DC-LCD pact re­flected in bal­lot pa­pers

Lesotho Times - - News - Staff Writer

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

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