IEC can answer for itself - Thabane
PRIME Minister Thomas Thabane says he has no influence over the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and cannot attest to the commission’s preparedness to deliver a credible election by 28 February 2015.
The premier said this after the IEC’S Abia constituency Returning Officer, Tautona Sekake, announced the names of the 14 candidates nominated to contest in the constituency won by Dr Thabane in the past four elections since 1998.
Dr Thabane, who is also leader of the All Basotho Convention, said the country’s electoral management body is empowered and autonomous enough to be judged on its own as it does not answer to any other authorities beyond itself on the readiness to deliver a credible election.
This comes after this newspaper published shocking revelations by IEC chairman, Justice Mahapela Lehohla, on the country’s preparedness for elections in a series of letters between Justice Lehohla, Prime Minister Thomas Thabane and Law and Constitutional Affairs Minister Haae Phoofolo.
In the correspondence, Justice Lehohla, who was appointed IEC chairman in 2013, condemns Lesotho’s voters roll which he says needs “expert intervention” to clean up.
He also highlights the lack of funding among the main impediments hampering the delivery of a credible poll, adding that the elections would be “at best highly imperfect or at worst as good as non-existent.
However, Dr Thabane said: “The IEC has told us that they are confident and ready to deliver a credible, free and fair election by 28 February.
During the negotiations towards resolving our disputes, they asked for a month more when it was said the election should be held as soon as possible.
“I am also a contestant in this election, so the IEC would be well placed to respond to questions about its readiness.”
Dr Thabane said if the IEC was hampered from delivering a credible election, he, as a candidate contesting the polls, “would also be among the victims”.
He further said despite being prime minister he did not have control over the affairs of the IEC “as it is an independent commission with its constitutional autonomy”.