Ruling party wins local government by-elections

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MASERU — The ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) has won three out of four local government by-elections held last Saturday.

One council was won by the main opposition All Basotho Convention (ABC) party.

The poorly attended polls were held in the four districts of Mokhotlong, Berea, Mafeteng and Mohale’s Hoek.

In Mapholaneng, Mokhotlong, LCD’s Lylian ’Mathato Mahasane got 35.7 percent with 84 votes.

Three independent candidates and Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC)’s Elidah ’Malebohang Lethepa contested.

Mapholaneng had a total of 877 registered voters but only 238 voted.

In Berea the ABC scooped the Kueneng council with 123 votes out of 300 polled votes.

ABC’s Mokotjomela Mokotjomela defeated Taole Khang of LCD who got 96 votes.

Other parties that contested in the Kueneng council are the Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) which got 44 votes, Basotho Democratic National Party (BDNP) with managed only six while an independent candidate got 26.

LCD also won the Mathula council in Mafeteng against three independent candidates.

LCD’s Tankiso Ntsie got 96 votes. 

The council had 325 voters but only 165 turned out for the polls.

In Mohale’s Hoek’s Qhobeng council the ABC lost dismally.

The opposition’s Mokete Berente managed only one vote whilst the LCD’s Thabo Damane got 48.

The battle in Mohale’s Hoek was between the ABC and LCD and one independent candidate who won nine votes.

There were 235 registered voters in the council but only 58 cast their vote.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) commissioner, Malefetsane Nkhahle said the low turnout was caused by the lack of interest in the local government elections.

Nkhahle said the IEC had hoped to get at least a 40 percent voter turnout in all councils.

The lowest turnout was recorded in Qhobeng which had 24.68 percent. 

The highest turnout was in Mathula in Mafeteng where 50.77 percent was recorded.

Nkhahle said the IEC has started preparations for the next countrywide local government elections which will be held next year.

“I wish the Ministry of Local Government could help us to make the coming elections a success,” Nkhahle said.

“Please raise awareness among your party youth,” the commissioner said.

Meanwhile, the IEC chief Information Officer Rethabile Pholo said they were planning to use the media more extensively to promote voting in preparation for the next elections.

Pholo told the Lesotho Times in an interview that apart from advertising in the print and electronic media they plan to put posters in all councils and electoral divisions countrywide.

“We are going to use the media as an important tool in order to see success in these coming elections,” Pholo said.

“We have seen how using the media has made the recent national elections successful in South Africa,” he said.

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