By Billy Ntaote
Lesotho’s Deputy Prime Minister is upbeat that the country shall have a peaceful election and that all parties shall accept the election results including his Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) amid much speculation by critics that his electoral pact with Democratic Congress (DC) would not accept the polls results.
The DC and the LCD were among parties that delayed signing the Christian Council of Lesotho facilitated elections results acceptance pledge thereby sparking wide spread speculation.
Metsing was speaking after casting his ballot at Ha Lobiane polling station in the Mahobong Constituency where many media practitioners, local and international observers gathered to witness him vote.
Mahobong No. 9 constituency is part of the 13 constituencies that make up the Leribe district where 213, 010 voters are expected to cast their ballots. The elections in the Leribe district’s electoral constituencies are contested by 229 candidates, of which 80 are women and 149 are men.
Today’s polls were proclaimed by His Majesty King Letsie III on the advice of the Council of State following the passing of a no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili led seven parties administration that prompted him to retaliate by advising the King to dissolve parliament and call a fresh election.
This election, came amid heightened antagonism between parties in government and those in the opposition that demanded there to be a change of government in the national assembly and not an election.
In his home constituency, Metsing is faced with an opposition quartet alliance led by the All Basotho Convention, Alliance of Democrats, Basotho National Party and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho hellbent on snatching his home constituency from his grip in this poll.
After casting his ballot, Metsing said he is hopeful that his party’s pact with the DC shall do very well and he shall emerge out of the polls victorious.
Metsing said he believes elections are very important and that it comes as a necessary for the country to be going to the polls even though it is now for a third time in five years.
He also acknowledged that there are many critics who believed the country should not go to the elections but strongly argued that everything was above board and done within the confines of the law.
“If there is something that Basotho are worried about and they want to have a fixed time for elections, just like in America, where they always go to elections at a fixed time, or just like the Brixit referendum, the Prime Minister in England said there is a need to go to the polls to get the people’s mandate.
“And this is the type of a political system we choose as Lesotho and we had to go to this elections,” said Metsing.
The Deputy Premier also said there is no need for people to have been given the impression that the country did not need to go to polls as the elections were not an extravaganza as critics have argued.
He further said he continues to hold a strong view that going into the reforms after the elections there should be a clear provision that requires Members of Parliament proposing a motion of no confidence in a sitting Prime Minister and his Government to give reasons for doing so in writing to deter frequent motions of that nature that shall destabilise the country.
The LCD leader also cited an example of a no-confidence vote in Kenya where he said tangible reasons are required for a vote of no confidence and further added that the deputy the person faced with such a vote automatically becomes a successor in the event such a motion movers are victorious.
He said this is applied in Kenya as a check and balance “to deter the frequency of government collapsing unnecessarily” while he also notes Lesotho’s constitution continues to show shortcomings that include allowing movers of no-confidence motions to select their preferred candidate for Premiership in the event of succeeding.
Metsing noted that the country should be commended for its determination and resolve to ensure continued promotion of democracy by taking the country to an election.
Metsing also urged all his counterparts to accept the election results no matter what as the election has been administered freely.
He said the country has minor challenges compared to many other countries and said the election campaigns have been very smooth without any conflicts.
Responding to questions about his next move in the event of losing the elections in his home constituency, the upbeat Metsing said it is impossible for him to lose in his home constituency he has won elections since 2007.
However, noting what his chances are in a worst case scenario, Metsing said the trend in the country is that all political leaders are the top of their parties Proportional Representation Lists and he would still make it parliament as his party continues to command a huge following.
Metsing, commenting on accusations that he has been a rubble rouser in the country recent past short-lived governments, said he is “not an angel but human like everybody else”.
He also noted that he is confident about his contribution to the country’s development and added that there shall be a time when his part in the country history shall be fairly documented as his good deeds far outweigh his wrongs.
On his alleged anointment to succeed Mosisili in an DC LCD merger, Metsing reiterated the DC Spokesperson Serialong Qoo sentiments refuting the claims as false.
He also noted that there has not been any decision to begin negotiations with the Movement for Economic Change (MEC) in anticipation to form a coalition government that includes the DC, LCD and PFD.
Additional reporting by: Cletus Morafo, Puseletso Ramokhethi and Thandiwe Fotho