Secretary-General Patricia Scotland will meet with political leaders in Lesotho to reaffirm the Commonwealth’s support to the country ahead of general elections on 3 June.
Her visit from 24 -27 April is part of the Commonwealth’s long-standing engagement with Lesotho. Assistance to the country has included support with the development of Lesotho’s parliamentary governance, observation of elections, and the follow up of observer group recommendations to strengthen democracy and improve electoral processes.
This is the second time a coalition government in Lesotho has collapsed since the 2012 elections. The last coalition fell on 1 March after a no confidence vote. Secretary-General Scotland said: “My aim is to determine how the Commonwealth can support the peace-building agenda and assist the country to implement reforms and recommendations from observers and envoys. There is good practice in effective coalition governance throughout the Commonwealth that we can draw upon.”
During the mission, Secretary-General Scotland will explore how the Commonwealth can work with the Southern African Development Community, other development partners, faith-based organisations and other NGOs to promote peaceful elections and the implementation of reforms. “This is a critical time for Lesotho as it prepares for elections. It is important that we reassure the country of our firm commitment to continue supporting its democracy and development,” she said.
The Secretary-General’s engagement is in line with the 2017 Commonwealth theme ‘A peace-building Commonwealth’.
She said, “Our theme this year is about building democratic institutions, holding credible elections, upholding human rights and promoting good governance. I firmly believe that, while politicians, government agencies and development organisations play a critical role in achieving and maintaining peaceful societies, every citizen is a stakeholder in the peace-building process. This is the message that I hope will come across loud and clear during my visit to the Kingdom of Lesotho.”
Immediately after her mission to Lesotho, the Secretary-General will travel to Malawi for a meeting with the President and officials in Lilongwe.