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IEC to set up poll watchdog

Bongiwe Zihlangu

MASERU — The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) will next week set up a body comprising all stakeholders to improve its transparency.

The Political Leaders Monitoring Sub-Committee on Electoral Processes will monitor the electoral processes.

It will oversee the demarcation of electoral divisions, data management, logistics and time management as well as the use of funds allocated to run elections.

The body will also monitor the voter registration and education exercises.

The body was proposed by opposition parties which have in the past accused the IEC of failing to conduct free and fair elections.

The opposition is currently up in arms against the IEC for allegedly postponing local government elections without consultation.

The commission is accused of pushing the elections from April to June, without input from stakeholders in violation of what had been agreed upon last year.

The body will comprise members of the opposition, government, Lesotho Council of Non-Governmental Organisations (LCN) as well as IEC staff.

The resolution to establish the body came after a proposal by the Lesotho Opposition Parties Forum, a group of opposition parties, during a routine meeting with the IEC on Friday morning. 

Meanwhile, before the body is formed, a temporary sub-committee comprising Lesotho Workers Party (LWP) deputy leader and opposition forum’s secretary-general Sello Maphalla, Mphosi Matete of the Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP), Basotho National Party (BNP) interim leader Thesele ‘Maseribane, LCD’s Mothetjoa Metsing, Popular Front For Democracy (PFD) leader Lekhetho Rakouane and IEC commissioners Fako Likoti, chairman Limakatso Mokhothu and Mphasa Mokhochane was formed on Friday.

Its mandate is to meet tomorrow and come up with a draft of the proposed terms of reference which will be presented before opposition leaders on Wednesday.

“We will present the document to political leaders at our meeting on Wednesday for them to approve the terms and make amendments where necessary. After that it’s all systems go,” Maphalla said.

According to Maphalla, the body’s main task will be to monitor the electoral commission’s electoral processes “as is the responsibility of all stakeholders”.

“The body will monitor the registration of voters, voter education, demarcation of electoral divisions, data management and logistics and time management,” Maphalla said.

“It will also be tasked with the responsibility of seeing to it that the IEC is doing things by the book as well as its readiness for local government elections.”

The group would at its own discretion then appoint its chairman, Maphalla said.

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