Funding poser for IEC
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