LCN embarks on voter education

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MASERU — The Lesotho Council of Non-governmental Organisations (LCN) on Tuesday deployed 600 electoral educators countrywide to teach voters how to cast their votes in local government elections scheduled for October 1.
The organisation said it expected the education to instill desire especially among the country’s youth to participate in elections.
The LCN said in a press statement that it would deploy at least seven voter educators per community council for the next two months.
“The move is to ensure effective and efficient entrenchment of the message on the need to vote among the members of the public,” the LCN said.
The educators would reside in villages, especially in the remote places of the country, to make the campaign more effective.
“In other words by the time elections arrive the process of elections will still be fresh in the voters’ minds, igniting the
interest to go and vote,” the LCN said.
The organisation said they expected the move to raise voters’ morale after voter apathy characterised past elections.
Only less than 30 percent of electorates cast their votes in local government elections in 2005 while less than 50 percent voted in national elections in 2007.
The organisation noted that voter turnout has been decreasing since 1965 when 62.32 percent of registered voters cast their votes.
In the following parliamentary elections in 1970 voter turnout reached a peak of 81.90 percent, it added.
In 1993 when Lesotho returned to democracy after 20 years of undemocratic rule, voter turnout fell to 72 percent.
It dropped to 71.83 percent in 1998 and further to 66.69 percent in the 2002 elections.
The LCN said in the last elections in 2007, only 448 953 out of 916 230 registered voters cast their votes.
The LCN and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) earlier this year signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to encourage registration of voters in Lesotho. The LCN says the delay to launch the voter education campaign was caused by the IEC’s bureaucracy as it had to ask for the release of funds from the Ministry of Finance.

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