MASERU — It is a very unorthodox election campaign tactic.
But with the May 26 make-or-break election inching closer it is not a surprise that political parties are trying all tricks in the book to garner votes.
It is with that in mind that the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Lesotho’s second biggest opposition party, has now organised a beauty pageant to lure young voters.
The party’s Stadium Area constituency will on April 27 host the Miss Stadium Area 31 beauty pageant at the AME Hall, the first to be organised by a political party.
The pageant has been organised by House of Elegance and St George, two local fashion houses.
In an interview with the Weekender on Tuesday, pageant organiser ‘Maneo Matseletsele said the event seeks to encourage young people to participate in national politics.
“This is an activity to attract young girls and women to take part in the country’s politics,” Matseletsele said.
Only those who have registered to vote during the general election will be allowed to vie for the crown.
“Because we want to encourage young people to participate in the country’s politics, we are targeting girls who have registered to vote, although it is a big challenge.
“We are however welcoming other girls who would love to take part in the pageant,” Matseletsele said.
Registration began last week and is expected to end on April 17.
Matseletsele said they will host auditions three days after the close of registration.
“We will host auditions on April 20 and 21 because we are looking for only 12 finalists to compete for the Miss Stadium Area 31 crown,” she said.
Jazz maestro Bhudaza and DJ Alex have been lined up to perform at the function.
“We are looking to have an event that will target young people but we also expect parents to come and support their children. There will be a mixture of music genres on offer.”
The Stadium Area 31 constituency covers areas such as Upper and Lower-Thamae, Moshoeshoe II, Sea-Point, Stadium Area and Thibella.
“Although the pageant is focused on Stadium Area Constituency, should we not get 12 girls then we will make it an open competition for girls from other areas,” Matseletsele said.
Mophato Monyake is the ABC’s candidate in the Stadium Area constituency.
Monyake told the Weekender he initiated the pageant so he can get young people in one place and address their issues.
“Young people’s talents are not being addressed by the government so the pageant is to get them in one place so that we talk about what the ABC can do for them should it win the election,” he said.
He added that the pageant would be focusing on unearthing fresh talent in modelling, fashion design and performing arts.
“We could have expanded the competition to national level but we started preparations a bit late,” Monyake said.
“However, candidates from other constituencies who are interested can register to participate in the competition because the bottom line is to campaign among young people.”