Party leaders to sign electoral agreement today
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa arrived in Maseru yesterday ahead of today’s signing of the Electoral Pledge (EP) by the leaders of the country’s political parties set to take part in next year’s snap election.
The EP commits the parties to ensure a conducive environment for the election scheduled for 28 February.
Mr Ramaphosa, who was appointed by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to facilitate Lesotho’s return to normalcy following a potentially explosive fallout between the leaders of the coalition government which came to power in June 2012, would oversee the signing of the EP at Lehakoe Club at midday before submitting the signed copies to His Majesty King Letsie III at the Royal Palace.
Head of SADC mission in Lesotho, Fannie Phakola yesterday confirmed the arrival of Mr Ramaphosa and today’s signing of the Electoral Pledge, which is in line with the Maseru Facilitation Declaration (MFD) the country’s various political party leaders signed on 2 October 2014.
Under the MFD, Parliament was to open on 17 October following its nine-month suspension on 10 June 2014 by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane to avert a no-confidence vote, and dissolved on 5 December and a snap election held on 28 February 2015. Initially, Lesotho was supposed to hold its general election in 2017 but after a complete breakdown of trust between Dr Thabane and his deputy, Mothetjoa Metsing, Mr Ramaphosa brokered the MFD in an effort to defuse the increasingly volatile situation.
“Mr Ramaphosa is going to meet the coalition government leaders (Dr Thabane, Mr Metsing and Basotho National Party leader Thesele ‘Maseribane) and representatives of all the country’s political parties registered with the Independent Electoral Commission.
“Signing the pledge is simply committing the parties to participate in the upcoming elections freely and peacefully without violating any of the country’s laws, as well as the MFD,” Mr Phakola told the Lesotho Times.
“After consultations with stakeholders, and the signing of the Electoral Pledge, Mr Ramaphosa is going to attend a service of the 42 South African and Lesotho citizens killed in 1982 during a raid by the apartheid South African soldiers on ANC safe houses in Maseru.”