DC says will boycott election

DC says will boycott election
DC says will boycott election

Africa-Press – Lesotho. THE Democratic Congress (DC) is cranking up pressure against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) over what it said was a shambolic manner it ran last year’s general elections.

It wants the IEC to apologise or it will boycott the next local government elections. A boycott of the election would delegitimise the electoral process by removing one of the key political players in Lesotho.

It could also bring into question the IEC’s credibility and competence to run free and fair elections in Lesotho. Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, the DC spokesman Serialong Qoo said the party had lost confidence in the current IEC after a spate of errors in last October’s parliamentary election.

“We tried to warn the IEC at first that what they were doing was not right but they carried on until the courts of law told them where they were wrong and right,” Qoo said.

The DC’s threat to boycott the local government poll, which will be due in November, comes the same week when the party’s youth league member, Retšelisitsoe Sehlabaka, has written to the IEC demanding an apology.

In the letter, Sehlabaka said if the IEC does not apologise within 14 days, the party will demand the ouster of the IEC commissioners for incompetence. The request, Sehlabaka said, will be made before the declaration of the local government election.

“If the request for justification and a formal apology to all stakeholders is not complied with, I will be convinced that the current IEC has no interest in holding free and fair elections,” Sehlabaka’s letter reads.

Sehlabaka said he was focusing on “well-documented errors that must be taken seriously as matters of national interest”. “These issues affect every citizen equally and must be handled without political affiliation, but we must make a concerted effort to acknowledge them and, if at all possible, plot a path forward,” he said.

He accused the IEC of disenfranchising people by denying them their right to vote. “It is regrettable that many of our citizens were denied the opportunity to vote during the Lesotho elections in October 2022 as a result of IEC mistakes and omissions,” he said.

He referred to the fact that many registered voters across all 80 constituencies failed to vote after their names were transferred to different voting stations without their knowledge.

Others had been transferred to entirely different constituencies, he said. “Many citizens were denied the opportunity to vote as a result of this serious administrative and clerical error.
Five months after the election, he says, the IEC has still not provided the country with a convincing justification – not even a single publication that addresses the irregularity of last year’s poll.

“Not even a public statement of regret and assurance to the nation that the IEC will make up for the errors, especially given that local government elections are just around the corner.

” Sehlabaka is also complained about the IEC’s errors relating to the allocation of Proportional Representation (PR) seats in parliament.

He says the law provides detailed examples to help every citizen understand the procedure of allocation of PR seats, saying “even those without advanced mathematical abilities understand how the seats are distributed”.

He says it is shocking that the IEC wrongly, by its own admission, distributed four PR seats to wrong people while denying four political parties the seats they deserved.

He marvels that the errors were made in the presence of qualified and skilled IEC personnel and self-computing software, “both of which the country pays out quite a fortune from the hardworking taxpayers”.

He says the law provides that when there is a mistake in the allocation of seats the IEC should go to the High Court to request a seat redistribution but it instead chose to go to the Constitutional

Court, which ruled that it had no jurisdiction on the matter. “It was necessary to mention that the IEC legal team had made numerous appearances before the wrong court and had undoubtedly been compensated for their services.

” He also accuses the IEC of not communicating with the public and stakeholders.

“To this day there has not been a single justification provided to the political parties or the people of Lesotho,” he says.

“The IEC has not felt the need to issue a statement acknowledging the mistakes and assuring the public that efforts have been made to prevent the errors from occurring in the future.

He says one of the duties assigned to it by the electoral act is to spread awareness of ethical procedures and practices through the media and other suitable channels.

He says the letter does not express dissatisfaction with the election results or suggest tampering with the election process. “Rather, it highlights errors that happened under the current IEC’s supervision and which are undisputable.

” Meanwhile, the DC has written the IEC requesting ballot paper procurement and evaluation reports for last year’s parliamentary election.

“We request that you provide us with this information within seven days of this letter failing which our further instructions are that we should approach the courts to compel the IEC to furnish the information requested,” the letter stated.

The letter, written by DC’s lawyer Advocate Lepeli Molapo on Monday, is a follow-up to a similar letter written in November last year on the same subject.

The IEC responded that the documents the DC requested were with the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Offences (DCEO), which is investigating the possibility of fraud in the procurement of ballot papers.

Advocate Molapo’s letter says the DC has since established that the DCEO only has copies of the documents and the IEC has the originals. “We shall also seek a punitive costs order as the refusal to provide this information is unconstitutional and contrary to the spirit of free and fair elections.

” The IEC spokesman, Tuoe Hantši, referred thepost to Director-General Mpaiphele Maqutu who did not pick his phone last night.

For More News And Analysis About Lesotho Follow Africa-Press


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here