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IEC demands poll funds from parties

by Lesotho Times
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. . . Mosisili declares funds for polls available

Tefo Tefo

THE Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has dropped a bombshell ahead of imminent snap elections by demanding that political parties account for the money it allocated them for the February 2015 elections.

The country is set to go for elections within 90 days after the current seven-party coalition government headed by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili last week lost a no confidence vote sponsored by a coalition of four opposition parties, namely, the All Basotho Convention (ABC), Basotho National Party (BNP), Reformed Congress of Lesotho (RCL) and the Alliance of Democrats (AD).

In the aftermath of the no-confidence vote, Dr Mosisili advised King Letsie III to dissolve parliament and call for national elections, a move which His Majesty subsequently acceded to.

However, as the country readies for elections, the Lesotho Times has learnt that the IEC recently wrote to the parties to explain how they used the money allocated to them by the commission for the 2015 elections.

The money was given to the parties to cater for their polling agents.

Meanwhile, Dr Mosisili recently refuted claims by the opposition that elections were an unnecessary costly exercise the country could not afford. The opposition had suggested that power should be handed to them in lieu of the elections but Dr Mosisili insisted during a weekend rally at Machache, the country had the money for the elections.

He said unlike the 2015 elections, “we are in an even better position because there was already a budget earmarked for the local government elections and we will just have to look around where we will get the rest of the money to top-up that budget”.

“His Majesty told me that on Thursday the opposition had approached him to advise him to reject my proposal to go to polls because there is no money.

“Where was the money in 2015 when (former Prime Minister) Thomas Thabane decided to go to the polls after he prorogued parliament for nine months? There was no money then but once the government had decided to go for elections, it made sure that there was a budget to cater for them.” Dr Mosisili said, adding the local government and general elections would be held concomitantly.

However, the Director of elections, Letholetseng Ntsike told this publication that “I am not able to tell whether there is money or not like Ntate Mosisli is suggesting since the budget has not been presented”.

For his part, the IEC’s spokesperson Tuoe Hantši yesterday refrained from commenting on whether the commission had funds to conduct the impending elections.

“We are not in a position to say anything about elections because we just heard about elections yesterday,” Mr Hantši said.

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