Se­na­tors want poll post­poned

Lesotho Times - - News - Billy Ntaote

Se­na­torS have called for the post­pone­ment of next Fe­bru­ary’s par­lia­men­tary elec­tion, in­sist­ing the coun­try is not ready for the poll.

Le­sotho is set to hold an early elec­tion in Fe­bru­ary 2015 after a break­down of re­la­tions be­tween Prime Min­is­ter and all Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion leader thomas tha­bane and his deputy, Mo­th­etjoa Mets­ing of the Le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy, led to the col­lapse of the coali­tion gov­ern­ment they formed along­side Ba­sotho na­tional Party leader, th­e­sele ‘Maserib­ane, in June 2012 .

Me­di­a­tion by the South­ern african De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SaDC) led to the sign­ing of the Maseru Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Dec­la­ra­tion (MFD) on oc­to­ber 2, 2014 by the coali­tion gov­ern­ment lead­ers and op­po­si­tion.

Un­der the MFD, Par­lia­ment was to be dis­solved dur­ing the first week of De­cem­ber and an elec­tion held in Fe­bru­ary 2015.

How­ever, the Se­na­tors feel the na­tion is not pre­pared to hold the poll both fi­nan­cially and men­tally, while also not en­tirely happy with the se­cu­rity sit­u­a­tion pre­vail­ing in the coun­try.

the Se­na­tors, who were de­bat­ing SaDC’s me­di­a­tion through South african Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril ramaphosa dur­ing tues­day’s ses­sion, also said the feud­ing par­ties in gov­ern­ment should have ex­hausted lo­cal chan­nels be­fore seek­ing for­eign in­ter­ven­tion.

thaba-Bo­siu Prin­ci­pal Chief Khoa­bane theko, who moved the mo­tion to ac­knowl­edge Mr ramaphosa’s me­di­a­tion, said: “I ac­knowl­edge ef­forts un­der­taken by the SaDC Fa­cil­i­ta­tor (Cyril ramaphosa) to bring peace, se­cu­rity and nor­malcy to the King­dom of Le­sotho.

“How­ever, I was shocked to re­alise that politi­cians are triv­i­al­is­ing Mr ramaphosa’s fa­cil­i­ta­tion ef­forts.

“again, we still don’t have a con­ducive se­cu­rity and po­lit­i­cal cli­mate for elec­tions to be held peace­fully in Fe­bru­ary next year.

“It’s in­cum­bent upon us, par­tic­u­larly His Majesty and the prime min­is­ter, to ask what sort of an elec­tion we are go­ing to have within such a short pe­riod of time.

“It’s upon us now to say we can’t go ahead with this elec­tion, par­tic­u­larly when a lot of peo­ple are openly de­fi­ant that they would take to the streets if they are de­feated in the elec­tion.”

Se­na­tor theko re­it­er­ated his support for the role Mr ram­pa­hosa played in the sign­ing of the MFD, but in­sisted the elec­tion date should be re­vis­ited.

“I re­alise that the prime min­is­ter has ad­vised the King to dis­solve par­lia­ment on 5 De­cem­ber, which means we are surely go­ing for elec­tions.

“But what kind of elec­tions are we go­ing to have? It is as if SaDC is de­ter­mined to leave us as quickly as pos­si­ble and go for a Christ­mas va­ca­tion. How­ever, we un­der­stand that they can’t play the whole match for us; we have to take own­er­ship of the sit­u­a­tion.

“Would it be a crime to ex­tend this time beyond Fe­bru­ary? If we go for elec­tions in Fe­bru­ary when we don’t have real peace, what use would that poll be?” Se­na­tor theko also pointed out that although the In­de­pen­dent elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IeC) was claim­ing to be ready for the poll, it was disturbing to hear “scan­dalous” re­ports that it was miss­ing Mo­bile reg­is­tra­tion Units to be used in the elec­tion.

“Let us ex­pect the pow­ers that be in Le­sotho to do their part as SaDC has done a mag­nif­i­cent job to get us where we are to­day,” said Se­na­tor theko, whose sen­ti­ments were echoed by Pha­mong Prin­ci­pal Chief nthati Bereng Bereng. “even though we are go­ing for elec­tions, we are still go­ing to have prob­lems. as we speak, my peo­ple in Pha­mong are com­plain­ing that a majority of them do not ap­pear on the vot­ers’ roll and they are re­ferred to Ke­tane, a place very far away from their vil­lages to go and check their names there. our peo­ple are be marginalised in this elec­tion,” said.

Mokhot­long Prin­ci­pal Chief Mathealira Seeiso also applauded SaDC and Mr ramaphosa’s me­di­a­tion ef­forts, but also ex­pressed con­cern over the tim­ing of the poll.

“I won­der what sit­u­a­tion we are go­ing to be in after this elec­tion. are we go­ing to wit­ness a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion as we did in the past (when there was a hung par­lia­ment)?” Prin­ci­pal Chief Seeiso asked.

the se­na­tor also said Mr ramaphosa’s fa­cil­i­ta­tion should be the last time SaDC in­ter­venes in Le­sotho’s prob­lems.

“How many times should SaDC come to our res­cue? We are not cry-ba­bies. We should end th­ese fre­quent SaDC me­di­a­tions and learn to re­solve con­flicts on our own,” said Prin­ci­pal Chief Seeiso.

Mokhot­long Prin­ci­pal Chief Mathealira Theko Thaba-bo­siu Prin­ci­pal Chief Khoa­bane Theko.

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