MASERU — Leaders of Lesotho’s main opposition parties boycotted the Peace March on Friday.
The government had invited opposition leaders to participate in the march, an initiative of the African Union (AU) to promote peace among and within member states.
His Majesty King Letsie III led the march, including senior government officials, which started at Setsoto stadium and ended at the Moshoeshoe I Statue.
Some opposition politicians, civil and non-governmental organisations also participated in the march.
All Basotho Convention leader Tom Thabane said he did not attend the march because there was no peace to celebrate.
“Why should I celebrate non-existent peace?” Thabane quipped when asked about his absence from the march.
“I did not go there. I was meeting the people in the villages.”
“In fact, people in the villages were actually shocked that there was a Peace March in Maseru,” he added.
“People in the villages are suffering.”
Basotho National Party leader Metsing Lekhanya, who also boycotted the procession, said it was hypocritical for the government to call for a peace march when all along it has been undermining peace.
He said it was ironic that the government was calling for peace when it has rejected efforts to reform electoral laws.
LCD parliamentary chief whip and chairman, Thabang Pheko, said the opposition’s boycott was “unfortunate”.
Pheko said the march was not linked to politics.
Addressing the marchers, King Letsie III said Lesotho as a member of the AU shared the responsibility of promoting global peace and security.