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Banda to observe poll

Caswell Tlali

MASERU — Former Zambian president Rupiya Banda is expected in the country tomorrow to observe Saturday’s parliamentary election.
Banda is head of mission for the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) that is observing the election.
EISA is a non-governmental organisation that was founded in 1996 to “promote credible elections, participatory democracy, human rights culture and the strengthening of governance institutions for the consolidation of democracy in Africa”. Banda is expected to leave the country on Sunday.
He is expected to pay a courtesy call on King Letsie III when he arrives tomorrow.
The EISA mission coordinator, Victor Shale, told the Sunday Express that the institute has been “monitoring” Lesotho’s elections since 2007.
“That is where we differ with other election observers. We know that the election process starts immediately after elections,” Shale said.
“Ever since 2007 after the election, we have been working together with local civil society organisations, the IEC and political parties to prepare for the 2012 poll,” he said.
He added: “According to us, this year’s election started in 2007 when the IEC announced that LCD had won.”
In January this year EISA conducted a capacity building workshop for Lesotho political parties to ensure the country had a free, fair and peaceful election.
Shale said EISA had served as a resource centre for the past five years for Lesotho and some civil society organisations in Africa.
The institute had also worked with electoral commissions and parliaments on the continent on matters involving elections or electoral laws.
“We have had numerous meetings with Lesotho over various electoral issues for the past five years, so I can safely say we understand the Lesotho political landscape to a greater scale,” Shale said.
He added that after the 2007 election EISA recommended that civic and voter education should be continous.
It also recommended that the IEC should develop a voter information strategy in order to keep voters and other stakeholders updated on election-related developments as well as any changes to election arrangements.

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