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Clean up voters’ register



THE Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) this week wrote to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) raising serious concerns on the state of the voters’ register that will be used for the October 7 general elections.

It is important that the IEC quickly addresses the concerns raised to ensure no political party goes into the election feeling aggrieved.

The RFP alleges that some of their members, who are eligible voters, had found out that some of their personal details “either do not appear or are erroneously entered in the provisional electors’ roll”.

The numbers of those affected, the RFP says, is so huge “as to negatively impair on the accuracy of the Electors’ roll”.

The party says it wants these matters addressed as a matter of urgency. The party has now asked to be allowed permission to submit a list of people who have reported errors and omissions so that these errors could be rectified before the elections.

The party said it also wants the IEC to extend the window period for the inspection of the voters’ roll and to be allowed to submit a list of voters whose errors and omissions are yet to be rectified

These are legitimate demands. The IEC must therefore quickly respond to these queries to ensure we have a credible and fair electoral process before and during the actual voting day.

We all know that the voters’ roll is key to any credible election. Without a clean voters’ register, political parties would be entering into an election blind-folded.

They would be entering into an election whose results could be susceptible to serious manipulation even before a single vote has been cast.

That is highly undesirable.

If voters do not find their names on the register, or their names have been captured wrongly, they could be disenfranchised. Voting is a key aspect of the democratic process.

That is why it is important that the voters’ register is as clean as is humanly possible.

It is therefore imperative that the IEC listens and respond to the urgent queries that are being raised about the voter register.

It is in the IEC’s interest that Lesotho has a clean register that can be used as the basis for running a credible election.

To its credit, the IEC has built a solid reputation over the years of running clean elections. It must do all within its power to protect this squeaky clean reputation.

The IEC would do much to further enhance its reputation by quickly addressing the concerns raised by the RFP.

The October 7 elections will be won or lost on the basis of the election register. The last thing that Basotho would want to hear are bitter complaints from political parties unhappy with how the election was run.

The victor and the vanquished must accept the result without rancor. That way, Basotho can get on with their lives. Addressing the RFP’s queries is the first step in ensuring that we do not have a contested election result.

We are aware that a faulty voter register often gives birth to violent post-election disturbances. That would be the last thing we would want to see in Lesotho.

While the issues discussed here were raised by the RFP, these are not RFP matters. They concern every Mosotho who wants to participate freely in the October 7 election.

The IEC must therefore deal with the matters raised in an urgent manner.

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