Fed up Basotho want to be ruled by the King

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By Pulane Chaka

Afrobarometer results published earlier today show that Basotho are increasingly unhappy with democracy and want the King to rule instead.

The Afrobarometer, in partnership with Advision Lesotho, published Lesotho’s Round 8 Survey results which have brought insight into how Basotho view their country’s leadership and what reforms need take place.

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan survey research network that provides reliable data on African experiences and evaluations of democracy, governance, and quality of life.

Lesotho has known little stability since the return to democracy in 1993. Turmoil reached new heights under coalition government, resulting in three elections (2012, 2015 and 2017) within a period of five years and repeated SADC interventions.

According to the study, conducted between February and March this year, “Disenchanted Basotho say the country’s constitutional monarch could help, but “mouth-zipped” by a constitution drafted by the politicians”.

The survey, conducted from a random sample of 1200 adult people, yielded the following results;

  • 76% of Basotho are discontented with the way the democracy in this country is working, which is up from the 53% in 2017.
  • 57% of Basotho would prefer to choose their leaders through means other than elections.
  • 67% of Basotho would agree to the abolishment of Parliament and elections in favour of being ruled over by the King, with an 88% majority wanting the King to “have more say on issues of national importance” and 90% wanting the King to be able to appoint a “caretaker government” in the event that a vote of no-confidence is passed in Parliament.
  • Most Basotho are supportive of proposed reforms that would limit the powers of the Prime Minister, such as the power to appoint judges and the head of the army. As an alternative, they should, respectively, be chosen by the Judicial Service Commission and Parliament.
  • “A majority of citizens support minimum and maximum age limits as well as a two-term maximum in office for the prime minister. And they overwhelmingly say the prime minister should be directly elected by the voters, rather than by Parliament (MPs) (85%).”
  • 67% of Basotho are in support of the King ruling the country, 56% support a one-party rule, 23% support a militant rule while another 23% support a one-man rule of the country.
  • A 34% majority of Basotho believe there should be no minimum age for becoming a prime minister followed by a 16% of Basotho saying the minimum should be age 40.
  • A 25% majority of Basotho say there should be no maximum age for being a prime minister followed closely by 20% who believe the maximum age should be 60.
  • 83% of Basotho believe the members of Parliament should lose their seat should they opt to leave their party.

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