Lesotho: More Basotho in Favour of Monarchical Rule - Survey Findings

The Lesotho flag.

Most Basotho would welcome monarchical rule over parliamentary democracy, the latest report from the Afrobarometer research institute reveals.

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues in Africa.

In a statement this week, Afrobarometer said the survey was conducted at the beginning of the year.

The internationally acclaimed research institute said the latest findings were in sync with a 2017 survey findings 75 percent of citizens wanted more powers to be given to the King because the current governance institutions fell short of their expected effectiveness in addressing the economic, social, and political needs of the nation.

"Key findings of the latest survey are that 66 percent of Basotho say elections and parliament should be abolished so that the King can govern the country," Afrobarometer states in its report.

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"Rule by the King wins greater support than democracy and three authoritarian alternatives, namely one-party rule, military rule and one-man rule by the prime minister.

"Rule by the King is particularly popular among the youngest respondents (71 percent), women (70 percent), and those who are not close to any political party (71 percent).

Speaking at the presentation of the findings to stakeholders in Maseru this week, Afrobarometer representative, Puleng Adams, said "the evaluations are recorded against a background of constant political instability, including government collapses resulting in three national elections in the space of five years (from 2012 to 2017) and the destabilising of governance institutions".

All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader Thomas Thabane was prime minister when the survey was conducted. He was forced to step down last month by his own party. He was succeeded by his Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro on 20 May 2020.

The survey also found that most Basotho had a pessimistic view of the country's economic prospects and the general direction which the country was heading.

"About three-quarters (74 percent) of Basotho rated the country's economic condition as fairly bad while almost two-thirds (63 percent) of respondents said the economic conditions had gotten 'worse' or 'much worse' over the preceding 12 months which is an increase from 36 percent in 2017.

"More than eight in 10 Basotho (82 percent) said the country is going in the wrong direction- a 40 percent increase compared to 2017," the report states.

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