Lesotho To Hold General Elections On October 7 After Five Years Of Division

Lesotho is scheduled to hold general elections on October 7, reported The Africa News. The date was revealed in a notice which was signed by the head of the country’s electoral commission, Mpaiphele Maqutu, and published on Wednesday.

The landlocked southern African country surrounded by South Africa, Lesotho has suffered repeated bouts of instability and army interference in politics. It is home to around two million people.

The election date was announced after King Letsie III dissolved the country’s parliament, in line with procedures to prepare for the polls. The outgoing parliament failed however to introduce a law on electoral reform aimed at ending the ongoing political volatility.

The proposed amendments would have barred lawmakers from making a switch to another party within the first three years of their tenure. The reforms would have also made the king commander of the armed forces.

Notably, as per Lesotho’s Constitution, the lawmakers elect a prime minister to head government, and the premier usually comes from the party with the majority in 120-seat parliament.

Between 2012 and 2017, the mountainous kingdom held three elections that resulted in fractious coalitions and turbulence. It has been led by the All Basotho Convention (ABC) since 2017 after the party beat the Democratic Congress.

Lesotho has had two prime ministers in the past five years and the ABC party has been riven by divisions, exacerbated by a party vote in February in which former Health Minister Nkaku Kabi was elected as leader, defeating Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro for the role.

In 2014, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane temporarily fled the country after accusing the military of overthrowing him. He stepped down in 2020 after being implicated in the murder of his ex-wife. He was accused of hiring hitmen to kill his estranged wife, Lipolelo, two days before his inauguration. He resigned in 2020 and was succeeded by his finance minister at the time, Moeketsi Majoro.

Caroline Finnegan

A professionnal journalist for the past ten years, I cover global news and economic affairs for The Chief Observer.

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