- as by-elections thrown into doubt
THE Professor Nqosa Mahao-led Basotho Action Party (BAP) is demanding an urgent meeting with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to discuss various issues including the fate of by-elections due in five constituencies.
BAP secretary general, Nto Moakhi, yesterday said they had written to IEC chairperson, Mphasa Mokhochane, requesting a meeting tomorrow.
Mr Moakhi said the meeting will discuss the IEC’s preparedness to conduct long-overdue by-elections in ‘Makhoroana, ‘Maliepetsane, Mohale’s Hoek, Kolo and Qacha’s Nek. The five constituencies have been without representation following the deaths of their legislators between 2019 and 2021.
Other issues to be discussed include the delineation of constituencies ahead of next year’s general elections due anytime from September 2022 when the 10th parliament’s tenure ends.
The meeting will also discuss the funding of political parties as well as the registration and deregistration of parties that have fallen foul of electoral laws, Mr Moakhi said.
“We need an urgent meeting because all these issues require immediate attention,” he said without elaborating.
The BAP’s demands come against the background of uncertainty surrounding the fate of the by-elections.
Prof Mahao has previously told the Lesotho Times that the BAP was itching to participate in the by-elections because winning them will lay down the marker to its rivals that it is the party to beat in next year’s polls.
Prof Mahao, the former ABC deputy leader, also poured scorn on the ruling party, saying it was scared of the polls as it would lose in the wake of the split which resulted in him and nine MPs forming the BAP in April this year.
Meanwhile, IEC chairperson, Mr Mokhochane, yesterday said they were still in the dark regarding the polls.
“We are not sure what will happen regarding the by-elections but we remain hopeful that we will hold them because the government has promised to attend to the matter.
“We intend to have a meeting with various political parties next Wednesday and perhaps by we shall know the way forward,” Mr Mokhochane said.
His pronouncements appear in stark contrast to those of Finance Minister, Thabo Sophonea, who has said the IEC should forget about receiving any funds from treasury as it had never requested anything to conduct the polls.