Lesotho: Contest for Lesotho Presidency a Three-Horse Race

Photo: ComSec
Among observers of the Lesotho elections were, from left, former heads of state Rupiah Banda of Zambia, Yakubu Gowon of Nigeria and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi.
25 May 2012

Cape Town — Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili's 14-year rule of the country will be hotly contested when the population goes to the polls tomorrow. Mosisili faces a great deal of discontent as recent polls list him among Africa's most despised leaders.

Additionally, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) sought to depose him on several occasions, culminating in his split from the group and founding his own Democratic Congress (DC), taking a majority of parliamentarians with him. Among those who sought to remove Mosisili from power are two former members of his cabinet, Mothejoa Metsing and Tom Thabane, AFP reports.

Both men are Mosisili's chief rivals, essentially turning the polls into a three-horse-race, AFP reports. 45-year-old Metsing is the favoured candidate, having accused Mosisili of nepotism and that some of the most sought after jobs in government have been apportioned to the premier's children and spouses.

The 72-year-old Thabane, the oldest of the three, is a former foreign minister and was originally considered to be Mosisili's successor, AFP says. Thabane went on to form the All Basotho Convention (ABC) in 2006 when it became clear that he would not be able to claim a position higher than that of Mosisili. The ABC aims take a populist approach, employing broad appeal by promising to fight corruption, crime and poverty and finding support among urban voters.

According to the Lesotho Times, Mosisili is confident the DC will win a sizeable majority in the coming election saying: "I am neither a prophet nor a fortune teller, but I can assure you that we will surpass the simple majority win at the May 26 poll," Democratic Congress leader Pakalitha Mosisili declared on Sunday.

Speaking on the three men contesting for the presidency to AFP, Holo Nyane,director of the Transformation Resource Centre, said "It is an interesting scenario. Unfortunately our election has always been about personality cults and patronage."

Mosisili is prepared to accept the outcome of the elections regardless of whether he wins or loses, the Lesotho Times report. "I've no doubt that on May 26 Basotho will elect a government of their choice in a free, fair and transparent manner which will be a reflection of the will of the people. We've no doubt whatsoever that they are ready to do so," he said.

Gallup poll: Most African Leaders Enjoy Strong Support.

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