THE Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) has filed a High Court suit seeking the nullification of election results for four constituencies that were won by the All Basotho Convention (ABC) on the grounds that there were serious irregularities.
LCD and its Deputy General Secretary Mpiti Mosiuoa on Friday filed an election petition before the High Court challenging the legitimacy of the 3 June 2017 elections outcome in four constituencies namely, Matlakeng number 10, Matsieng number 45, Mphosong number 7 and Thaba-Phatšoa number 8.
Mr Mosiuoa contested under the LCD banner in Tšoanamakhulo number 25 constituency and lost to the ABC.
In their court papers the LCD and Mr Mosiuoa are seeking an order that “this honourable court declares that the election of the ABC National Assembly members from the above constituencies as invalid”.
The ABC members referred to are Moshe Leoma, ‘Matšepo Ramakoae, Libe George Motšoane and Mahala Molapo and they are cited as fourth to seventh respondents respectively in the court papers.
The four have since been sworn in as Members of Parliament.
The LCD and Mr Mosiuoa further seek for an order: “That 4th to 7th respondents have not been validly elected.”
Other respondents are the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Attorney-General King’s Counsel Tšokolo Makhethe and ABC as first, second and third respondents respectively.
The petitioners also want “the 1st respondent be ordered to file with this honourable court and serve your petitioners with constituency results for Matlakeng Constituency both announced at the constituency and declared by the commission”.
“The 1st respondent be ordered to serve petitioners with the General Elections Final Roll for Thaba Phatšoa, Matlakeng, Mphosong and Pela-Tšoeu constituencies for the June 2017 elections.”
They also want the court to “set aside elections and direct fresh elections in those constituencies”.
In the court papers Mr Mosiuoa alleges that: “Your petitioners aver that one day after registration and transfer of names had already been closed one Mr Motlalepula Motšoane staying at Butha-Buthe arrived at Bolahla Primary School polling station seeking transfer of his name to Bolahla Polling station in the Mphosong Constituency”.
“Mr Motšoane was however turned down on the basis that the period for transfer of names had lapsed in the presence of one Mr Mpati Mahloane.
“Surprisingly, however on the 3rd June 2017 Mr Motlalepula Motšoane’s name appeared on the voters’ roll and he did vote.”
He further alleges names of other people who were irregularly transferred include Motšoane David Motšoane, Kaizer Motšoane, Likeleli Portia Motšoane, ‘Mamohale Motšoane, Maqatsa Violet Motšoane and Tiisetso Motšoane.
“All these people were not ordinarily residents in the Mphosong Constituency, they do not originate there nor were they working there. These people, however voted on the 3rd June 2017,” he adds.
He further alleges that in Matlakeng constituency, the results announced by the returning officer differed from the ones declared by the commissioner.
“The result announced at the constituency was 2 268, while the commission declared 2 610 for ABC. For AD (Alliance of Democrats) constituency result was 1 301, while the commissioner declared 1 391. For LCD constituency result was 1 670, while the commission declared 1 610.
“Your petitioners further aver that in the same Matlakeng constituency irregular transfers were made in that some people were transferred to Matlakeng while they do not originate, ordinarily reside or work there,” he alleged.
The lawyers representing both the petitioners and the respondents are expected to appear in court tomorrow for the court to give directions leading to the hearing of the case.
The case is before a panel of three judges namely; Justices ‘Maseshophe Hlajoane, Molefi Makara and Sakoane Sakoane.
The LCD’s election results complaint comes despite the party signed a document accepting the election results shortly after the announcement of the election results.
The LCD is also a signatory to a letter written by six political parties to SADC after the announcement of the election results accepting the outcome of the polls.
However, in the same letter, the parties raised concerns that include alleged irregularities in the election registration process.
The six parties called on to SADC to conduct a forensic audit on voters’ roll as their alleged some irregularities.
The six parties that signed a letter are the Democratic Congress (DC), LCD, Popular Front for Democracy (PFD), National Independent Party (NIP) Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) and Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC).
The six parties formed the previous seven parties’ coalition government along with Basotho Congress Party (BCP) which did not sign the letter of complaint.
SADC has not yet responded to the letter.
The elections produced a new four party coalition government comprising of the ABC, AD, Basotho National Party (BNP) and Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL).