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Do not vote for charlatans



TOMORROW Basotho will cast their votes in a hotly contested election that many hope will transform the country’s miserable fortunes.

Whoever wins this election has the monumental task of steering Lesotho off a dangerous course it has been hurtling over the past decade.

Yet we should warn against unrealistic expectations. There will be no revolutionary change. Politicians promising milk and honey are being disingenuous.

History teaches us that there is always an incongruence between what politicians promise and what they achieve. That is why thepost has traditionally avoided endorsing any political parties and leaders.

We prefer people to judge leaders by their actions and not words. In any case, it is never the role of any newspaper to recommend political choices unless the options are between pure evil and good.

We don’t see those poles in this election because there is very little ideological distinction among the parties.

The arrival of new political players and the euphoria we witnessed over the past few weeks point to a potentially high voter turnout. That is good for democracy.

We note the serious concerns some political parties have raised about the inaccuracies in the voters’ roll. We however don’t believe there is any sinister motive to the anomalies.

Suffice it to say it is the Independent Electoral Commission’s responsibility to ensure those mistakes don’t interfere with anyone’s right to vote.

In the meantime, we hope the commission has learned from this embarrassing episode and starts cleaning up the voters’ roll in preparation for the next election.

Their belligerence, obfuscation and public relations spin in the face of evidence of glaring and near-fatal mistakes is unhelpful and misdirected. They should acknowledge and fix the mess to avoid such debacles in future.

We welcome the peaceful campaign environment that prevailed despite the intense rivalry and the high stakes. We hope the discipline and political tolerance will continue on Election Day and beyond.

The issues in this election are obvious. Unemployment, especially among the youths, has worsened in recent years. The job carnage in the textile sector, the biggest private sector employer, indicates that more people will be emptied onto the streets.

Corruption remains rampant and unchecked. Poverty and hunger stalk more than half of the population with many perennially on the verge of starvation.

Service delivery is either patchy or absent. State institutions and companies are painfully inefficient. Basotho live in fear because violent crimes flourish in the villages while the ill-equipped and inept police flounder.

The private sector is still smarting from the ruinous effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Whatever little life that remains in the private sector is being snuffed by the government’s failure to pay companies for goods and services.

Inflation is wreaking havoc to worsen the plight of hundreds of thousands already struggling to make ends meet. Even those once well-off are feeling the pinch as they stretch their stagnant incomes to keep up with the galloping prices of food.

Lesotho’s dubious distinction as one of the most unequal societies in the world is being consolidated as more people fall into poverty while the few rich hog an outsize share of resources.

Little wonder Basotho are palpably disappointed, frustrated and annoyed with politicians.

Tomorrow is their opportunity to vote for those they believe will change their lot.

Whether their choices are based on emotion, methodical analysis or historical legacy is not the issue. What matters is that they believe they are voting for someone who will make Lesotho a better place.

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