Patience Tsoho – Lesotho

Patience Tsoho – Lesotho

Date: June 25, 2012
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Patience Tsoho, an independent councillor in the Matsatseng community council in Quthing, Lesotho was a farmer before she decided to go into politics. “My decision to go into local government was motivated by my wish to represent women,” she says unequivocally.

But it hasn’t been an easy path. She stood for election as an independent candidate as the only woman against six men with the backing of their political parties and won. Resistance surfaces in the form of “street talk” that she chooses to takes no notice of because she believes that it comes from people who are weak as they feel intimidated by because she gets things done. These people question her ability to do the job because she doesn’t stand for any political party.

Although being an independent candidate got her out of petty political squabbles it may have limited her room for manoeuvre now that she is in office. When she reports back to council and puts forward ideas for development her reports are delayed and the responsible committees drag their feet.

She believes that the reasons for this behaviour are not only because she is an independent but also because she is a woman as most of the complaints that she receives are from men. She says that these male councillors have even scolded the district council secretary, who is also a woman, for taking decisions in her favour when they don’t believe such decisions should have been taken.

While the majority of the council are women (seven of the 13) she believes they do not participate effectively and that they do not have a clear vision as to what they want to achieve. She the woman chairperson of the committee (a member of the ruling party) calling off a trip for her to get training in Botswana “On the day I was supposed to leave” because she “wasn’t a party member despite the fact that I wasn’t going for the party but rather for the community.”

Despite these challenges Tsoho is encouraged by the fact that women have the ability to now stand on their own. “Women have suffered enough. They must take the opportunity, use it wisely and become independent persons. By my being here it gives me courage that my dream about women and equality will finally take shape and form. My wish is that women in this country understand that they have responsibility for their own lives.”


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