IEC welcomes Lesotho’s 37th political party

  • as 18 more queue for approval,
  • I want to be first woman prime minister, UFC party leader Lekhoaba declares.

’Marafaele Mohloboli

ALMOST a year after its formation, Harvest FM radio owner ‘Malichaba Lekhoaba’s United for Change (UFC) party has officially become Lesotho’s 37th party.

This after it received its registration certificate from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) yesterday.

The UFC becomes the fourth female led party in the country after the Keketso Rantšo’s Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL), former RCL secretary general ‘Machabana Lemphane-Letsie’s HOPE party and the ‘Mapuleng Montši-led Basotho Liberation Movement (BLM).

Upon receiving her party’s registration certificate, an elated Ms Lekhoaba declared her intention to contest next year’s general elections and become the first female prime minister of Lesotho.

“We want to participate in the elections because we would like to have a woman prime minister,” Ms Lekhoaba said to loud cheers and ululations from hundreds of supporters who had braved the chilly weather to attend the handover of the registration certificate at the IEC offices at the MGC Park in Maseru.

“I want to be that woman prime minister and I am going to do everything in my power not to disappoint you. When I fight, I fight with my all and I don’t believe in losing because I have decided to take charge. When I partake in something, I do so wholeheartedly.

“We are very pleased that today we have been certified to participate the elections and this is only because we want to change the lives of Basotho. We have realised that Basotho have been failed for a long time and their hopes have been dashed. Had it not been for my patriotism and love for my people, I wouldn’t be here today,” Ms Lekhoaba said.

She also had a message for media practitioners, saying “to all journalists, we know your plight and we promise that we are not going into the political arena to join the ranks of your persecutors. Trust us on that one”.

In a subsequent interview with the Lesotho Times, Ms Lekhoaba said her party would be a breath of fresh air in that it would not dictate policies to its members. She said they would instead consult them before crafting a blueprint to address the country’s myriad challenges.

“Our youth need jobs; the unemployment rate is sickening. There are lot of things that need fixing such as potholes and traffic lights. The repair work can be given to youths as part of job creation,” Ms Lekhoaba said.

Asked whether her party was just there to add to the numbers, she said, “we don’t need all these parties and it is up to the IEC to set certain standards and deregister those parties that fail to meet the requirements.

“A party which fails to garner any seats in two consecutive elections should be deregistered and never allowed to contest again.

“On my part, I promise to serve for one five-year term if I’m elected. Five years is long enough to bring change and reform Lesotho into a completely new country,” Ms Lekhoaba said.

The full UFC executive is as follows: Chief Servant ‘Malichaba Lekhoaba, Lucky Khanyapa (Deputy Chief Servant), Lisebo Mositsi (Secretary General) Koali Masupha (Deputy Secretary General), ‘Malineo Letšeng (Chairperson), ‘Mabakuena Lekhooa (Treasurer), ‘Mamojaje Mokuku (Public Relations Officer), Tlale Pae (Deputy Public Relations officer) and Messrs Musa Maema and Bataung Thulo (advisory members).

IEC Operations Inspector Kotsoane Motsie said they had officially registered the UFC party after it had satisfied all the requirements for the registration of a political party.

“A party has got to comply with the laws. This starts with the submission of documents including bank accounts and assets, identity documents and then a list of 500 people who support the registration of such party.

“The UFC has succeeded in all these and its members were verified,” Mr Motsie said.

The UFC and Ms Lemphane-Letsie’s HOPE party are the two parties which have been registered since the current IEC Commissioners, Mphasa Mokhochane (chairperson), Karabo Mohlakoana-Mokobocho and Tšoeu Petlane were sworn in last December.

Another 18 parties are still awaiting approval and once they are registered, this will bring the number of political parties in Lesotho to a staggering 55.  This is a huge number for a country which has a population of only 2, 1 million.

On his part, Commissioner Petlane said, “this the second party to be registered this year by the commission and the second under a woman’s leadership.

“This is significant and it means that you are special. Like you said, your primary objective is to govern and your ambition is good.

“Good governance should be your guiding tool within your party and your adherence to IEC principles will see you through until we review your certificate five years from now. We shall be watching you closely,” Commissioner Petlane said.

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