MP lashes IEC over boundaries

MP lashes IEC over boundaries

 

Staff Reporter

MASERU

A Democratic Congress (DC) party MP has accused the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of manipulating electoral boundaries to give unfair advantage to some parties.

Semano Sekatle

Semano Sekatle

Semano Sekatle, who is the MP for Lebakeng constituency in Qacha’s Nek, made the charge in Parliament last week.

This was after Law and Constitutional Affairs Minister Motlalentoa Letsosa had asked the House to allocate M237.4 million to the IEC for the 2016/2017 financial year.

Sekatle did not disclose the political parties he alleged has benefited from the gerrymandering of constituencies.

The DC MP alleged that this was not the first time the IEC had manipulated the constituency boundaries. He said in the run-up to the 2012 election, the electoral commission had demarcated the boundaries in a manner that was designed to weaken the DC and the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) parties.

“There in Matsieng where they knew that the DC or LCD (would) have a landslide win, they ripped it apart and took a large part to the Makhaleng constituency,” Sekatle said.

Makhaleng was won by the DC’s Mootsi Lehata both in 2012 and 2015 elections.

Matsieng has always been a stronghold of the LCD since 1998 election and has over the years been led by Pashu Mochesane.

When Mochesane quit the LCD to form the Lesotho People’s Congress in 2002, the constituency was then won by Lehata.

Lehata has always won the constituency under the LCD since the 2002 election until he defected to form the DC together with Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili in 2012 when he stood in Makhaleng where he scored a landslide win.

Another MP reminded Sekatle that ahead of 2012 the Matelile constituency, which was then a stronghold of LCD, was completely removed when constituency boundaries were redrawn.

Sekatle did not take kindly to remarks by Letsosa suggesting that the IEC voter register was clean.

He urged the IEC to stop misleading Parliament adding the electoral body had itself admitted in 2012 that the electoral lists were defective.

“I am surprised as to what kind of people they are,” Sekatle said, adding: “This s why they can go to the extent of deceiving this House by telling the minister that they have a quality register.”

“What is that? How can they have a quality register?” he said.

Sekatle said the IEC had recently recruited Dr Letholetseng Ntsike, former head of the National Manpower Development Secretariat (NMDS), and they should use her to clean the lists.

“We know that the registers disappeared and reappeared when we were about to go to the elections,” he said.

“We know that directors were dismissed and they returned. We don’t hear what they say they have done about this,” he said.

“I’m really surprised that they say the voter lists are so clean that we can now go to elections. How? These people are so surprising. By so doing they make us lose confidence in the IEC.”

“They know that, and they knew it long time before the 2012 elections,” he said.

Sekatle said the IEC should not lie to itself saying the voters lists are clean and elections can be held because by so doing it is drawing a bad picture of the country.

“We are the ones who gave South Africa a lesson of keeping good records and how to properly announce election results and now they are the ones gaining popularity,” he said.

Sekatle said South Africa came to Lesotho to learn and after they the practiced what they learnt from Lesotho and they have got an award from the United Nations for that while we are lagging behind.

He said the IEC by insisting that its voters lists are clean is dirtying itself.

“Stop dirtying yourselves. Pay attention to what the people are saying,” he said.

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