Party lead­ers to sign elec­toral agree­ment to­day

Lesotho Times - - News - Keiso Mohloboli

SOuTH African Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa ar­rived in Maseru yes­ter­day ahead of to­day’s sign­ing of the Elec­toral Pledge (EP) by the lead­ers of the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal par­ties set to take part in next year’s snap elec­tion.

The EP com­mits the par­ties to en­sure a con­ducive en­vi­ron­ment for the elec­tion sched­uled for 28 Fe­bru­ary.

Mr Ramaphosa, who was ap­pointed by the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC) to fa­cil­i­tate Le­sotho’s re­turn to nor­malcy fol­low­ing a po­ten­tially ex­plo­sive fall­out be­tween the lead­ers of the coali­tion gov­ern­ment which came to power in June 2012, would over­see the sign­ing of the EP at Le­hakoe Club at mid­day be­fore sub­mit­ting the signed copies to His Majesty King Letsie III at the Royal Palace.

Head of SADC mis­sion in Le­sotho, Fan­nie Phakola yes­ter­day con­firmed the ar­rival of Mr Ramaphosa and to­day’s sign­ing of the Elec­toral Pledge, which is in line with the Maseru Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Dec- la­ra­tion (MFD) the coun­try’s var­i­ous po­lit­i­cal party lead­ers signed on 2 Oc­to­ber 2014.

un­der the MFD, Par­lia­ment was to open on 17 Oc­to­ber fol­low­ing its nine-month sus­pen­sion on 10 June 2014 by Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane to avert a no-con­fi­dence vote, and dis­solved on 5 De­cem­ber and a snap elec­tion held on 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015. Ini­tially, Le­sotho was sup­posed to hold its gen­eral elec- tion in 2017 but after a com­plete break­down of trust be­tween Dr Tha­bane and his deputy, Mo­th­etjoa Mets­ing, Mr Ramaphosa bro­kered the MFD in an ef­fort to defuse the in­creas­ingly volatile sit­u­a­tion.

“Mr Ramaphosa is go­ing to meet the coali­tion gov­ern­ment lead­ers (Dr Tha­bane, Mr Mets­ing and Ba­sotho Na­tional Party leader Th­e­sele ‘ Maserib­ane) and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of all the coun­try’s po­lit­i­cal par­ties regis­tered with the In­de­pen­dent Elec­toral Com­mis­sion.

“Sign­ing the pledge is sim­ply com­mit­ting the par­ties to par­tic­i­pate in the up­com­ing elec­tions freely and peace­fully with­out violating any of the coun­try’s laws, as well as the MFD,” Mr Phakola told the Le­sotho Times.

“After con­sul­ta­tions with stake­hold­ers, and the sign­ing of the Elec­toral Pledge, Mr Ramaphosa is go­ing to at­tend a ser­vice of the 42 South African and Le­sotho cit­i­zens killed in 1982 dur­ing a raid by the apartheid South African sol­diers on ANC safe houses in Maseru.”

FILE pic­ture: Deputy PM Mo­th­etjoa Mets­ing (left), South African Deputy Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa (cen­tre) and Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane dur­ing the open­ing of the Par­lia­ment on 17 Oc­to­ber.

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