Africa-Press – Lesotho. THE Basotho Action Party (BAP) wants the Council of State to advise King Letsie III to investigate if commissioners of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) are still fit to hold office.
The call was made in a letter the party wrote to the Council tabling a host of grievances regarding the commissioners’ performance and behaviour. The letter comes a week after journalists, Kananelo Boloetse, Motsamai Mokotjo and one Resetselemang Jane sent a similar letter to the Council of State.
The BAP said the incumbent commissioners have failed to discharge their duties and have under-performed. It said the IEC had failed to hold by-elections and has mismanaged the delimitation exercise.
It has also failed to release the voter register on time, the party said. It is also gravely concerned about the IEC’s failure to calculate the Proportional Representation (PR) seats correctly.
“The IEC is a very sensitive institution that requires leadership that demonstrates care and diligence in the execution of its responsibilities,” the party said.
It said it had also observed over time the commissioners’ inability to handle their responsibilities with due diligence and the sensitivity that is required from incumbents of such office.
The BAP said it had lost confidence in the commissioners as they were unable to organise the by-elections in five constituencies as is required by the constitution.
And this includes numerous local councils adding that the elections were a crucial matter as people from about five constituencies were denied their constitutional rights to participate in the running of the affairs of the country.
This happened because the ICE neglected to hold the by-elections, the BAP said. It said the IEC’s defence that the government of Lesotho had failed to provide the required funding was a lame excuse that should not be accepted.
“This is neither here nor there as the IEC is an independent body that ought to have taken all necessary measures like seeking legal redress against the government,” the party argued.
It says the IEC seems to have outsourced its independence and has effectively become a government department under the full direction of the executive.
It argues that the IEC is required to maintain population balance between constituencies when undertaking the delimitation exercise with an allowance of 10 percent variance.
The BAP says the last delimitation exercise was disastrous with the commission issuing and gazetting a version of the proposed constituencies that had variances that were close to 40 percent in one constituency.
That matter ended up in the courts of law where the IEC’s incompetence was laid bare, it said. The BAP says the exercise affected the political parties’ ability to adjust to the new demarcations and the smooth running of the elections, which affected the integrity of the democratic project as a whole.
The BAP said the IEC failed to release voters’ lists in time adding that Commission twice issued voters’ lists that had serious discrepancies. “Even the last one issued on the eve of the day of elections manifested countless discrepancies with some voter names surfacing in voting centres they were not registered in or not at all”.
The BAP accuses the IEC that it got the calculations wrong and went on to lodge a case against themselves seeking a review of their own decision. This, the party argues, was the last straw that proved that indeed the commission was outright incompetent, did not have proper controls within the secretariat and quality control measures.
For More News And Analysis About Lesotho Follow Africa-Press