Lesotho elections: Bigwigs fall as Revolution for Prosperity dominates

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Supporters of Lesotho Revolution for Prosperity party (RFP) leader Sam Matekane attend a parade in Maseru.
Supporters of Lesotho Revolution for Prosperity party (RFP) leader Sam Matekane attend a parade in Maseru.
  • The Revolution for Prosperity is currently in the lead as results come through in the Lesotho elections.
  • Observers say the elections were free and fair.
  • Seasoned politicians took a battering at the polls.

With results pointing to a victory for the seven-month-old Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) in Lesotho, the 7 October general elections were largely free and fair, according to the European Union (EU) election observer team.

In a press conference, chief observer Ignazio Corrao said freedom of association was not compromised in the run-up to the polls.

"Fundamental freedoms of association and assembly were well respected. However, limited campaign spending led to an uneven playing field among contestants," he added.

Tallying the results is a critical part of declaring an election free and fair, and according to Corrao, "the counting process was evaluated... with some minor procedural mistakes which did not impact the results".

Counting was conducted manually at a constituency level and party and candidates' agents, according to the EU observers, were present at 89% of the polling stations.

RFP leads

The young RFP party was founded by one of Lesotho's wealthiest people, Sam Matekane.

By the end of the day on Sunday, the party had won 56 of the 79 constituencies announced by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

It's a big lead ahead of its closest rivals, the Democratic Congress (DC), led by Mathibeli Mokhothu, which bagged 18 seats.

As counting continues, all eyes are on the last seats. But Lesotho could be headed for a coalition government if the RFP fails to secure the 61 seats needed to run the country alone.

READ | Lesotho election goes ahead despite unresolved political crisis

For about a decade, coalition politics has been the mainstay in Lesotho, but policy space frustration has always led to political turmoil in the country. 

One of the coalition shortcomings in the last government was its failure to pass two critical laws, the Constitution Bill 2022 and the National Assembly Electoral Amendment Act, both of which were deemed critical ahead of the general elections.

Matekane has openly said that he does not want a coalition government.

End of an era

Some political heavyweights took a battering at the polls.

Notable losers are Democratic Congress deputy leader, Motlalentoa Letsosa, Basotho Action Party (BAP) leader, Nqosa Mahao, and All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, Nkaku Kabi.

Kabi failed to defend his Qeme constituency and Mahao lost in Koro-Koro which went to the RFP.

Monyane Moleleki lost to an unknown entity, Malebaleba Joseph of the RFP in the Thaba Bosiu constituency.

In the Likotsi-Maseru constituency, the RFP's Itumeleng Rantsho beat two heavyweights, former cabinet ministers Chalane Phori (ABC) and Reformed Congress of Lesotho leader, Keketso Rantšo.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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