A Commonwealth team has commended the people of Lesotho for the atmosphere of peace and calm in which their general election was held. However, the Commonwealth Observer Group expressed concerns that the voter roll caused confusion and disenfranchised voters in some areas.
Releasing its interim statement in Maseru, the Commonwealth Observer Group said that the Basotho people exercised their electoral choices in a peaceful manner, taking their time to queue and follow due process and procedure in electing their next National Assembly representatives.
Chairperson of the Group, former President of Seychelles, HE Danny Faure, said:
“Some polling stations and party agents did not have final copies of the voter’s roll even on election day.
Some voters could not find their names on the rolls and some were directed to other constituencies due to boundary delimitation exercises that changed their voting stations.”
The Group made the following recommendation in its report: “The IEC and the legislator should review the procedures for compilation of the voter register to better ensure its reliability, in particular as regards duplicates, removal of deceased persons, and inclusion of youth. Finalising the voters' roll at an earlier point in the process would enable an electronic copy to be issued to parties further in advance.”
The report commended the patience and determination of the voters who exercised their civic rights and did so patiently - forming queues in the early hours in inclement weather, and despite, in some areas, challenging mountainous terrains.
The report commended the IEC’s policies to facilitate assisted voting to persons with disabilities, seniors, and other groups in prioritizing or assisting them in order to make their votes also count.
The Group arrived in Lesotho on 27 September, and observed preparations for the pre-poll, polling period and counting in many polling places across the 10 districts of the Kingdom.
The Group’s final report will be submitted to the Commonwealth Secretary-General and subsequently made available to the Government of Lesotho, political parties, the IEC and the public.
2022 marks the 20th anniversary of the Commonwealth’s election observation mission in Lesotho.
The Commonwealth Observer Group members are:
- H.E. Danny Faure - Chairperson Former President of Seychelles
- Justice Mbogholi Amraphael Msagha Retired Judge, Kenya
- Ms Blessings Tunoh Asso Former editor, Channels TV, Nigeria
- Hon. Jacqueline Mohongayire Former Senator, Rwanda
- Ms Terry Dale Ince CEDAW, Gender and Human Rights Advocate, Trinidad and Tobago
- Mr Paul O’Grady Executive Director, Article 21 and former Deputy Head of OSCE Elections Missions, United Kingdom
- Mr Boniface Cheembe Executive Director, Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD), Zambia