Ramaphosa happy with Lesotho readiness

2015-02-15 06:15
(Werner Beukes, Sapa)

(Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa was happy with preparations ahead of Lesotho's elections scheduled for 28 February, his spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa said on his return to South Africa on Saturday.

Ramaphosa was visiting in his capacity as SA Development Community-appointed facilitator after an attempted coup in August which led to prime minister Tom Thabane fleeing for South Africa.

Mamoepa said the latest visit included meetings with King Letsie III, representatives of the coalition government namely Thabane of the All Basuthu Convention (ABC), deputy prime minister Mothejoa Metsing of the Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and minister of gender and youth, sports and recreation Thesele Maseribane of the Basutho Nationa Party .

Besides the coalition partners, he also met representatives of the non-governmental organisation sector, church leaders, and chiefs of security agencies the Lesotho Defence Force and the Lesotho Mounted Police Service.

Earlier in February President Jacob Zuma hosted a delegation from the coalition government led by Thabane, in Zuma's capacity as chair of the SADC troika organ on politics, defence and security co-operation.

Mamoepa said during that meeting the delegation had raised corners over security, the violation of the Maseru facilitation and security accords, and had discussed a request for SADC to help deliver a credible election.

The election will be taking place two years sooner than originally expected, as agreed in the accords.

"Following his interaction wtih roleplayers in Lesotho on Friday and Saturday, the deputy president expressed satisfaction with preparations for the forthcoming "brought forward" elections," said Mamoepa.

"He drew inspiration from the great optimism seen by the ordinary people of Lesotho who remain determined to express their will through democratic elections later this month," he continued.

"Furthermore, he expressed the confidence that the security challenges facing lesotho will continue to receive the attention of SADC."

Oberserver mission

Ramaphosa also announced that a SADC oberserver mission would be deployed on Tuesday 18 February in Maseru to monitor the elections.

This follows the recent deployment of the SADC electoral advisory council which visited lesotho to assess the readiness for elections.

The SADC troika of heads of state and government meeting will be held later this month.

According to an Institute of Security Studies research paper, the elections might be a "quick fix" attempt at resolving the conflict.

Researchers said the main causes of the tensions in Lesotho, which is completely surrounded by South Africa, "are its governance structures".

"A coalition government has ruled since May 2012, consisting of the three dominant parties: the Basotho National Party (BNP), Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) and All Basotho Convention (ABC).

"Previous attempts to resolve tensions have been superficial. The parties clashed over the appropriate distribution of resources within the coalition government. This division became increasingly visible at the beginning of September last year between the parties of Thabane (ABC) who is allegedly supported by the police, and Metsing (LCD), who is said to have the loyalty of the military forces".

A report on the Lesotho Times website said that the parties have rejected a proposal by the Independent Electoral Commission to have voter-validation machines at polling stations.

Parties interviewed said the machines had not been tested properly for such a crucial election.

Read more on:    sadc  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  lesotho  |  lesotho elections 2015  |  southern africa

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