MAFETENG — All Basotho Convention (ABC) leader, Thomas Thabane, on Sunday urged the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to respect the will of the people and not tamper with election results.
Addressing about 5 000 party supporters at a campaign rally in Mafeteng, Thabane told his party agents not to leave polling stations until election results have been announced.
He said this would ensure that results announced at the polling stations are a true reflection of what would have transpired in the polling booths.
The huge attendance suggests the ABC, which gave the then ruling Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) party a run for its money in the last election in 2007, could still be a force to reckon with this time around.
The ABC, which had been formed just four months before the 2007 election, won 17 mostly urban seats.
“I plead with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to work with impartiality,” Thabane said.
He said the IEC should not make itself an obstacle in the search for a free and fair election even if it was struggling for funds.
Thabane urged party agents manning the polling stations to be vigilant on May 26.
He said he was confident that the ABC will emerge victorious after the election.
He said there was a perception that the IEC is not independent and that it was controlled by the party in power.
“What is the problem with Basotho children employed at the IEC?” Thabane asked.
IEC public relations officer, ’Mamatlere Matete, however rejected allegations that the commission was partial.
She added that the IEC only acts in accordance with the law.
“We train party agents, we train candidates, and these people are present at every stage. The law allows those who are not satisfied to fill protest forms,” Matete said in a telephone interview from Thaba-Tseka.
Thabane, who earlier in the day attended the funeral of the late journalist, Thabang Moliko, who was shot dead on March 29, lambasted the government of Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili for being lax in dealing with and solving murders.
“What investment does the people of Mafeteng get for killing other people?” Thabane asked.
Thabane said it was fortunate that the alleged killers of Moliko had been arrested.
He said during his tenure as home affairs minister Mosisili had rejected his call during cabinet meetings to improve funding for the police to fight crime saying other government departments also had similar needs.
Thabane blamed what he called the abject poverty engulfing Basotho on Mosisili’s lack of political insight despite royalties that Lesotho generates from the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.
He also lashed out at Mosisili and his Democratic Congress (DC) party for engaging in “old-fashioned politics of bribing people”.
“A political party must sell its policy which can be implemented, not promises,” he said.
Mosisili last week handed out undisclosed amounts of cash and goodies to his DC supporters in a move that was condemned by opposition parties as tantamount to “vote-buying”.
The DC however rejected the charge saying Mosisili was merely making “courtesy calls on DC members who can no longer attend rallies due to old age or ill-health”.
Thabane also accused the Mosisili-led government of selling off valuable national assets such as the Maseru Roller Mills to foreigners.
“All those good projects are now in vain because the Maseru Roller Mills, which was meant to buy products from Basotho farmers, has been bought by the Americans,” Thabane said.
The ABC government would also jealously guard the principles of Christianity in accordance with the policy of founding father Moshoeshoe I, who requested the intervention of the Church, and brought missionaries to Lesotho, Thabane added.
DC secretary general, Ralechate ’Mokose, however, scoffed at Thabane’s remarks.
“What logic can one expect from the ABC leader when he is raising this at this time?”
He said Thabane was on a political campaign intended to besmirch other people.