SADC OBSERVER MISSION READIES FOR LESOTHO ELECTIONS

MASERU, Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs Minister and Head of the SADC Election Observer Mission Dr Augustine Mahiga has arrived in Maseru to observe Lesotho’s June 3 general elections.

She was officially welcomed by Lesotho Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister Dr Mamphono Khaketla.

The Head of Mission is accompanied by the chairperson of the SADC Electoral Advisory Council, Justice John Tendwa, and a delegation of 12 drawn from three Member States that constitute the Troika, namely, Tanzania, Mozambique and Angola.

The SADC observers’ mission’s arrival in Lesotho follows three other SADC bodies which have been engaged in facilitating preparedness of all stakeholders for the June 3 General Elections.

They include the SADC Oversight Committee and the Electoral Advisory Council.

SADC has deployed a total of 41 observers, from 9 countries.

While the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has announced determination to deliver a credible election and that they remain on course and faithful to their calendar, extra-mural events pose a serious threat to a free and fairly run electoral process.

The electoral body has voiced concern over forecast weather patterns in the country, with citizens put on high alert for the week preceding, during and after elections, due to extreme weather conditions predicted over polling day.

Light snow has, beginning May 13, fallen over the mountainous parts of the country, igniting fear that this will likely deter voting on June 3. Lesotho is known for its harsh winters, characterised by cold winds and excessive snow in the highlands.

The weather has adversely begun to affect the Mokhotlong, Thaba-Tseka and Qacha’s Nek districts comprising a total of 12 constituencies. The status quo is likely to prompt deferment of voting to a later date should the weather not improve.

Lesotho uses a Mixed Member Proportional Electoral Model, which comprises the First Past the Post and Proportional Representation models, 40 parliamentary seats are allocated on party vote percentages on top of won constituency seats.

The electorate goes into the June 3 elections courted by mainly two propensities that are likely to form a new government, the two-party pact of Pakalitha Mosisili’s DC and the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) led by Deputy Prime Minister Mothetjoa Metsing.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK