Parties fume over ballots

Parties fume over ballots

MASERU – SOME parties are threatening to reject ballots after it emerged that people who were not nominated by political leaders were part of a printing inspection tour in Durban last weekend.

The threat was made at a heated meeting between party leaders’ monitoring committee at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) boardroom on Monday.
The leaders were angry that chairman of the monitoring sub-committee, the Basotho National Party (BNP)’s Tšepo Monethi and the Lesotho Workers Party Secretary-General Rose Lenea went to Durban to inspect the ballot printing without their approval.

The Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC) secretary general, Bokang Ramatšella, told thepost yesterday that “we are absolutely not happy that these ones went there without us sending them”.

“Yes, the leaders told the IEC that if those ones (Monethi and Lenea) are not brought back we will reject the ballot papers,” Ramatšella said.
Parties that made the threat included Lesotho Christian Party (Baena) and Lekhotla la Mekhoa le Meetlo.

Ramatšella said what irked them most was the IEC commissioner Advocate ’Mamosebi Pholo’s “unconvincing explanations of why these people were allowed to take the tour with the nominated representatives when they were not chosen”.

“We were shocked when we heard that she (Pholo) was there in Durban but did not tell these people not to intermingle with our delegates there,” he said.
Ramatšella said the leaders had “instructed commissioner Pholo to call back Monethi and Lenea it seems she is not interested in doing that”.

Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) leader Lekhetho Rakuoane laughed off the complaints saying “these are just fighting over per diem”.

“These people who have gone to Durban to inspect the printing of the ballots will not have any influence whatsoever on how the ballots will look like,” Rakuoane said.
“Whether they went there having been sent by the leaders or they went on their own accord will not change anything,” he said.
“I only think the complaint comes from jealous ones who think they should have gone instead.”

Rakuoane said the entire nation should be there to see how the ballot is made “but wisdom dictates that we send our representatives because all of us cannot go there”.
The Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) leader Keketso Rantšo said the complaining leaders “just want to waste our time”.

“The delegates will be on this side of a thick glass barricade while the ballots will be printed on the other side and I can assure you nothing they will do will influence the outcome of the printing,” Rantšo said.

“Their job will be just to see how the ballot is printed and to see that it is being printed for Lesotho election, nothing else,” she said.
“I cannot see how they will be of any influence in the printing of the ballot and I don’t understand why political leaders cry when voters see how the ballot is printed.”
The IEC spokesman Tuoe Hantši said there was a misunderstanding between the political leaders over who will be in the delegation to Durban.
“As for us at the IEC we only take the people who are brought to us by the politicians,” Hantši said.

“It is not our role to select their representatives and we don’t know who has been selected until they are brought to us,” he said.
“However, that problem has been resolved now and I don’t think there is anybody complaining now.”

Staff Reporter

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