Most assessments and analyses of Lesotho’s elections have focused on the post-election conflict. There has been little attention to the role of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) as the key player with the constitutional mandate to ensure credible, free, and fair electoral processes. During the polls on 7 October 2022, the role of the IEC came to the fore in terms of the extent of their preparedness for and actual performance in managing the electoral processes. Adopting a qualitative approach that relies on interviews with purposefully selected respondents and document analysis, this paper assesses these two main aspects of the IEC. The paper argues that compared to previous elections from 2012, the IEC does not seem to have been adequately prepared to manage the October 2022 elections, and as such, it had a poor performance this time.
The process of transitioning from one government to another and forming a new government after elections in Lesotho is often fraught with controversy and uncertainty. These problems can be attributed, by and large, to the lack of adequate rules and consistent constitutional practice. The 2022 elections have once again shone the spotlight on these longstanding problems. Like all other elections since 2012, the 2022 elections were inconclusive: no political party received an outright majority to form a government. Since the country uses a parliamentary system, the government depends on the confidence of the National Assembly and the life of the government is pegged to the life of Parliament. The end of the parliamentary term effectively means the end of the government. In terms of the Constitution, once Parliament is dissolved, elections must be held within three months. Within one month after the elections, a new Parliament must sit. While the Constitution provides for the appointment of the prime minister – the king appoints as prime minister a member of the National Assembly who will have the confidence of the House – there are no rules stipulating how the confidence of the House is to be determined. Likewise, the government’s position between the dissolution of Parliament and the forming of a new government is often opaque and precarious. This article examines these inadequacies in the context of the 2022 elections. The article uses content analysis – the examination of primary and secondary documents – to analyse the activities that took place during the transition and formation of a new government in the 2022 elections. The article concludes that the 2022 elections serve to confirm a longstanding problem of inadequate rules and consistent practice relating to the transition and formation of government.
This study is a critical reflection on how the positive impact of ethics in Lesotho’s political elections and democracy could be amplified for lasting peace and political stability. It is based on secondary data from available literature against the background of Lesotho’s existing, mixed-member proportional (MMP) electoral system. The MMP system has given birth to the political phenomenon of inconclusive electoral results and unstable coalition governments in recent years. This political phenomenon emanates from intra- and inter-party conflicts, which often led to undesirable and premature dissolutions of parliament and snap elections. Here, ethics should be understood as an essential component of a healthy process in electoral democracy and a practice necessary for rresting the enduring political instability in Lesotho.
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