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Muluzi urges Basotho to accept election result

Ntsebeng Motsoeli

MASERU — Former Malawi president, Bakili Muluzi, on Friday called on Basotho to accept the outcome of yesterday’s election.
Muluzi, who is chairperson of the Commonwealth election observer mission to Lesotho, was speaking a day before Basotho trooped to the polls.
He said there should be no repeat of the episodes of instability that have occurred in past elections in Lesotho.
“As the people of Lesotho go to the polls on Saturday, I call upon all stakeholders in the electoral process to play their roles with due diligence to ensure that the process on polling day, the counting, the announcement of results and events thereafter go smoothly without incident,” Muluzi said in a statement.
He added that since the group arrived in the country on May 19 they had met a cross-section of interested parties in the elections and heard about their preparations and concerns that could impinge on the credibility of the election.
The group had also learnt that there had been incidents of instability in the post-election period.
“In our experience, the polling day itself often goes without incident. It is the counting, tabulation and the aftermath of the announcement of results that often raises concern,” he said.
“It is in this light that I call upon all political party leaders and their supporters to show restraint and magnanimity as the results process unfolds in the days following the poll.”
Muluzi said the Commonwealth observer group had already expressed their concerns with relevant authorities including the Independent Electoral Commission, political parties, civil society, the army and the police.
These stakeholders had given assurances that the will of the people to choose their leaders would be guaranteed and respected.
“We take these assurances as a good gesture, conveyed in good faith and a demonstration of the commitment of the stakeholders to democracy,” Muluzi said.
He appealed to everyone to respect the laws of the land and the Constitution and to do Africa and the Commonwealth proud by conducting a credible election that meets the standards to which the country has subscribed.
“I have often said that we chose democracy for ourselves in Africa and the Commonwealth. We therefore must live and adhere to its tenets.”
Democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights including the right to vote and to choose leaders freely without intimidation and violence, were some of the core values and principles of the Commonwealth, he said.
Muluzi added: “There is no better occasion to uphold them than during elections. The people must be confident that their vote will count and that there will be freedom, peace and calm after voting.”

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