Bongiwe Zihlangu, ‘Marafaele Mohloboli & Tebello Moalosi
LERIBE — Calm prevailed yesterday at polling stations in the northern parts of the country as Basotho took to polling centres in their numbers.
From Sekamaneng in the Berea district to Leribe the roads were “deserted” and very few people were seen along the way.
By 7 am, the time scheduled for voting to start, hundreds of voters were already waiting for polling stations to open so they could cast their votes.
Some of the voters told the Sunday Express that they had been waiting since 5 am hoping to be the first to cast their vote.
However a number of Basotho were disappointed as they could not find their names on the voters’ roll despite confirming earlier in the week that they were there.
At Sekamaneng Primary School polling station, a whole clan using the ’Molotsi surname was turned away because all their names, except for two relatives, did not appear on the roll.
The members, seemingly agitated by the turn of events, were told that their names had been transferred to the Cenez Primary School polling station as they had been affected by the constituency delimitation exercise conducted in their area.
The family members were finally relieved when their names reflected on the voters’ roll at the next polling station and they were finally all able to vote.
At the Masianokeng polling station in the Mahobong constituency Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) leader Mothetjoa Metsing was scheduled to vote at 12 noon, but there was only one room used for about 400 voters expected to cast their votes.
When this paper arrived at Masianokeng, 200 of the expected 400 people had already cast their vote.
“When we declare victory, it won’t be for an individual but in the name of democracy and Basotho,” Metsing said.
Dressed in a white long-sleeved designer shirt and black trousers, Metsing exuded confidence as he greeted queuing voters.
In an interview with the Sunday Express later Metsing said May 26 marked a milestone in Lesotho’s politics.
“I am elated to be here today.
“What I’ve just done is not just a responsibility but also setting an example as a leader of the biggest party in Lesotho,” said Metsing.
He added that during the three-month election campaign period, there were some people who secretly wished “that this day would never come”.
“There was also a dark cloud hanging over this country’s peace.
“But seeing Basotho here today, both young and old queuing peaceful to vote gives me immense pleasure.
“We will appoint members of other parties to the LCD cabinet for the realisation of a government that is inclusive,” Metsing said.
“This is for Basotho who are not LCD members to feel they also belong to the government and for them not to feel discriminated against.”
At Maputsoe No 15, one of the 13 constituencies under Leribe district, voters came out in numbers to cast their votes.
The All Basotho Convention, Lesotho Congress for Democracy, Basotho National Party and Democratic Congress were the few political parties represented at the Maputsoe constituency.
The polling station manager at Maputsoe ACL primary school, Thato Motlalane, told the Sunday Express that they expected 536 people to vote.
When this paper arrived at the station during lunch hour 250 people had cast their vote.
“We have not had any major incidents except the case of three people who were not allowed to vote because their names did not appear on the final voters’ roll,” Motlalane said.
One of the people who had already voted, Sebolelo Rampooane, said she was happy that she had exercised her right to vote.
“I am delighted that today I was amongst many Basotho who queued and voted,” said Rampooane.
“Today I got the chance to vote for the party that I support.”
St Luke Primary School polling station manager, Richard Mabele, said they expected 445 registered voters and by lunch time 200 people had already voted.
“When voting started at 7 am it was mostly the elderly who were coming in large numbers.
“Youths only started showing up after lunch,” Mabele said.
Jabulane Lebusa, who was at St Luke Primary School said this was his first time to vote.
“I am a proud youth today because I have voted for the first time in my life.
“I am really happy,” said Lebusa.
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