Opposition threatens to boycott poll

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MASERU — Opposition leaders on Tuesday threatened to boycott the forthcoming local government elections in September unless the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) conducts a fresh voter registration process.
Addressing a joint press conference in Maseru on Tuesday, four political party leaders lashed out at the IEC accusing it of being at the beck-and-call of the ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party.
The leaders who addressed the press conference were Basotho National Party (BNP) leader Thesele ’Maseribane, Marematlou Freedom Party (MFP) leader, Moeketse Malebo, All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, Thomas Thabane, and  Basotho Batho Democratic Party (BBDP) leader, Jeremane Ramathebane.
The four accused the IEC of deliberately failing to register voters in some constituencies.
Malebo said it was important for the IEC to come up with a clean and transparent process ahead of general elections next year.
He also complained that parties had so far been given provisional electoral lists from only three districts.
“Why are we being given provisional lists when we want the entire electoral lists?” Malebo asked.
Malebo, like all other leaders who spoke at the conference, said while they were prepared to go for elections they wanted clean elections that are free of bias.
Thabane said the biggest problem was that the LCD was in control of all state resources.
He alleged that the IEC was working closely with the LCD, a situation he said could lead to compromised election results.
“It seems that there is an umbilical cord between the ruling party and the IEC because the IEC is not carrying out any registration so that we don’t go for elections,” Thabane said.
He also accused IEC chairperson Limakatso Mokhothu of failing to stand up to the ruling party.
“We are saying enough is enough we are no longer crying, our tears have dried up. We are declaring war on the IEC, I would advise them to go home,” Thabane said.
Thabane said while they wanted free and fair elections in September they should not be dragged to the polls which they believed were riddled with problems.
’Maseribane said it was odd that the IEC was pushing for elections in September when it knew that people who had died had not been removed from the 2001 electoral list.
But IEC spokesman Tuoe Hantši dismissed the opposition leaders’ comments as unfounded.
“These allegations are unfounded. For instance we have committees composed of people from the political parties registered with the IEC.
“Among these committees we have a monitoring committee which is divided into three task teams. There are two people appointed from each task team.
“These people meet regularly at the IEC and they report to the political parties regularly.
“The only party that refused to be part of the monitoring committee is the BBDP.
“So it is not true that we work with the ruling party alone.”

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