Rain damp­ens mu­nic­i­pal polls turnout

Sunday Express - - NEWS - Mo­halenyane Phakela

WET weather con­di­tions ex­pe­ri­enced in Maseru yes­ter­day af­fected the voter turn-out in the Maseru Mu­nic­i­pal Coun­cil 06 (MMC) by­elec­tions, af­ter they were last week post­poned due to a faulty bal­lot pa­per.

The lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions were held through­out the coun­try last week­end but there were print­ing er­rors on the bal­lot pa­pers in MMC 06, Tos­ing 09 and Tos-ing 12 com­mu­nity coun­cils.

Of­fi­cers pre­sid­ing at the MMC 06 polling sta­tions ex­plained to the Sun­day Ex­press crew that two bal­lot pa­pers were sup­posed to be used by each voter, one for elect­ing the po­lit­i­cal party and an­other for the can­di­dates for the con­test­ing par­ties.

How­ever, vot­ers were last week al­lowed to elect only po­lit­i­cal par­ties as the other bal­lot pa­per for can­di­dates had re­flected the na­tional in­de­pen­dent Party (NIP), which was not con­test­ing, in­stead of the Re­formed Congress of Le­sotho (RCL) can­di­date.

‘Man­chafatso Keketsi, one of the pre­sid­ing of­fi­cers at the Katle­hong vot­ing sta­tion said a com­bi­na­tion of fac­tors may have con­trib­uted to yes­ter­day’s low voter turn-out com­pared to last week­end.

“It was rain­ing when the sta­tions opened at 7am and that led to a slow start in vot­ing. Peo­ple only started com­ing at around 10am when the rain had stopped,” she said.

Ms Keketsi at­trib­uted the voter ap­a­thy largely to wet weather con­di­tions.

An­other pre­sid­ing of­fi­cer work­ing at Ha-Ratjo­mose polling sta­tion, Pi­jone Sek-ho­nyana said while the rains were a ma­jor fac­tor, a grad­u­a­tion cer­e­mony at the na­tional Univer­sity of Le­sotho (NUL) also con­trib­uted to the low turnout.

“By 12 noon last week, we had al­ready as­sisted more than 40 peo­ple to vote but to­day it’s af­ter 12pm and we have helped less than 15 peo­ple,” Mr Sekho­nyana said.

How­ever, one of the few vot­ers that braved the rains to cast his vote in Ha-Hoohlo, Mokete Mphakalasi, said he can­not af­ford not to vote for the de­vel­op­ment of his area.

“Ha-Hoohlo is the first vil­lage visi­tors, in­clud­ing tourists, see when they cross the bor­der into Le­sotho. First im­pres­sions are im­por­tant and i am vot­ing for the im­prove­ment of my vil­lage, which is in a sorry state,” he said.

“We need proper vend­ing fa­cil­i­ties and san­i­ta­tion to sup­port many peo­ple op­er­at­ing their small busi­nesses in the area. En­sur­ing proper plan­ning would also at­tract de­vel­op­ment of in­fra­struc­ture such as roads, wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion; and good light­ing at night. Street lights will help to re­duce crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties in the area, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the night.”

Mr Mphakalasi added that it was im­por­tant for peo­ple to vote for the lead­er­ship they be­lieve can bring the change they want.

In other mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil elec­tions, also held yes­ter­day, there were some chal­lenges when it was dis­cov­ered that the ABC sym­bol was wrongly printed on the space which was sup­posed to bear the name of the DC can­di­date and the party’s logo in Khoe­lenya 07.

In Tos­ing 09, the cover page of the com­mu­nity coun­cil’s bal­lot pa­per books was wrongly writ­ten as that of Tos­ing 12.

AN el­derly woman in Katle­hong casts her vote.

FEW peo­ple queu­ing up to vote at Katle­hong vot­ing sta­tion.

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