n Journal of African Elections - The 2005 Lesotho local government elections : implications for development and governance
|Article Title||The 2005 Lesotho local government elections : implications for development and governance|
|© Publisher:||Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA)|
|Journal||Journal of African Elections|
|Publication Date||Jun 2005|
|Pages||100 - 116|
In April 2005 Lesotho held its first democratic local government elections since attaining political independence from Britain in 1966. Thus, over the past four decades, the country has used various unelected interim structures to carry out development activities countrywide; structures which were not built on democratic foundations. Consequently there are, understandably, high expectations for the new local government structures put in place through the April election. The Ministry of Local Government, charged with the responsibility for implementing local government in Lesotho, worked jointly with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to manage and administer the elections. Both worked in earnest to take care of the logistical arrangements throughout all the stages of the election: pre-election, polling and post-election. One component of the vigorous debate that marked the election revolved around the fact that a proportion of the electoral divisions was reserved for women only, with a view to enhancing gender equality in the decisionmaking and development processes. Controversial as it proved to be from a legal point of view, politically this is a progressive step that conforms with the purpose of developmental local government, which is that of service delivery through active participation by all sectors of the community. This paper looks at the Lesotho local government elections and their implications for development and governance. The paper expresses the view that elections are not an occasion but part of the process towards sustainable development and democratic consolidation. Elections are, therefore, not an end in themselves but a means to an end: that end being development and governance.
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