Elections chief under fire

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MASERU — Opposition leaders say they will call for the ouster of Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chairperson, Limakatso Mokhothu, if she insists on postponing local council elections.

The decision to call for Mokhothu’s ouster was made at a closed meeting of opposition parties on Monday morning.

This followed the IEC’s announcement at a stormy meeting last Friday that the polls initially scheduled for April would not be moved to June due to logistical delays.

The opposition leaders said apart from the fact that they were never consulted the move also violates an agreement reached by the IEC, the government and opposition parties to have the elections in April.

The local government elections were supposed to be held last April but stakeholders agreed to postpone the polls to allow for amendments to the Local Government Elections Act.

At Monday’s meeting, which was ironically held in the IEC boardroom, the opposition parties agreed that they would not agree to a postponement.

And if the IEC railroads the decisions then they would call for Mokhothu’s removal.

It is however highly unlikely that opposition parties can successfully push out the IEC chairperson.

The constitution has no provision for such actions.

The IEC commissioners are appointed by King Letsie III after recommendations from the Council of State.

Only the king can remove the commissioners from office.

The Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) leader, Kelebone Maope, who is also a lawyer by profession said the opposition can “only make a call” but they have no avenues through which they can remove the IEC commissioners.

Maope, who at one time served as a member of the Council of State, said Mokhothu can be removed only if the Council of State heeds the opposition’s call.

The IEC will meet all political parties today to resolve the impasse.

Sources in the opposition camp have however told the Lesotho Times that opposition leaders are planning to reject the decision to postpone the elections.

They will insist that the elections be held in April as per agreement.

The IEC on the other hand will argue that it is no longer possible to hold the elections in April.

They will plead lack of time.

But the main reason is that the local government ministry has already delayed giving them the new map for the local council boundaries.

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