LESOTHO ELECTION PHOTO ESSAY
Scenes from Maseru as residents cast their votes
A selection of images after Daily Maverick spent several days in Lesotho covering its elections. The poll went ahead smoothly despite years of political instability.
All was peace and calm on voting day in Lesotho on Friday, 7 October and no incidents were reported. People around Maseru are hopeful and optimistic that change will come to Lesotho. From wealthy businessmen to street vendors, many are in favour of businessman turned politician Sam Matekane, leader of the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP), who promised his supporters a better Lesotho.
Said a woman rushing out of the polling station as she briefly described some of the issues they faced:
“Life is very difficult in Lesotho. There are no jobs, even for people who are educated… there are no jobs.” She was, however, optimistic and concluded, “I believe there’s going to be a very big change in the country in respect to the whole situation… in Lesotho. So I really believe there’s going to be a change with the vote that I have done. The government I have chosen.”
As results started trickling in after voting day, Matekane’s party had already claimed several constituencies, prompting his supporters and party members to take to the streets of Maseru, driving around the city in convoy with hooters blaring and music playing over loudspeakers. Several supporters sang and danced while traffic was blocked off. They were addressed by their leader shortly afterwards who said that with the elections over, it was time to deliver on promises: “It’s the beginning of a new journey that we have to take for the next five years, it is our commitment.”
While the final results are yet to be announced, residents who supported the RFP claimed it would be the next ruling party in Lesotho.
On Sunday afternoon, Reuters reported the RFP was set to win as with votes from 49 of 80 constituencies in, RFP had “already secured 41 seats, the minimum required to reach a simple majority.”
Said a supporter in attendance, “I am so excited because the numbers from the constituency are promising that the government is already on the side of RFP because the majority of young people were not interested in the political things here. Because this previous government didn’t work for young people and the entire country… we believe great things are going to happen through Mr Matekane.”
While the RFP continued to celebrate, despite the official announcement of the final results not yet made, the Basotho Poverty Solutions Party leader Lephoto Thamae said he found the elections unfair: “It was very unfair, to be honest.” He said his party’s logo was not on the ballot papers, forcing his supporters to vote for another party. He indicated that he would approach the courts on the matter. DM