Harmonise elections: Rapapa
THE ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC)’s Mosalemane constituency legislator, Samuel Rapapa, has called for the harmonisation of local government and national elections to save government from incurring huge costs associated with holding separate parliamentary and local government elections.
Mr Rapapa made these remarks in parliament on Wednesday. He said the 2011 local government elections had gobbled up to M253 million while another M270 million was spent the following year on national elections. He said over M500 million was spent on elections in just two years. On top of that, he said, another M545 million was spent on the 2017 on elections alone.
“Financial reports show that in 2011 /2012, this country spent M253 million on local government elections and another M270 million on national elections. In June 2017 nearly M300 million was spent on national elections and in September the same year the local government elections were held and the country spent another M300 million,” Mr Rapapa said.
“The audited 2017/2018 financial statements show that we have spent M545 million and another M500 million in 2011/2012. We could have saved M480 million if my proposal was adopted and applied then in the two events.
He said fixing the term of parliament could curb the number of times that elections are called for, in cases where a motion of no confidence is passed against a prime minister.
“We have a motion that proposes to change the prime minister without going for elections whenever there is a vote of no confidence. We should move towards a fixed term parliament and local government. We should amend section 57 of the Constitution, the National Assembly Electoral Act and the Local Government Elections Act to cut the costs of elections in our country,” he said.
Rapapa said holding both the national and local government elections would also help safe lots of money that is otherwise lost in underhand practices, saying that there were reports of corruption involved in the administration of the elections where some entities such as the police failed to account for the monies budgeted for their support during the process.
“Holding the elections simultaneously will cut costs. The ballot papers will be moved on the same vehicles, we will use the same returning officers, same police officers and same night watch men to administer both elections. Many African countries are already holding the two elections together. We could save the enough money to pay the elderly grants for at least three years. We could be able to contribute some of the same money towards projects such as the building of the M2, 4 billion sporting facility,” he said.
He also proposed for a ‘two-women to one-man zebra listing’ during the elections to accommodate more women in both the National Assembly and the Senate.
“We have a problem with lower numbers of women representation in parliament. I would also want to propose that at least two women be allowed to compete against one male to increase their chances of getting seats in both houses,” he said.
Rapapa’s motion was seconded by the Machache legislator, Monyane Moleleki who said that the country’s economy could not shoulder the burden of going for frequent elections.
Mr Moleleki said going for frequent elections could only be afforded for rich countries.
“As a poor country, it would be good for us to adopt this motion. We are therefore expecting the National Reforms Authority (NRA) to further advocate for the proposal for a fixed term life of parliament,” he said.
“It would do us good to hold elections on the same day where everything will be done on the same and cut costs. We should have learned from the mistakes we have made in the past. We could even decide on the fixed date of going for elections after every five years,” Moleleki, who is also the deputy prime minister said.
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