EXCLUSIVE: I'll emerge victorious, says Lesotho's ex-PM Thabane

2017-05-30 10:12
Lesotho's ex- prime minister Tom Thabane. (File: AFP)

Lesotho's ex- prime minister Tom Thabane. (File: AFP)

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Cape Town – Lesotho's former prime minister Tom Thabane says he is confident that he will emerge victorious in the upcoming elections.

Speaking during an interview with News24 on Monday, Thabane said he expected to win at least 60 of the 80 constituencies in the mountain kingdom. 

"The major part of the campaign has been very successful. We are expecting to be victorious in at least 60 of the country's constituencies," Thabane said. 

Thabane said this as political parties in the mountain kingdom were holding their final campaign rallies ahead of the June 3 polls. 

He, however, maintained his previous claims that the country was not ready for an election, as he cited security concerns. 

Meanwhile, Thabane said his All Basotho Convention (ABC) party was ready to work together with other opposition parties to form a coalition government if he was unable to win an outright majority on Saturday. 

'We were not given equal airtime'

He said he was already working with Monyane Moleleki's Alliance of Democrats (AD) and two other unnamed opposition parties.   

"If we are unable to claim an outright majority on Saturday, we are going to combine our vote with other opposition parties that include Moleleki's party. We are going to be in government after these elections," said Thabane. 

Thabane complained that opposition parties were not given fair coverage on the country's state media, although his party was invited by a number of privately owned radio stations for interviews. 

"We were not given equal airtime by the state-owned media. However, I was fortunate enough to be invited by a number of private radio stations and that enabled me to take my party's message to the electorate," he said. 

Confirming Thabane's claims, the Lesotho Council of NGO's (LCN) said that this was likely to have a negative impact on the upcoming election. 

The LCN executive director Seabata Motsamai told News24 that it was going to be difficult to resoundingly declare the upcoming elections free and fair after the state broadcaster failed to give the country's political parties equal airtime. 

He claimed that the state broadcaster refused to broadcast an election debate on May 24, a move that he claimed "could hinder the electorate from making informed decisions when they vote on Saturday".

Political crisis 

"The government owned media should have given equal coverage to the different political parties that would be contesting the elections. They had a good opportunity to do that on May 24 when we invited them to broadcast live an election debate we had organised, but they dropped us on the 11th hour, without providing any reasons,"said Motsamai. 

He, however, said that the the general atmosphere in the country was calm and conducive for an election. 

Motsamai said that there were no incidents of violence reported yet.

Political parties were expected to stop campaigning 24 hours before the election on Saturday.  

"I think the general atmosphere in the country is calm and all the political parties are ready for the election. As far as I am concerned, there has not been any election violence incident reported. I think all the political parties are ready for the election," said Motsamai. 

Lesotho plunged into a political crisis after a failed coup attempt in 2014, prompting Thabane to flee to South Africa, saying he feared for his life.

Thabane recently returned home with two other opposition leaders, vowing to win back power. 

In March this year, the mountain kingdom again faced a fresh crisis after parliament passed a vote of no confidence on Prime Minister Pakalithi Mosisili.

This, consequently, paved was for the upcoming elections. Mosisili had headed a coalition government since a previous snap election in 2015.

Read more on:    sadc  |  cyril ­ramaphosa  |  tom thabane  |  lesotho  |  southern africa  |  lesotho elections 2017

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