Lesotho’s Independent Electoral Commission says three months is the shortest time that it has ever had to prepare for elections, and it needs the budget and relaxation of procurement requirements approved soon, but it is determined to make the country’s June 3 poll a success.
The mountain kingdom is going to elections after a motion of no confidence in the Prime Minister. The IEC has published its elections timetable saying it has to double its efforts.
Lesotho is going to the polls on June 3 for the third time in 5 years. The last two elections also came prematurely.
In 2012, it was two months early. In 2015, it was two years early but at least the IEC had five months to prepare. This time elections are three years early.
“With this one it’s different than the rest because it came after a vote of no confidence. We don’t have the laxity of five months. We are strictly on the three months period. We have made our preparations, director is pulling staff to understand that it has to succeed and we are trying we hope it’s going to succeed, there’ll be hiccups, but it has to succeed,” said deputy director of elections , Mphasa Mokhochane.
The biggest challenge is that June is the middle of winter in a country prone to snow. Voters have less than a week to ensure they are on the voters roll with registration closing this Sunday.
Political Parties will have only two days to submit their candidates in April. The High Court will have two days to hear objections. The IEC needs procurement requirements to be relaxed.
“Procurement procedures normally require a month for advertising and some cooling off periods, but with only 90 days we don’t have that time we have written a letter requesting relaxation of procurement. The IEC premises will be a hive of activity for the next three months with registration of voters and candidates and general logistics. But the next few days will be crucial for approval of the budget and relaxation of procurement procedures to ensure and election that will be not only free and fair, but also credible,” said Director of elections, Dr Letholetseng Ntsike.
– By Nthakoana Ngatane