Cletus Mushanawani in Maseru, Lesotho—
VICE-PRESIDENT Phelekezela Mphoko and his delegation received a rapturous welcome from thousands of Basuthu who were gathered at Sesotho Stadium to witness the inauguration of new Prime Minister, Dr Pakalitha Mosisili today. Vice-President Mphoko who was the first to arrive at the packed stadium which was a sea of red and yellow received a thunderous applause as his motorcade drove into the stadium.
The colourful occasion which saw supporters of Prime Minister Mosisili’s Democratic Congress and outgoing Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s All Basotho Convention trying to outdo each other in cheering their leaders on, saw Dr Mosilili taking an oath of allegiance and office before the country’s Chief Justice Nthomeng Majara.
Dr Mosilili who was replaced as Prime Minister by Dr Thabane in 2012 bounced back after elections were brought forward by two years following unrests that rocked the mountainous kingdom last year resulting in Dr Thabane seeking temporary refuge in South Africa.
Southern African Development Community (Sadc) had to move in to restore order and came in with a roadmap which resulted in the February 28 elections. The elections failed to produce an outright winner resulting in the formation of Lesotho’s second coalition government in two years.
After the final allocation of compensatory seats, the Dr Mosisili-led Democratic Congress got 47 seats ahead of Prime Minister Thomas Thabane’s All Basotho Convention which had 46 while and the Lesotho Congress for Democracy of Mothejoa Metsing garned 12 seats.
The Basotho National Party had seven seats. The Popular Front for Democracy and the Reformed Congress of Lesotho got two seats respectively, while the Basotho Congress Party, Lesotho People’s Congress, Marematlou Freedom Party and the National Independent Party had one seat each.
In his farewell speech, Dr Thabane said his term of office was full of challenges resulting in his government failing to go the full length of its five-year mandate to govern Lesotho.
“The people of Lesotho elected the government of their choice in elections which were described by all observers as peaceful, credible, free and fair. I whole heartedly accept the outcome of the elections results. I am publicly transferring power to my successor. The people of Lesotho are witnessing the second peaceful transfer of power in two years. The first one in 2012 saw my successor transferring power to me and today it is vice-versa. This is a hallmark of democracy for our country.
“We now need economic development and stability in our country as well as the observing of the rule of law. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the SADC community for their timely intervention which led us to where we are today,” he said.
Dr Mosisili said he was accepting the new responsibility to lead the people of Lesotho fully aware of the grave challenges that plagued their nation and promised to deliver.
“The wishes and aspirations of my people will take precedence over my own. Today we are witnessing the smooth and peaceful transition of peace between political players in our country after learning from the challenges of the previous coalition. The outgoing coalition met a complex of political challenges which led to an early election before the end of its five-year term of office. We should embrace all lessons learnt from the collapse of the previous coalition.
The February 28 elections saw the people of Lesotho electing their government of choice. The results are a reflection of the will of the people of Lesotho and we respect that. The people are always right even when they are wrong, they are still right.
“I want to remind everyone that the electioneering time is behind us and the dust of elections campaigns must settle down. Everyone should work hard to rebuild our country. Peace and stability will result in economic growth of our country. I want to pledge that the new government will commit itself to confront all the challenges facing our nation with vigor and determination. We want to eradicate poverty and ensure development and economic growth,” said Dr Mosisili.
South African President Jacob Zuma whose deputy, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa was appointed the Sadc Lesotho facilitator, saluted the people of Lesotho for working hard to find a solution to their internal problems.
“When Lesotho experienced political problems, Sadc stepped in and assisted a fellow member. Sadc wants to assure the people of Lesotho that it will walk with them in their quest for peace, security and stability. We will work together to improve the lives of people through the creation of conducive atmosphere for development. I also want to assure you of SADC’s commitment to work with the new Prime Minister.
“The SADC Observer Mission which was in Lesotho since September 2014 is in the process of winding down. Our demand is for the people of Lesotho to work together,” he said.
All Sadc member states were represented at the inauguration ceremony.