LETŠENG Diamonds has denied allegations it coerced workers into applying to vote in advance ahead of the 3 June 2017 general elections.
The allegations are contained in letter written by the Construction and Mine Workers Union (CAMAU) and Transformation Resource Centre (TRC) to the Independent Electoral commission (IEC), calling on the latter to intervene and “protect the rights of mine workers”.
In the letter dated 25 April 2017, and addressed to IEC Director Letholetseng Ntšike, CAMAU Secretary-General Advocate Rapelang Mosae said: “It has come to our attention as CAMAU and TRC that employees in the mines of Kao, Liqhobong and Letšeng have been put on to sign advance voters applications without their consent.”
CAMAU claimed that the mines sought to force workers to apply for advance voting on the pretext that “they will be on the working shift” on the election day. According to the IEC’s elections time table, advance voters were expected to have submitted their applications by 30 May 2017.
However, in a press statement issued this week, Letšeng denied the allegations, saying the mine took its employees’ voting rights “extremely seriously”.
“Letšeng notes the allegations in the Lesotho Times edition dated 27th April 2017 and states that it takes its employees voting rights extremely seriously,” the statement read.
“Furthermore, it will not permit interference in the free and fair exercise of each employee’s democratic right to vote in accordance with the laws of Lesotho. It strongly denies that any employee has been coerced, in any way whatsoever, to sign any advance voter application.”
IEC spokesperson, Tuoe Hantsi, also told the Lesotho Times last week that the list of advance voters would not include mine workers.