Fund­ing poser for IEC

Lesotho Times - - News - Keiso Mohloboli

IN­DE­PEN­DENT Elec­toral Com­mis­sion (IEC) chair­per­son Ma­hapela le­hohla says gov­ern­ment’s de­lay to dis­burse the over M200 mil­lion bud­geted for next year’s gen­eral elec­tion was caus­ing un­nec­es­sary prob­lems for the su­per­vi­sory body.

Ba­sotho choose a new gov­ern­ment on 28 Fe­bru­ary 2015, two years ear­lier than ex­pected after the col­lapse of the tri­par­tite ad­min­is­tra­tion led by Prime Min­is­ter Thomas Tha­bane.

Ir­rec­on­cil­able dif­fer­ences be­tween Dr Tha­bane and his deputy, Mo­th­etjoa Mets­ing, over the premier’s al­leged fail­ure to con­sult his fel­low gov­ern­ment lead­ers when mak­ing key de­ci­sions, led to the col­lapse of the coun­try’s first coali­tion ad­min­is­tra­tion and next Fe­bru­ary’s snap elec­tion that was fa­cil­i­tated by the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity (SADC).

Dr Tha­bane’s All Ba­sotho Con­ven­tion (ABC), Mr Met­st­ing’s le­sotho Congress for Democ­racy (lCD) and Ba­sotho Na­tional Party (BNP) led by Th­ese ‘Maserib­ane formed a coali­tion gov­ern­ment after the 26 May 2012 had re­sulted in a hung par­lia­ment.

How­ever, ad­dress­ing a press brief­ing held at the IEC head­quar­ters in Maseru on Tues­day this week, Mr le­hohla said the com­mis­sion needed the promised fund­ing as a lump­sum and not tranches the way it is cur­rently be­ing dis­bursed by the gov­ern­ment.

“The is­sue of fund­ing is putting the com­mis­sion un­der un­nec­es­sary pres­sure. We need to pay for the re­pair and main­te­nance of the vot­ers’ roll printer and other ex­penses to make sure the elec­tion is free and fair.

“The printer has not yet been re­paired and such de­lays put us un­der pres­sure be­cause snap elec­tions are a press­ing form of elec­tions; they are held at short no­tice and so we need to be ad­e­quately pre­pared be­cause time is not on our side,” Jus­tice le­hohla said.

The IEC, he added, had thought after cab­i­net ap­proved the poll bud­get on 30 Novem­ber, the money would be im­me­di­ately dis­bursed as a lump­sum.

“The IEC was al­lo­cated M17 mil­lion for the Mphosong by-elec­tion and after the poll was can­celled, we were told to use the money for Fe­bru­ary’s snap elec­tion.

“This week, the IEC re­ceived M13 mil­lion from gov­ern­ment, so all in all, we have been given M30 mil­lion of the promised M200 mil­lion. Such de­lays can only make the job of the IEC that much harder, which should not be the case.”

Mean­while, IEC Op­er­a­tions In­spec­tor, Kot­soane Mot­sie told the same press brief­ing that while 19 par­ties con­tested the 2012 elec­tion, a to­tal of 20 had al­ready regis­tered for the 28 Fe­bru­ary elec­tion, while seven more had ap­plied for reg­is­tra­tion.

“The Re­formed Congress of le­sotho was regis­tered and granted a cer­tifi­cate of reg­is­tra­tion to­day (Tues­day), which brings the num­ber of regis­tered po­lit­i­cal par­ties to 20 at the mo­ment.

“Seven more have sub­mit­ted their ap­pli­ca­tions for reg­is­tra­tion and since the Elec­toral Act doesn’t pro­vide any dead­lines, the par­ties would be regis­tered if they meet the re­quire­ments,” Mr Mot­sie said.

IEC chair­per­son Ma­hapela Le­hohla

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