US embassy cable - 99MASERU1721 (original version)

LESOTHO: ONE YEAR AFTER SADC MILITARY INTERVENTION (original version)

Identifier: 99MASERU1721
Wikileaks: View 99MASERU1721 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Maseru
Created: 1999-09-29 10:24:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PGOV PINR MASS MOPS ECON ELAB LT
Redacted: This cable was redacted by Wikileaks. [Show redacted version] [Compare redacted and unredacted version]
O 291024Z SEP 99
FM AMEMBASSY MASERU
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0401
INFO SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
USCINCEUR VAIHINGEN GE//ECJ-4//ECJ-5//
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
SECDEF WASHDC
CIA WASHDC
DIA WASHDC
JOINT STAFF WASHDC
USDOC WASHDC
USMISSION USUN 
DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC 0011
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 05 MASERU 1721 
 
AIDAC 
GABORONE PLEASE PASS TO USAID/RCSA 
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS 
DEPT FOR AF/EX, AF/S, EB AND INR 
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO NDI 
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO USDEL IBRD AND IMF 
GABORONE FOR ODC 
PRETORIA FOR POL LESOTHO WATCHER AND DAO 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS:  PGOV, PINR, MASS, MOPS, ECON, ELAB, LT 
SUBJECT:  LESOTHO: ONE YEAR AFTER SADC MILITARY INTERVENTION 
 
SUMMARY:  NOT WITH A BANG... 
-------------------------- 
 
1. LESOTHO IS MUDDLING THROUGH AN ARTIFICIAL AND UNEASY 
CALM ONE YEAR AFTER A REGIONAL MILITARY INTERVENTION TO 
REVERSE AN ARMY MUTINY AND FORESTALL AN ATTEMPT TO 
OVERTHROW THE ELECTED GOVERNMENT. THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY 
OF THE DRAMATIC EVENTS OF 1998 PASSED WITH LITTLE NOTICE 
BY MANY HERE AND SEPTEMBER 22 APPEARED A DAY LIKE ANY 
OTHER.  HOWEVER, THE POLITICAL POLARIZATION THAT 
GENERATED THE AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1998 POLITICAL/SECURITY 
CRISIS IS FAR FROM BEING RESOLVED.  INSTITUTIONAL 
MECHANISMS PUT IN PLACE WITH THE HELP OF REGIONAL PLAYERS 
TO FACILITATE A PROCESS OF RESOLUTION ARE AT AN IMPASSE. 
PLANS TO HOLD NEW ELECTIONS IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2000 
HAVE STALLED.  POLITICAL PARTIES ARE STILL AT LOGGERHEADS 
AND HARBOR MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE OBJECTIVES THAT ARE NOT 
AMENABLE TO COMPROMISE. THERE WERE NO COMMEMORATIVE 
EVENTS BY EITHER THE GOVERNING OR OPPOSITION PARTIES -- 
EXCEPT FOR THE OPPOSITION COALITION'S UNVEILING A 
SCULPTURE DEDICATED TO THE "HEROES" OF THE ARMY WHO WERE 
"MARTYRED" AS THEY DEFENDED THE COUNTRY FROM FOREIGN 
"INVADERS."  AS A MEASURE OF THEIR RENEWED CONFIDENCE, 
THE PRIME MINISTER, THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER AND THE 
FOREIGN MINISTER WERE TRAVELING OVERSEAS WITH NO WORRIES 
ABOUT THE MAINTENANCE OF LAW AND ORDER DURING THEIR 
ABSENCE.  END SUMMARY 
 
ANNIVERSARY OF A CRISIS 
----------------------- 
 
2. ON SEPTEMBER 22, 1998, AT THE REQUEST OF PRIME 
MINISTER PAKALITHA MOSISILI AND WITH THE CONCURRENCE OF 
THE HEADS OF SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
(SADC), MILITARY FORCES FROM SOUTH AFRICA INTERVENED IN 
THE POLITICAL/ SECURITY CRISIS THAT WAS UNFOLDING IN 
LESOTHO.  THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL DEFENSE FORCE WAS 
SOON JOINED BY TROOPS FROM BOTSWANA WHO BATTLED WITH ARMY 
MUTINEERS AND THEIR OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS IN HEAVY 
FIREFIGHTS FOR THREE DAYS.  UNFORTUNATELY, BY THAT TIME, 
NEARLY 100 PEOPLE WERE DEAD AND ARSONISTS AND LOOTERS HAD 
DECIMATED THE COMMERCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE IN LESOTHO'S 
THREE LARGEST TOWNS, INCLUDING THE CAPITAL, MASERU. 
 
HISTORY, PRECEDENTS AND HARBINGERS... 
----------------------------------- 
 
3. IN 1994\1995 BOTSWANA, SOUTH AFRICA AND ZIMBABWE BECAME 
GUARANTOR MEMBERS OF THE SADC TROIKA THAT WAS MANDATED TO 
OVERSEE THE PEACE PROCESS AFTER ELEMENTS IN LESOTHO'S ARMY 
FOMENTED A PALACE COUP LED BY KING LETSIE III. THIS 
GUARANTOR STATUS, UNDER A 1994 MOU, AIMED TO SUPERVISE A 
RETURN TO THE GENERAL PRINCIPLE IN THE REGION THAT SADC 
WILL NOT TOLERATE EFFORTS TO UNCONSTITUTIONALLY OVERTHROW 
DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED MEMBER STATES. THE PALACE COUP 
FOLLOWED REJECTION BY OPPOSITION PARTIES OF THEIR TOTAL 
DEFEAT IN THE 1993 ELECTIONS.  OPPOSITIONISTS ALLEGED, 
BUT DID NOT PROVE, ELECTORAL FRAUD AND VOTE RIGGING. THEY 
USED THIS ALLEGATION TO PRECIPITATE AN ATTEMPT TO 
OVERTHROW OF THE ELECTED GOVERNMENT. 
 
4. AS IN 1994, THE 1998 CIVIL STRIFE FOLLOWED THE 
ELECTORAL DEFEAT BY THE SAME COALITION OF OPPOSITION 
PARTIES WHO AGAIN ALLEGED THEY WERE VICTIMS OF ELECTORAL 
FRAUD.   AN UNAUTHORIZED SEVEN-MONTH- LONG DEMONSTRATION 
AND PALACE VIGIL BY OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS BEGAN IN AUGUST 
1998.  OPPOSITION SUPPORTERS CALLED ON THE KING TO 
OVERTURN THE ELECTION RESULTS URGED HIM TO INSTALL A 
GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY.  EFFORTS BY SOUTH AFRICA'S 
THEN VICE PRESIDENT, THABO MBEKI, TO MEDIATE A PEACEFUL 
RESOLUTION OF THIS ESCALATING CRISIS PROVED FUTILE. 
 
5. THE PALACE VIGIL SOON LED TO AN ARMY MUTINY, THE 
FORCED SHUT DOWN OF THE CAPITAL AND OF PUBLIC OFFICES, 
ALONG WITH HIJACKING OF GOVERNMENT VEHICLES BY OPPOSITION 
ACTIVISTS.  CABINET MEMBERS WENT UNDERGROUND IN FEAR OF 
THEIR LIVES, AS IN 1994, WHEN THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER 
WAS ASSASSINATED BY COUP PLOTTERS.  IN THIS POLARIZED 
INTERNECINE ATMOSPHERE, THE SADC MILITARY INTERVENTION 
SPARKED AN ORGY OF LOOTING, DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY, 
BURNING AND LOSS OF LIFE. THE PRIVATE RESIDENCES OF THE 
PRIME MINISTER, SEVERAL MEMBERS OF THE CABINET, AND A 
NUMBER OF HIGH LEVEL OFFICIALS WERE DESTROYED BY FIRE AND 
THEIR ANIMALS WERE SLAUGHTERED.   A WELL-ORCHESTRATED 
ASSAULT ON SOUTH AFRICAN BUSINESS INTERESTS TOOK PLACE, 
WITH CHINESE AND INDIAN BUSINESSES CAUGHT UP IN THE 
FLASHOVER. SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONALS WERE RANDOMLY 
ATTACKED, VEHICLES BEARING SOUTH AFRICAN REGISTRATION 
NUMBERS WERE VANDALIZED. EXPATRIATE RESIDENTS OF LESOTHO, 
INCLUDING NON- OFFICIAL AMERICANS, EVACUATED THE COUNTRY 
IN LARGE NUMBERS.  IT TOOK THE SOUTH AFRICAN ARMY THREE 
DAYS OF BLOODY FIGHTING TO SUPPRESS THE LDF RESISTANCE 
AND THEIR OPPOSITION ALLIES WHOM THEY ARMED FROM MILITARY 
WEAPONS INVENTORIES. 
 
 
INAUSPICIOUS REMEMBRANCES 
------------------------- 
6.THE PAST YEAR HAS BEEN ONE OF MANY REVERSALS FOR LESOTHO. 
AFTER EXPERIENCING SOME OF THE HIGHEST ECONOMIC GROWTH 
RATES IN AFRICA IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DECADE, IN ONE YEAR 
LESOTHO'S GROWTH RATE WENT FROM SEVEN PERCENT TO MINUS 
EIGHT PERCENT.  THOUSANDS OF JOBS WERE LOST IN THE 
DESTRUCTION OF COMMERCIAL AND PUBLIC ENTERPRISES.  THESE 
NEW CASES OF UNEMPLOYMENT EXACERBATE AN ALREADY HIGH RATE 
OF JOBLESSNESS AND THE ASSOCIATE STRESS ON HOUSEHOLDS 
TEETERING ON THE BRINK OF POVERTY.  SMALL ARMS 
TRAFFICKING IS ON THE INCREASE, HOUSEBREAKING AND STREET 
CRIME IS RAMPANT, OPPOSITION PARTIES ARE IN DISARRAY, THE 
ECONOMY IS WEAKER THAN IT WAS A YEAR AGO AND THE 
ELECTORATE IS DESPONDENT. 
 
7. ONE YEAR LATER, THE ROOTS OF LESOTHO'S CRISIS REMAINS 
UNRESOLVED AND THE FUTURE PEACE OF THE COUNTRY IS FAR 
FROM GUARANTEED.  A RELATIVE AND ARTIFICIAL CALM HAS BEEN 
RETURNED UNDER THE SADC SECURITY UMBRELLA, BUT THIS CALM 
IS ONLY ON THE SURFACE.  THE PEACE ENFORCEMENT PHASE OF 
SADC'S OPERATION BOLEAS ENDED IN APRIL 1999, AND WAS 
REPLACED BY A SMALLER CONTINGENT OF SADC TROOPS WHO ARE 
TRAINING THE LDF IN CIVIL/MILITARY AFFAIRS WHILE 
REINFORCING CIVIC CALM.  THOUGH MOST BASOTHO ACT AS IF IT 
IS BUSINESS AS USUAL, THE UNDERLYING POLITICAL TENSIONS 
CONTINUE AND A LASTING SOLUTION IS STILL ELUSIVE. 
 
8. FOLLOWING LAST YEAR'S MILITARY INTERVENTION, AN 
INTERIM POLITICAL AUTHORITY (IPA) WAS FORMED (NOVEMBER 
1998) TO PREPARE THE GROUND FOR NEW ELECTIONS SCHEDULED 
AFTER EIGHTEEN MONTHS (MAY 2000).  DESPITE LACK OF PROOF 
OF ELECTORAL FRAUD, THE GOVERNING PARTY WAS CONVINCED TO 
ACCEPT NEW ELECTIONS AS A MEANS FOR SETTLING THE MATTER. 
SINCE THEN, THE GOL HAS EMBARKED ON A COMPREHENSIVE 
REFORM PROGRAM FOR CIVIL SERVANTS, THE LDF AND OTHER 
SECURITY ORGANIZATIONS. THEIR GOAL IS TO MINIMIZE THE 
NEGATIVE EFFECT OF PARTISAN LOYALTIES IN THE PUBLIC AND 
SECURITY SERVICES WHILE PROMOTING A NON-PARTISAN 
MERITOCRACY FOR PUBLIC SERVANTS. THOSE SOLDIERS WHO WERE 
INVOLVED IN THE LDF MUTINY ARE FOR THE FIRST TIME BEING 
TRIED VIA COURTS-MARTIAL FOR THEIR PART IN THE ATTEMPTED 
COUP AND OTHER INFRACTIONS AGAINST THE DEFENSE ACT (1996). 
 
MUTINY WITHIN THE ARMY 
---------------------- 
 
9. OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTIES OPPOSED THE RESULTS OF 
THE 1998 GENERAL ELECTIONS -- AS HAS EVERY LOSING PARTY 
SINCE INDEPENDENCE IN 1966.  THEY CALLED FOR THE KING TO 
DISSOLVE THE GOVERNMENT ALTHOUGH THEY KNEW THAT THE KING 
DOES NOT HAVE CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY TO DO SO. 
WIDESPREAD DISTURBANCES, PARTICULARLY IN THE CAPITAL, LED 
TO A SOUTH AFRICAN EFFORT TO MEDIATE IN THE PROBLEM. A 
SOUTH AFRICAN-SPONSORED COMMISSION OF INQUIRY -- THE 
LANGA COMMISSION -- WAS CONVOKED TO LOOK INTO OPPOSITION 
ALLEGATIONS OF ELECTION FRAUD.  THE COMMISSION'S 
FINDINGS, WERE LESS THAN UNAMBIGUOUS.  THE LANGA 
COMMISSION DID NOT FIND ANY PROOF OF ELECTORAL FRAUD, BUT 
SAID THEY COULD NOT PROVE THAT NO FRAUD AFFECTED 
ELECTORAL OUTCOMES.  CHOOSING TO INTERPRET THE AMBIGUITY 
OF THE LANGA REPORT AS A VICTORY, THE OPPOSITION PARTIES 
STRENGTHENED THEIR PROTESTS AND MADE THE COUNTRY 
UNGOVERNABLE. CABINET MINISTERS ABANDONED THEIR POSTS, 
WENT INTO HIDING AND THE CAPITAL WAS LITERALLY SHUT 
DOWN.  A HANDFUL OF LDF JUNIOR OFFICERS TOOK PART IN WHAT 
LATER LED TO A MUTINY.  ARMY OFFICERS ABOVE THE RANK OF 
CAPTAIN WERE ARRESTED AND HELD IN THE MAXIMUM SECURITY 
PRISON.  THE COMMANDER OF THE ARMY WAS FORCED TO READ AT 
GUNPOINT A STATEMENT OVER STATE RADIO CLAIMING HE FIRED 
28 OF HIS OFFICER COLLEAGUES AND SUBSEQUENTLY ANNOUNCED 
HIS OWN RESIGNATION. IN THE FOLLOWING DAYS, WITH THE ARMY 
IN MUTINY AND POLICE DISARMED, THE ONLY ORGANIZED ARMED 
FORCES IN THE COUNTRY WERE MUTINEERS AND OPPOSITION 
PROVOCATEURS.  THIS SITUATION BECAME UNTENABLE, AND 
MOTIVATED THE PM'S REQUEST TO SADC FOR MILITARY 
INTERVENTION TO REVERSE THE MUTINY AND RETURN THE COUNTRY 
TO LAW AND ORDER. 
 
10. THE GOVERNMENT HAS EMBARKED ON A PROGRAM OF REFORM 
FOR THE LDF, THE POLICE AND THE NATIONAL SECURITY SERVICE 
(NSS).  THE SADC INTERVENTION FORCES, KNOWN AS OPERATION 
BOLEAS, HAVE SINCE BEEN REPLACED BY OPERATION MALUTI 
WHICH IS AIMED AT RETRAINING AND REORIENTING THE LDF. 
THE SADC/LDF TRAINING IS REPORTED TO BE GOING WELL AND IT 
IS ENVISAGED THAT IT WILL BE COMPLETED BY THE END OF THE 
YEAR.  AN INITIAL PLAN TO DISBAND THE NSS -- AFTER IT 
FAILED TO INFORM THE GOVERNMENT OF THE OPPOSITION 
POLITICAL PARTIES' PLAN TO STAGE A COUP -- WAS 
ABANDONED.  THIS DECISION FOLLOWED AN OUTCRY FROM MANY 
QUARTERS OF THE SOCIETY WORRIED THAT THE LCD MIGHT BE 
ENGAGED IN AN EFFORT TO TRANSFORM STATE EMPLOYEES INTO 
LCD PARTISANS. 
 
THE INTERIM POLITICAL AUTHORITY (IPA) 
------------------------------------- 
 
11. THE IPA WAS ESTABLISHED IN NOVEMBER 1998, TO PREPARE 
FOR EARLY ELECTIONS, AND WAS THOUGHT BY MANY TO BE THE 
BASIS FOR A SOLUTION TO THE POLITICAL PROBLEMS IN 
LESOTHO.  THE IPA IS MADE UP OF TWO MEMBERS FROM EACH OF 
THE TWELVE POLITICAL PARTIES THAT TOOK PART IN THE 1998 
ELECTION.  THERE ARE 24 IPA MEMBERS, WHICH GIVES UNUSUAL 
VOTING STRENGTH TO THE OPPOSITION COALITION WHILE ALMOST 
ENSURING THE RULING PARTY'S INITIATIVES NEVER CARRY THE 
CONSENSUS. THE IPA IS SUPPOSED TO SET THE STAGE FOR NEW 
ELECTIONS BY MAY 2000. THEY ARE TO AGREE AND MAKE 
RECOMMENDATIONS ON THE STRUCTURE OF THE NEXT ELECTION, 
ADDRESS CONCERNS ABOUT THE AUTONOMY AND EFFECTIVENESS OF 
THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION (IEC), AMONG OTHER 
MATTERS.  THE IPA'S TENURE STATUTORILY ENDS AS SOON AS 
THE RESULTS OF 2000 ELECTIONS ARE ANNOUNCED. 
 
12. SOUTH AFRICAN MEDIATORS RECOMMENDED THE IPA AS A 
COMPROMISE METHOD TO ACCOMMODATE MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE 
GOALS.  THE OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTIES WANTED A 
GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY (SOMEHOW WITHOUT THE 
PARTICIPATION OF THE RULING PARTY) BUT THE GOL OPPOSED 
THAT AFTER IT WON SUCH A RESOUNDING ELECTORAL VICTORY 
WITH SEVENTY NINE OF EIGHTY SEATS IN PARLIAMENT. 
(COMMENT: THE OPPOSITION POLITICAL PARTIES CHOSE TO 
PORTRAY THE IPA AS A KIND OF POWER SHARING ARRANGEMENT OR 
PARALLEL/INTERIM GOVERNMENT.   HOWEVER, THE GOL, AS THE 
LEGITIMATELY ELECTED GOVERNMENT, REFUSES TO CEDE ANY OF 
ITS AUTHORITY TO THE OPPOSITION ALLIANCE, BUT DOES 
PARTICIPATE IN THE IPA.  THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT SADC 
VIEWS THE RULING PARTY AS THE LEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT -- AS 
DOES THIS EMBASSY AND OTHER RESIDENT DIPLOMATIC 
MISSIONS.  NOR HAS COMPELLING EVIDENCE OF ELECTORAL FRAUD 
BEEN PRESENTED TO UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMACY OF THE 
MOSILILI ADMINISTRATION.  END COMMENT) 
 
PROGRESS, OR LACK THEREOF... 
-------------------------- 
 
13. SINCE ITS INCEPTION, THE IPA HAS COVERED LITTLE 
GROUND AND MADE MINISCULE PROGRESS IN PREPARING FOR NEW 
ELECTIONS NEXT YEAR. INTERMINABLE SQUABBLES BETWEEN THE 
RULING LESOTHO CONGRESS FOR DEMOCRACY (LCD) MEMBERS AND 
REPRESENTATIVES OF THE MAREMATLOU FREEDOM PARTY (MFP), 
THE BASOTHOLAND CONGRESS PARTY (BCP) AND THE BASOTHO 
NATIONAL PARTY (BNP) HAVE WASTED INVALUABLE TIME. 
POLITICIANS USED THE IPA AS A PLATFORM TO DENOUNCE ONE 
ANOTHER AND HOLD FORTH ON THE APPROPRIATENESS OF INVITING 
THE SADC FORCES TO INTERVENE IN THE POLITICAL AND 
MILITARY PROBLEMS OF LESOTHO. LITTLE WORK WAS 
ACCOMPLISHED ON ELECTIONS PREPARATION, THE IPA'S MAIN 
DUTY.  ATTEMPTS BY OPPOSITION LEADERS TO DERAIL OR 
DISCREDIT COURT-MARTIAL HEARINGS FOR MILITARY PERSONNEL 
WHO TOOK PART IN THE MUTINY ALSO OCCUPIED TOO MUCH OF THE 
IPA'S WORKING TIME. (COMMENT: FROM 1970 TO 1993, 
UNCONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITARIAN REGIMES RULED LESOTHO, AND 
EMPLOYMENT IN THE PUBLIC SERVICES WAS DEPENDENT ON 
POLITICAL AFFILIATION WITH THE BNP.  AS A RESULT OF THE 
1993 ELECTION, THE THEN-BCP INHERITED A CIVIL SERVICE, AN 
ARMY, A POLICE FORCE, AND AN INTELLIGENCE SERVICE THAT 
WAS PROFOUNDLY POLARIZED IN PARTISAN OPPOSITION AGAINST 
THEM.  SOME OBSERVERS BELIEVED THAT OPPOSITION LEADERS 
WERE OPPOSED TO THE COURT-MARTIAL HEARINGS BECAUSE OF THE 
POSSIBILITY THAT THEY AND THEIR SUPPORTERS COULD BE 
IMPLICATED IN SUBORNING MUTINY AS A PRELUDE TO AN ATTEMPT 
TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT.  END COMMENT) 
 
14. DESPITE ITS LIMITED ACCOMPLISHMENTS, THE IPA MAY BE 
ON THE VERGE OF AGREEING TO ADD FIFTY SEATS TO THE 
CURRENT EIGHTY-MEMBER NATIONAL ASSEMBLY - FOR A TOTAL OF 
130 SEATS, WITH A PORTION OF THOSE SEATS CONTESTED ON A 
FIRST-PAST-THE-POST SYSTEM AND THE REMAINDER BY 
PROPORTIONAL REPRESENTATION.  THIS OSTENSIBLE EFFORT AT 
REPRESENTATIONAL INCLUSIVENESS APPARENTLY SERVES THE 
INTERESTS OF OPPOSITION PARTIES MORE THAN IT DOES THE 
RULING PARTY. HOWEVER, IF VOTING PATTERNS REMAIN 
CONSISTENT WITH THE 1993 AND 1998 ELECTIONS, A NEW POLL 
MAY YET RATIFY THE VOTERS' PREFERENCE FOR THE LCD OVER 
ALL OTHER PARTIES.  AFTER MUCH WRANGLING AND GOL 
ACQUIESCENCE, THE IPA HAS ALSO AGREED TO REPLACE THE 
CURRENT COMMISSIONERS OF THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL 
COMMISSION (IEC). AFTER FAILING TO SADDLE THE LCD WITH 
ACCUSATIONS OF ELECTORAL FRAUD, OPPOSITION POLITICAL 
PARTIES TURNED TO BLAME THEIR ELECTION DEFEAT ON THE 
CHAIRMAN OF THE IEC, CLAIMING THAT HE WAS BRIBED. 
(COMMENT: THIS WAS THE FIRST IEC IN THE ELECTION HISTORY 
OF LESOTHO AND THE THREE COMMISSIONERS HAD NEVER HAD ANY 
EXPERIENCE IN CONDUCTING ELECTIONS.  THE THREE 
COMMISSIONERS WERE THE NOMINEES OF OPPOSITION PARTIES AND 
INITIALLY WERE DISTRUSTED BY THE LCD.  DESPITE THIS 
HANDICAP, AND LIMITED TIME TO ACHIEVE THEIR MANDATE, THE 
IEC WAS COMMENDED BY INTERNATIONAL AS WELL AS REGIONAL 
ELECTION OBSERVER GROUPS FOR THEIR JOB OF CONDUCTING THE 
1998 ELECTIONS.  NEVERTHELESS, OPPOSITION MEMBERS OF THE 
IPA SAY THEY HAVE LOST CONFIDENCE IN THE IEC, SO THEIR 
SIX YEAR TERMS SHOULD BE TRUNCATED AND THEY SHOULD BE 
REPLACED.  IN CONTRAST, ELECTION OBSERVERS CONCLUDED THAT 
THE 1998 POLL MET INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS FOR A 
DEMOCRATIC ELECTION THAT REFLECTED THE WILL OF THE 
ELECTORATE.  END COMMENT) 
 
15. THE CURRENT IMPASSE WITHIN THE IPA IS CENTERED ON THE 
PROPOSED MODEL FOR THE NEXT ELECTION.  THE RULING PARTY 
PREFERS TO RETAIN THE TRADITIONAL ELECTORAL SYSTEM OF 
FIRST PAST THE POST (FPTP) WHILE THE OPPOSITION PARTIES 
SEE THEIR ADVANTAGE IN A MIXED SYSTEM OF PROPORTIONAL 
REPRESENTATION (PR) AND A CONSTITUENCY BASED SYSTEM. 
(COMMENT: THERE IS A CYNICAL VIEW AMONG SOME BASOTHO THAT 
IT IS NOT IN THE INTEREST OF ANY IPA MEMBERS TO SEE 
ELECTION PREPARATION SUCCEED BECAUSE THE IPA HAS BECOME A 
MEANS OF LIVELIHOOD FOR OPPOSITIONISTS, AND THE LCD IS 
ABLE TO MAINTAIN ITS GOVERNING AUTHORITY WITHOUT 
INTERRUPTION OF ITS FIVE YEAR TENURE. END COMMENT). 
PETERSON## 
 
PETERSON 

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