See also:
» 23.04.2010 - Lesotho adopts new system to cut on road accidents
» 12.02.2010 - Lesotho to focus budget on alternative revenue creation
» 05.10.2009 - Lesotho signs $25 million agreement with WB
» 23.09.2009 - Lesotho will be hard-hit by declining SACU revenues
» 30.07.2009 - Forum discusses role of infrastructure to health care
» 22.04.2009 - Lesotho's Prime Minister safe
» 22.04.2009 - Lesotho govt still numb on state house attack
» 24.03.2009 - Lesotho launches APRM country review mission

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Politics | Society

Lesotho’s opposition stay-away not a success

afrol News, 3 August - The government of Lesotho has expressed satisfaction that there were no intimidations and acts of violence in support of the opposition called work boycott which was to commence today.

Some opposition parties appealed for citizens to stay away from work as a way of pushing government to engage the opposition in a dialogue to resolve the post 2008 election political misunderstandings.

The main issue has been the different interpretations on the allocation of proportional seats in parliament. Opposition insists that the about 21 seats allocated to the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy was against the mixed member proportion governing the parliamentary elections in Lesotho.

Despite the stay-away call today, business was back to normal late morning after a bit quiet early morning hours.

The opposition call is said to have failed due to lack of support from many sectors, especially the taxi industry as well as the business community.

However, the speaker of the opposition parties, Tom Thabane has said the parties would continue in their quest and fight to the end to get the government back to the talks.

Last month, the mediator appointed by the regional SADC bloc, the former president of Botswana, Sir Ketumile Masire, withdrew from his appointment accusing the government of Lesotho of avoiding direct talks.

Mr Masire’s insinuations were however criticised by those from the government side as having overstepped his mandate, while from the opposition side, his comments were welcomed as an eye opener to the longstanding political stalemate.

Lesotho’s post election conflicts are not new, with 1998 the worst the election dispute that resulted in the burning of the city and other small parts of the district towns. The violence and ultimate talks resulted in the establishment of the new electoral model, which is now already in contest on its application.

Lesotho is a small enclave with just one neighbour, South Africa. The country gained independence in 1966 from Britain and only managed one democratic election at independence followed by the 1970 one which was annulled by the then ruling Basotho National Party, which stayed in power until toppled in an army coup in 1985. Lesotho went back to multi-party democracy in 1993, but soon its elections were already surrounded by controversies until the 1998 forced foreign intervention from the SADC neighbours.

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