Basotho must take advantage of voter registration

VOTER registration is a key aspect of the electoral process. Failure to register might mean one is not eligible to vote on election day.
Under Lesotho’s laws it is illegal for any person above the age of 18 not to register for elections.
It is therefore wise for all Basotho to be registered even if one is not prepared to vote for any candidate or political party.
The local government elections will be held across the country on September 17, 2011. The cut-off date for the registration process has been set for July 24, 2011.
Young people and adults who have not registered to vote should take this opportunity and register.
The technological challenges facing the registration process should not deter people from seeking to register.
I am confident that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is dealing with these challenges although the little progress that is being made in that regard should be acknowledged.
It is natural that in any democratic dispensation stakeholders will raise concerns about the registration process if they believe the process is not going on well.
It would be unhelpful however for political leaders to seek to blow the challenges out of proportion and give the public the impression that the situation is beyond control.
As leaders engage it would be wise for them to do so bearing in mind that it is their duty to help build and nurture voter confidence in the electoral process.
If they are not careful these leaders can discourage the electorate and bring about feelings of hopelessness and despair surrounding the election process.
On another level, young people can make their voices heard by contesting and voting in local government elections.
Normally the needs and interests of young people are sidelined by political party leaders.
Their carefree attitude often pits them in direct opposition to their party leaders who may want to whip them into line.
The youths must resist that tendency. They must fight to represent their own constituency.
With so much unemployment the youths must offer themselves to serve the public and advance their own cause.
Well before the close of the registration process voters must check that their names and identity numbers are correctly captured in the registry.
If by any chance one’s name is misspelled or placed in a constituency where it is not supposed to be such errors should be promptly reported to the IEC for correction.
It would be sad for one to be stopped from voting simply because one’s details do not tally with those in the register.
One must also remember that a registered voter has a right by law to query any details that are on the voter register.
We all have a responsibility to have a clean voters’ register.
The IEC is maximising chances of registering all the 1 151 000 Basotho who are of voting age.
There are already 906 000 Basotho who are on the voter register. It is important that all Basotho take part in the elections in September to strengthen our democratic processes.

Shale is a civil society activist based in Maseru

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