DC-LCD pact reflected in ballot papers
BALLOT papers for the 3 June 2017 National Assembly election are expected in Maseru today from Durban, South Africa where they were printed.
Lesotho Times journalist, Marafaele Mohloboli, who was part of a media liaison committee that went to the coastal city to witness the printing and transporting of the ballots, yesterday said the process was being finalised ahead of the trip to Lesotho.
She said the electoral agreement between the Democratic Congress (DC) Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) to field one candidate for each of the country’s 80 constituencies had also been incorporated in the ballot papers.
The agreement, which also includes the Popular Front for Democracy ( PFD), is meant to avoid vote splitting by the congress parties.
Under the agreement, the DC will contest in 54 constituencies while the LCD was allocated 25.
The parties will also vote for PFD leader, Lekhetho Rakuoane, in his Qalo stronghold in Butha-buthe.
The committee also included Independent Electoral Commission ( IEC) officials and representatives of the security, election monitoring and logistics committees.
The tender for printing the ballot papers was awarded to Durban-based printing firm Shaven & Gibson after beating five other contenders.
Shaven & Gibson Managing Director Jim Short said, by yesterday, they would have finalised the printing and packaging of the ballots before packing them into two trucks headed for Lesotho.
He said the vehicles would be kept in a high security facility before leaving for Lesotho today.
For security purposes, Mr Short said pictures would be taken of the packaged ballot papers bearing the names of the voting centres on each pallet.
He said two special ballot papers were printed following the death of the Basotho National Party candidate for Hololo constituency Matela Leakae and All Basotho Convention candidate for Thupa-kubu constituency Afrika Makakane.
“The process is going according to plan,” Mr Short said, adding, “The two trucks will be loaded in the presence of all the delegates and sealed with special security locks. The keys for the locks will be given to the (IEC) commissioner, while the trucks will remain in the yard until Thursday morning when they will depart.”
He said the ballots would be transported under heavy security and accompanied by all the committees’ members including IEC officials. Cell phones and cameras were not allowed at the facility for security reasons.
IEC Director of Operations, Pontšo Mamatlere Matete, also told this paper ballot kits for Basotho who applied for advanced voting would also be couriered to various destinations including to Lesotho embassies around the world.
The embassies include Canada, Ethiopia, Klerksdorp, Italy, Malaysia, Ireland, United Kingdom, Kuwait, Pretoria, China, Washington, Japan, Switzerland, New Delhi, Brussels and United States.
Ms Matete said the early voting applications by 11 officials at the embassy in Geneva, Switzerland were rejected because they had not registered with the IEC and therefore not eligible to vote.
“As for the rest of the applications, they were all approved,” she said.
The Braille ballot template for the visually-impaired was also being printed and expected to arrive in Lesotho tomorrow.
The ballot papers are scheduled for delivery in Lesotho’s 80 constituencies from 31 May 2017 to 1 June 2017, with the consignments guarded by members of the Lesotho Defence Force, police and the monitoring as well as security committees.
IEC Commissioner Mamosebi Pholo preparing to shred the ballots.
SPECIAL seals placed to ensure that the consignment is not tampered with.
THUPA-KUBU and Hololo ballots being shredded.
CHECKING of ballot packages before DHL couriers take them to their respective destinations.
VOTING material ready to be couriered to the embassies by DHL