. . . as local govt by-elections set for Saturday
THE Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) will on Saturday hold local government by-elections in the MMC 06, Tosing 09 and Tosing 12 community councils after the polls failed to proceed last week due to printing errors on the ballot papers.
Lesotho held local government elections last Saturday as well as National Assembly by-elections in the Hololo, Teyateyaneng and Thupa-Kubu constituencies.
The ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) won all three constituencies and in the process, increased its National Assembly representation to 51 from 48 seats.
The ABC’s Tlokotsi Gerard Manyooko polled 2270 votes to win the Hololo constituency followed by Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) candidate, Mothibeli Patrick Machesa (1030 votes) and Alliance of Democrats’ Masaete Paul Ramafono (209 votes).
In the Thupa-Kubu constituency, ABC’s Tšeliso Kalake was victorious with 3421 votes, followed by LCD’s ‘Mathabo Mabuo Kojoana (1224) and Basotho National Party (BNP)’s Matlapeng Pontso Isaac (262).
Former Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Maliehe Prince Maliehe, of the ABC won in Teyateyaneng with 2467 votes, followed by BNP’s Lephema Bothata (1052 votes) and LCD’s Lebohang Thotanyana (975 votes).
IEC Chairperson, Mahapela Lehohla this week said while the national by-elections went smoothly, they experienced challenges in the local government elections due to printing mistakes.
“As IEC we have had few challenges,” Chief Justice (CJ) Lehohla said, adding, “Some of these challenges were successfully solved while challenges in the three community councils were not solved. Voters only used a party ballot to cast their votes in these constituencies”.
He said the ballot paper for the MMC 06 community council did not have the name of the Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) candidate. Instead, it bore the name and party symbol of the National Independent Party (NIP) which did not contest in that community council.
In Khoelenya 07, the ABC symbol was wrongly printed on the space which was supposed to bear the name of the DC candidate and the party’s logo.
In Tosing 09 community council’s ballot paper books’ cover page was wrongly written as that of Tosing 12 and vice versa.
CJ Lehohla said the Tosing 09 did not proceed as ballot papers arrived very late while the Tosing 12 polls proceeded until 7pm instead of the normal 5pm for the closing of voting stations.
“The commission continued with the elections voting for special seats for women in these three community councils and after identifying mistakes in these councils, the commission held a meeting with the Ministry of Local Government and three committees dealing with ballot papers to share the problems and see how best they could be solved,” CJ Lehohla said.
He said the commission then used the 2011 Elections Act section 112 (1) and (2) to rectify the mistakes as the Local Government Act was silent on the matter.
“It was identified that the problems were due to printing errors and the committees have since elected two people to leave for South Africa on Tuesday to collect new ballots.
“The elections for these three community councils will be held on Saturday October 7, 2017 to correct the mistakes that appeared on the ballots that were supposed to be used on September 30 elections,” CJ Lehohla said.