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Lesotho Opposition Coalition Tipped to Form Next Government

A Lesotho man wearing a traditional blanket prepares to vote at the Mpho primary school in Maseru, Lesotho, May 26, 2012.

A Lesotho Chief predicts an opposition coalition will form the next government

A leading member of Lesotho’s Basotho National Party (BNP) has expressed confidence an opposition coalition will form the next government after Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili resigned Wednesday.

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Molapo Majora, who is also Chief of Leribe town, said “smaller” opposition parties have promised to rebuff any attempt by the former ruling Democratic Congress party to undermine an anticipated opposition coalition.

“The opposition parties have decided they want to come together and form a government. But, at the same time, the former prime minister’s party is also wooing some members of the opposition to get them away from [the coalition], so that they join the government side,” said Majora.

Majora’s comments came after Mosisili’s Democratic Congress party failed to win a majority in the May 26 parliamentary vote. The ruling party only garnered 48 seats in the 120-seat parliament.

Analysts say the ruling party is given the first option to hold dialogue with other parties, if fails to win a majority in legislative elections.

Some voters expressed concern the former ruling party will be able to split an opposition coalition, which they said will undermine their choice. There have been allegations the ruling party appears may be financially enticing prominent opposition members. The former ruling party rejected the charges.

Majora said it is unlikely the Democratic Congress party will be successful in persuading opposition parties to join its ranks to maintain its grip on power.

“I don’t think the government side would succeed to woo the ABC [All Basotho Convention] the BNP or the Lesotho Congress for Democracy [LCD]. These three parties on their own already have the majority in the national assembly. So, the three parties can form a government whether or not the other sides join them,” said Majora.

“What I know is that even the smaller parties no way they are joining government, we are going to join the opposition," he added. "So, as long as the BNP ABC, the LCD cannot be bought away from their principle, then they will form a government, irrespective of whether the smaller parties are with the government or are with the opposition. But, all I know is that they have expressed their wish to be with the opposition.”

Majora said it will be politically catastrophic for Lesotho if the Democratic Congress party is able to maintain power by succeeding to woo some opposition parties.

“[This is] because they have mismanaged this country for all these years and they never even cared for other people whatsoever. Now, because they are in trouble, they want [some of the opposition] to join their bandwagon, whereas the opposition parties have been fighting together ever since and to split them will be very disastrous,” said Majora.

Observers say it is likely the main opposition ABC, which garnered 30 parliamentary seats, will be joined by the LCD with its 26 seats. They also said other parties including the BNP, Marematlou Freedom Party, and the Popular Fund for Democracy are expected to join the coalition.