The State Department alerts U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Lesotho to the upcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for February 28, 2015. U.S. citizens are urged to exercise caution and remain abreast of the security situation throughout the electoral period. This Travel Alert expires on March 21, 2015.
As a result of a political and security crisis in late 2014, Lesotho’s political parties agreed to hold early elections in February 2015. Although Lesotho’s 2012 parliamentary elections were generally orderly and peaceful, the State Department recommends U.S. citizens maintain a high level of security awareness during the electoral period and avoid political rallies, demonstrations, polling stations, and crowds of any kind. Instances of unrest related to the election are possible, and U.S. citizens should be aware that even peaceful gatherings and demonstrations can turn violent. Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.
Local stores, including grocery stores, may be closed over the electoral weekend. U.S. citizens are reminded that as a general matter of emergency preparedness, you should maintain adequate supplies of food, water, essential medicines, and other supplies that will allow you to shelter in place for at least 72 hours. Additional recommendations on emergency preparedness are available in Mission South Africa’s recently-posted “Message for U.S. Citizens: Emergency Preparedness for U.S. Citizens Living Abroad.”
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Lesotho enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.gov. STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. Embassy or nearest U.S. Consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
Regularly monitor the State Department’s travel website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and any current Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Lesotho. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.
Contact the U.S. Embassy for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00a.m. to 8:00p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow travel.state.gov on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.
The U.S. Embassy in Maseru is located at 254 Kingsway, Maseru and is open Monday-Thursday 07:30 AM – 5:00 PM and Friday 7:30AM – 1:30PM +(266) 2231-2666. If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance outside of business hours, the emergency after-hours number for the U.S. Embassy/Consulate is +(266) 5888-4035.