DC most likely to win elections: survey

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…42 percent of respondents say they would vote for DPM Mokhothu’s party 

Bongiwe Zihlangu

DEPUTY Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu’s Democratic Congress (DC) is most likely to win the 7 October elections, a survey has found.

The survey findings released yesterday by the internationally acclaimed Afrobarometer Institute indicate that at least 42 percent of the respondents said they would vote for the DC.

The institute said the figure fell short of the majority required for the DC to form government on its own. Unless if some of those who had not declared which party they were backing voted for the DC, it would have to cobble a coalition with other parties, the research institute said.

While the findings may be good news to the DC, the caveat is that the research was conducted between February and March this year. It did not factor in the Sam Matekane-led Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) which was only formed on 22 March.

According to the findings, the DC’s All Basotho Convention (ABC) coalition partner is the second most preferred party with 21 percent of the respondents saying they would vote for the Nkaku Kabi-led party.

Former cabinet minister Nqosa Mahao’s Basotho Action Party (BAP) is third on the list with eight percent of the support, the Selibe Mochoboroane-led Movement for Economic Change (MEC), former Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing’s Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and former Deputy Prime Minister Monyane Moleleki’s Alliance of Democrats (AD) are all on six percent support.

Only five percent said they would vote for Machesetsa Mofomobe’s Basotho National Party (BNP), three percent would vote for Teboho Mojapela’s Socialist Revolutionaries Party (SR) and one percent would vote for Law and Justice Minister Lekhetho Rakuoane’s Popular Front for Democracy (PFD).

Three percent said they would vote for other parties.

However, it appears there will be voter apathy in October.

“Only about half of the respondents say they are likely to vote in the upcoming election,” Afrobarometer states in its survey findings.

“Among those willing to disclose a voting preference in a hypothetical election, the Democratic Congress (DC) has a substantial lead but falls short of a majority.

“Considering only those respondents who declared a voting preference in a hypothetical election – 49 percent of all respondents – the DC came out on top with 42 percent, followed by the ABC (21 percent), and the BAP (8 percent). In a real election, these results would again lead to a coalition government. But given the large proportion of undeclared potential voters and non-voters, as well as the evolving political landscape, these findings do not form the basis for a projection regarding the October election,” Afrobarometer states.

Besides the polls predictions, the survey also found that there is “a grim outlook on democracy and economy” among most respondents.

Most said the country “is going in the wrong direction”.

When asked what they considered the most important problems that the government should address, most respondents said they were concerned about poor roads and other infrastructure, high unemployment, rampant crime, electricity and water supply as well as corruption.

“Basotho are not persuaded that the level of corruption in the country is decreasing, despite political leaders’ promises during the last election campaign to deal with the problem. Between 2017 and 2022, the proportion of citizens who say the level of corruption “increased somewhat” or “increased a lot” during the previous year has risen by 40 percentage points, from 41 percent to 81 percent.

“Basotho are not happy about the current state of affairs – both economically and politically – in their country. While the upcoming election could be a chance to bring about change, many citizens appear to be giving up hope of improving their lives through the ballot box.

“In addition to concerns about the economy and corruption, Basotho express little trust in the political leadership, a factor that may contribute to declining voter turnouts. Only the King (63 percent) and traditional leaders (53 percent) enjoy the trust of a majority of Basotho. A mere two in 10 say they trust the prime minister (20 percent) and parliament (18 percent) “somewhat” or “a lot,” and even fewer trust ruling coalition parties (15 percent) and opposition parties

“Political parties preparing their election manifestos would do well to take note of citizens’ concerns. It will require credible, sustained, and responsive political leadership to restore the citizenry’s confidence in democracy,” Afrobarometer states.

Most Basotho also said they were unhappy with the performance of Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro, legislators in the recently dissolved parliament as well as local government councillors.

“Majorities do not trust their political leaders and are critical of the performance of the current prime minister, members of parliament and community/urban councillors. More broadly, support for democracy, elections, and multiparty competition is weak,” the survey states.

The findings are in sync with survey results released in May indicating that more than two thirds of Basotho would even welcome monarchical rule over parliamentary democracy.

“Key findings are that more than two-thirds of respondents also express support for abolishing elections and parliament and allowing the King to govern the country,” Afrobarometer states in its 6 May 2022 report.

“Almost nine out of 10 Basotho “agree” or “strongly agree” that the King should be able to make decisions even if they contradict advice from the prime minister (85 percent) and should have the power to appoint a caretaker government in the event of a successful no-confidence motion against the prime minister.

“Most Basotho feel strongly about these issues: 70 percent say they “strongly agree” that the King should have decision-making power and the right to appoint a caretaker government. And 58 percent say they “strongly approve” of government by the King. Support for the King’s decision-making power is 80 percent or higher across key demographic groups (including rural and urban populations).”

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