Lesotho PM steps down after 14 years

Boost for regional democracy as opposition wins election

Richard Lee's picture

Author

Strategic communications for WWF

May 31st, 2012

For years, Lesotho has been part of the democratic deficit in southern Africa - one of the many countries in the region where the will of the people was not freely and fairly expressed through the ballot box. But no longer.

In a welcome boost for democracy in the country and the region, Lesotho's Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili officially resigned on Wednesday after his party failed to win a majority in the general elections and the opposition united to form a large-enough parliamentary coalition to oust him after 14 years in power.

The development means Lesotho will have its first coalition government - and it will be fascinating to see how that plays out in the months and years ahead.

Monyane Moleleki, deputy to Mosisili in the Democratic Congress party said that the prime minister had tendered his resignation to the king and that the cabinet had also stepped down. "We want to lead by example and be the first party to accept defeat peacefully," said Moleleki.

Mosisili's resignation follows a disappointing show in last Saturday polls, where his Democratic Congress won only 48 seats in the 120-seat parliament, while the leader of the main opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, Tom Thabane, said that his alliance of five opposition parties would have 64 seats - and a small but clear overall majority in the legislature.

Under the coalition deal, the Lesotho Congress for Democracy will add its 26 seats to the ABC's 30 while the smaller Basotho National Party, the Popular Fund for Democracy, and the Marematlou Freedom Party will also join up.

The polls were closely monitored and were given a clean bill of health by the SADC Parliamentary Forum, which concluded that - depsite a few issues - the polls had "accorded the Basotho the opportunity to freely express their will in voting for political parties and candidates of their choice" and that they were "on the whole, a credible reflection of the will of the people of Lesotho" and that they had "been free and fair".

Contacts

  • 1 Hood Avenue/148 Jan Smuts; Rosebank, GP 2196; South Africa
  • T. +27 (0)11 587 5000
  • F. +27 (0)11 587 5099