Lesotho Awaits Results From Recently Held General Elections | African-American News and Black History

Africa, African Democracy, Lesotho, Lesotho Elections, News, World -

Lesotho Awaits Results From Recently Held General Elections

Africa, African Democracy, Lesotho, Lesotho Elections, News, World -

Lesotho Awaits Results From Recently Held General Elections

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Vote counting is under way in Lesotho, the tiny African enclave surrounded by South Africa, where voters cast ballots for a new National Assembly and prime minister in snap elections.

Saturday’s election, two years earlier than scheduled, followed an attempted coup in August that forced Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to flee. The attempt took place after Thabane sought to replace the army’s top commander, said to be an ally of Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing.

Thabane is now back at home in the capital, Maseru, hoping to return to office after votes are counted. But he told VOA on Saturday, while appearing in his home district of Abia, that he still feared for his life.

Thabane was flanked by heavily armed security guards, and sniffer dogs swept the area before he voted.

Three parties were jostling for control of the government: Thabane’s All Basotho Convention, the main opposition Democratic Congress and the Lesotho Congress for Democracy.

Thabane has presided over a tripartite coalition government, the first of its kind in the country’s history. However, discord within the coalition built rapidly when Thabane declared a 10-month suspension of parliament in June. The declaration came after the opposition tried to pass a motion of no-confidence that would have ousted the prime minister.

In an interview with VOA in Maseru, Thabane said he closed parliament because “there was definitely a conspiracy to have a regime change within parliament. … I could have hung on and struggled on, but I thought, ‘Let’s go back to the people.’ So I have risked my own position. I still had some time as prime minister.”

Metsing, also running for the prime minister position, told VOA it was a mistake for his LCD party to have entered into a coalition government with Thabane’s ABC.

Metsing said that “we differed with ABC on so many issues. … Today, we are aware that we made mistakes.” He said now his party “would like to ensure that we can grow the economy. We would address aggressively the issue of youth unemployment, because I think that it is a time bomb waiting to explode.”

Former Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili of the main opposition Democratic Congress was also running for the country’s top post against Thabane and Metsing.

The Southern African Development Community brokered an agreement with Lesotho’s coalition parties to end the suspension of parliament in order to hold the snap election.

Read more at VOA News


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