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Bitter Shao cries foul over result



MASERU – ZHEN Yu Shao, who lost an election in his Ha-Tsolo constituency last Friday, is challenging the result after alleging the election commission deliberately mixed up his name with that of a rival.

Shao, a Mosotho of Chinese descent, has now officially lodged an appeal against the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

He alleges that the IEC swapped his name with that of Talenta Masoatsa of the Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) who won the seat.

Shao said this was not a genuine error on the part of the IEC but was a deliberate ploy to steal the election in favour of Masoatsa of the RFP by individuals who were hostile to his candidacy.

Shao received a measly 123 votes against Masoatsa’s 2 373 votes.

In a letter to the IEC, Shao said his name was not written properly on the ballot paper/

“You know it better than me that (sic) whatever happened on the ballot,” the letter reads in part.

He asked the IEC to provide him with a clarification of what happened, failing which “I will approach the courts of law”.

Shao told thepost that his name was swapped with that of the RFP candidate during the elections as a means to make him lose the election.

“I have written to the IEC to solve the matter but they did not respond,” he said.

“We wrote to the IEC objecting to the election.”

He said he ended up becoming an independent candidate after his former party, the Movement for Economic Change (MEC), denied him the chance to stand as the party’s candidate.

He also said his aim and intention was to enhance the Lesotho economy and also raise the Lesotho employees’ minimum wage.

He said he is not satisfied with the way the election was run, adding that his “results are low due to some irregularities”.

“We have many people who joined me,” he said.

He added that his goal is to see Lesotho develop like some Asian countries which are progressing.

He complained that some people tried to stop him from contesting in the general election but he defeated them in court.

“Even now some people are not happy that I managed to stand for an election, that is why my votes are very low,” he said.

Shao said the swapping of names with the RFP candidate on the ballot box hurt him.

“That mistake is very painful for me, it seems like Lesotho does not want me in the elections.”

“Why is it me alone in this problem? I have citizenship and I have been voting for parties,” he said.

He said he has a Lesotho passport and an identity number.

“This is too much for me, I am sad, it is so sad.”

Two weeks ago, a group of Basotho led by the Christian Advocates and Ambassadors Association went to court seeking to block Shao from standing in the election.

They alleged that he could not speak, write or read both Sesotho and English fluently and could therefore, not represent anybody in parliament.

They also argued that if a naturalised Chinese could be an MP in Lesotho, the same provision should apply in China for naturalised Basotho in that country.

He won the constitutional case that challenged his candidacy for the general election last week and managed to contest.

The Constitutional Court ruled that the constitution or any law in Lesotho does not debar Shao from seeking political office.

His critics said he was unsuitable to stand for elections in Lesotho because his country of origin, China, has no legal provision for a naturalised Mosotho to seek political office.

The association also argued that Shao was not fluent in spoken and written Sesotho and English languages.

The court ruled that Shao could stand for the election because he qualifies as a citizen of Lesotho.

Nkheli Liphoto

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