Voters in Lesotho are casting ballots in local elections, the first since the country gained independence from Britain in 1966.

Election officials say voting appeared to be going slowly but smoothly Saturday.

Voters are choosing members of 129 councils, which will be responsible for the daily running of governmental services. A third of the councils must be made up exclusively of women.

In the past, the government had appointed council members.

Reuters news agency says opposition parties are boycotting the elections, although they are letting their candidates contest the poll as independents. The opposition says the voters' rolls are flawed and notes problems with constituency boundaries.

Lesotho is a tiny landlocked country, surrounded on all sides by South Africa. It has a population of less than two million

Some information for this report provided by AFP and Reuters.