The 2005 Lesotho Local Government Elections: Implications for Development and Governance

In April 2005 Lesotho held its first democratic local government elections since
attaining political independence from Britain in 1966. Thus, over the past four
decades, the country has used various unelected interim structures to carry out
development activities countrywide; structures which were not built on democratic
foundations. Consequently there are, understandably, high expectations for the new
local government structures put in place through the April election. The Ministry
of Local Government, charged with the responsibility for implementing local
government in Lesotho, worked jointly with the Independent Electoral Commission
(IEC) to manage and administer the elections. Both worked in earnest to take care
of the logistical arrangements throughout all the stages of the election: pre-election,
polling and post-election. One component of the vigorous debate that marked the
election revolved around the fact that a proportion of the electoral divisions was
reserved for women only, with a view to enhancing gender equality in the decisionmaking and development processes. Controversial as it proved to be from a legal point of view, politically this is a progressive step that conforms with the purpose of
developmental local government, which is that of service delivery through active
participation by all sectors of the community. This paper looks at the Lesotho local
government elections and their implications for development and governance. The
paper expresses the view that elections are not an occasion but part of the process
towards sustainable development and democratic consolidation. Elections are,
therefore, not an end in themselves but a means to an end: that end being development
and governance.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: Basotho National Council (BNC), Basotho National Party (BNP), first-past-the-post (FPTP), Lesotho’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Southern African Development Community (SADC)
journal of african elections vol4 number 1 transparent democratic governance in africa