Activists in Lesotho call for electoral commissioners to be investigated over results error

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
King Letsie III of Lesotho.
King Letsie III of Lesotho.
Anesh Debiky, Gallo Images
  • The Independent Electoral Commission erroneously allocated four proportional seats.
  • Activists claim taxpayers will pay R2.4 million a year to legislators who should not be in parliament if the error is not corrected.
  • King Letsie III has directed the matter to the attorney-general for consideration.

Lesotho's King Letsie III's office has referred to the attorney-general a request from civic society activists who want officials from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to step down on grounds of incompetency.

The activists, Resetselemang Jane, Kananelo Boloetse, and Motsamai Mokotjo wrote to the king's acting senior private secretary, Nyolosi Mphale, asking him to urgently advise the king to appoint a tribunal to investigate the IEC commissioners’ fitness to hold office.

This was because the IEC acknowledged in October last year that it had declared results for four proportional representation (PR) seats that had been wrongly calculated.

The three argued that the IEC's reputation was in bad standing considering that the European Union Election Observation Mission noted the anomaly.

Since then, nothing has been done to correct the incident, setting a bad precedent on public accountability, they argued.

"Months later, no one has been held accountable for that embarrassing mistake and this lack of accountability is undermining the legitimacy of the rule of law.

READ | Lesotho elections: Bigwigs fall as Revolution for Prosperity dominates

"What we seek to emphasise is that the biggest casualties of announcing incorrectly calculated results for four PR seats are the taxpayers who are robbed of thousands of maloti every month," they said.

A National Assembly member earns about R39 529 per month and also enjoys an allowance of  R3 000 for housing, up to R5 000 for fuel, R2 000 for utilities, and then a R1 000 expenses allowance.

In total, they earn R50 529, tax-free a month.

The three activists say about R2.4 million per year would be paid to legislators who should not be in parliament.

"The taxpayers are forking out over M200 000 (R200 000) each month to pay the salaries and benefits of four people who were not supposed to be in the National Assembly in the first place," they said.

"It is against this background that we humbly request that the council of state should represent to His Majesty King III that the question of removing the three [IEC] commissioners has to be investigated," they added.

Mphale acknowledged receiving the request, and said it had been forwarded to the attorney-general for consideration.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 549 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 3041 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 614 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.