a compromise candidate to save the party’s stay at the helm.
The compromise candidate was favoured by the saving partner, DC, which had more seats than ABC after its split. Majoro acted as party leader briefly following Thabane’s ousting, but was voted out in Executive Committee elections by Nkaku Kabi, who is now leading that party to elections while Majoro’s future remains unclear.
The other contenders likely to make a showing in the race are the Alliance of Democrats- AD, Basotho National Party, BNP, Movement for Economic Change – MEC, and the Lesotho Congress for Democracy – LCD.