MASERU — The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it has not conducted continuous voter registration 12 months after the May 26 general election due to financial constraints.
IEC spokesperson ‘Mamatlere Matete told the Sunday Express on Friday that the electoral commission was also unable to organise by-elections because it does not have the funds required to perform that function.
“We have not resumed with the continuous registration because we do not have the funds to do it. We have submitted a supplementary budget request so that we’re ready when there is need to conduct elections in any of the constituencies,” Matete said.
“When the major budget was being prepared, we submitted ours for continuous registration but were not allocated any money at the time.”
Matete’s comments come two weeks after the main opposition Democratic Congress (DC) party lashed out at the IEC’s failure to embark on continuous voter registration.
The DC’s women’s league president, Pontso Sekate, told a media briefing the IEC’s failure to register voters on a continuous basis was “an impediment to democracy”.
Matete however said the delay to carry out continuous voter registration was not of their making.
She added the other reason that had stalled the registration of voters is that the electoral body is planning to discard the current voter register “and start a new one”.
She added that the IEC was also looking to the Ministry of Home Affairs to complete its national identity register.
“Even if we had been given the money when we asked for it, we’d still have problems because we need to start the new register with each Mosotho having their own unique identity number,” Matete said.
“But even if we were to wait for the national identity register, the law is clear that there should be continuous registration should there be need for by-elections,” Matete said.
She said following the death of DC MP, Mokhokoli Seutloali of the Thaba-Moea constituency last week, the IEC will also submit another budget request next week “to cater for the by-election”.
“We were notified of the Thaba-Moea MP’s passing on Thursday by the National Assembly speaker. Hence we will next week submit a budget for the purpose,” Matete said.
Seutloali died at the Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital last Thursday after a long illness.
However, Matete said there were no plans to organise by-elections in the Tele constituency whose DC MP was disqualified after the election results were nullified by the High Court two weeks ago because “we have not been officially notified”.