The small Kingdom of Lesotho is set to see a change of government following the announcement by the political parties in that country that they will be forming a coalition on Wednesday. The formation effectively means that the coalition, which will be led by the country’s former Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili, will replace embattled Thomas Thabane, whose term of office was cut short by two years due to a settlement that was negotiated by South African Deputy President, Cyril Ramaposa, which called for elections two years prematurely due to the political instability that came about after Thabane dissolved parliament to avoid a pending vote of no confidence in June 2014.
After the then Prime Minister Thabane dissolved parliament, there was what was referred to as an attempted coup d’état by the military in that country after they took over the control of the police headquarters, with one police officer killed in the process. The Prime Minister at the time fled to mainland South Africa and only returned to his country after being escorted by the South African Defence Forces and police. ANC and South Africa’s Deputy President, Ramaposa stepped in and negotiated for the early elections in a move that has been criticized by the country’s academics, who have argued that their country needed a mediator to help their leaders sort through the political differences that are abound before elections could be called.
According to the Lesotho constitution, the parties contest for 80 seats while the remaining 40 are allocated proportionally to all parties. After election results were announced, it emerged that Thabane’s All Basotho Convention had managed to garner 40 seats while Mosisili’s Democratic Congress managed 37. However, Mosisili announced that his party would form a coalition with other political parties which would see them gain the majority they required to rule the tiny kingdom which is completely landlocked by South Africa. His Deputy Prime Minister will be Mothetjoa Metsing, leader of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy, who also served in the same capacity under Thomas Thabane.
Despite this seeming political progress, political analysts have cautioned that the way minor political parties are going to be treated in the coalition is key to the stability of the government adding that if they felt sidelined, they would leave the coalition and the country would be back where it had been. Other analysts have insisted that the elections do not solve the real issues in the country. According to the country’s Maseru-based think-tank Transformation Resource Centre, if Mosisili has not learnt from Thabane’s mistakes, Lesotho could be heading into more uncertain times. Its director, Tsoeu Petlane posits that, “How he handles the security issues between the army and the police will be crucial to deciding if this new coalition will be stable or not.”