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Low turnout mars local govt polls


’Marafaele Mohloboli

A MARKEDLY low voter turnout was the prevailing characteristic during yesterday’s local government elections and three parliamentary by-elections.

Basotho cast their ballots for 11 urban councils, 65 community councils, 77 councils, 950 electoral divisions in 922 voting stations country wide.

In all the 950 electoral divisions, the All Basotho Convention (ABC) was contesting in 888, Democratic Congress in 840, Alliance of Democrats in 722, Lesotho Congress for Democracy in 437, Basotho National Party (BNP) in 418, Movement for Economic Change in 381 and Reformed Congress of Lesotho in 151.

However, the electoral body had declared failed elections in four electoral divisions after as many candidates died ahead of the polls.

The low turnout was evident in Thupa-Kubu and Teya-teyaneng constituencies, where the number of people who came to cast their ballots were significantly lower to those who voted in the 3 June 2017 National Assembly elections.

Thupa-Kubu and Teya-teyaneng #24 were among the three constituencies in which the IEC declared failed elections after the deaths of candidates ahead of the 3 June polls. The other constituency was Hololo.

As a result, the by-elections were being held concurrently with the local government polls in the three constituencies.

Voters who spoke to the Sunday Express after casting their ballots at Tiping voting station in Thupa-Kubu constituency said they were weary of electing different politicians with no discernable service delivery.

’Mankeletseng Maopane said he had to be convinced by a friend to come and vote.

“It took a lot of convincing for me to leave my bed to come and vote,” she said.

“This is because politicians just don’t care about how we live. All they care for is our votes. They can do anything to make you vote for them.”

Mpitso Maoeng, said she voted because she still believed the government would render youths like her assistance for income-generating projects.

“I have not yet given up on politics and the change it can bring,” she said.

“But honestly, the unemployment is killing us. The only thing I can hope for is change.”

District Electoral Officer, ’Mamonaheng Ramaema, told this publication that the process had proceeded smoothly, although some people had failed to find their names at the voting centres even though they had cast their ballots in the same place.

“It was not because they had not registered. It is just that now the demarcation of electoral divisions has moved their names from their initial voting centres to others, but we managed to help them by directing them to their respective voting stations.”

Meanwhile, the results of the elections are expected to be announced in batches by the IEC.


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