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King celebrates 58th birthday

Thabelo Monamane

HIS Majesty King Letsie III yesterday celebrated his 58th birthday by officially launching the automation of birth registration services at Scott Hospital, Morija.

For the second year running, His Majesty’s birthday was a relatively low-key event attended by few people due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Moeketsi Majoro and Deputy Prime Minister Mathibeli Mokhothu were among the few high-profile guests who attended the celebrations along with some cabinet ministers and the Speaker of Parliament, Sephiri Motanyane.

The launch of the automation of birth registration services is in line with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target 16, 9 which seeks to provide legal identity for all by 2030, including free birth registrations.

Incidentally, King Letsie was born at Scott Hospital on 17 July 1963. He is the first son of King Moshoeshoe II and the Queen Mother, ‘Mamohato Bereng Seeiso.

Last year, His Majesty celebrated his birthday by making a hugely significant contribution to the fight against Covid-19. This after he revealed that the M2 million that had been set aside to fund his birthday celebrations had now been channelled to the fight against the deadly virus which had at that time infected 359 people and killed six. Now a year later, a cumulative 12 398 people have been infected and 339 have died due to the virus.

King Letsie III continues to be a unifying force in a nation that has been ravaged by political strife over the decades.

Unsurprisingly, most Basotho regard him as the only hope and they have indicated their distrust of politicians and parliamentary democracy which have failed to end instability and solve pressing socio-economic challenges.

The latest Afrobarometer research findings conducted last year, indicate that at least 66 percent Basotho would welcome monarchical rule over parliamentary democracy.

Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues in Africa.

The internationally acclaimed research institute said the latest findings were in sync with its 2017 survey findings that 75 percent of citizens wanted more powers to be given to the King because the current governance institutions fell short of their expected effectiveness in addressing the economic, social, and political needs of the nation.

“Basotho trust their King more than any other governance institution and favour amending the constitution to give him greater say on issues of national importance,” Afrobarometer found.

“The trust in the King translates into the majority of the Basotho strongly agreeing that the constitution of Lesotho should be amended to allow the King to have more say on issues of national importance.”

“More than two-thirds of Basotho say they trust the King, including 57 percent who trust him “a lot.” This is more than they trust other governance institutions in Lesotho.”

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