Maseru – King Letsie III today received an Electoral Pledge by the country’s political leaders at the Royal Palace paving way for smooth next election.
The document, given to the monarch by the SADC facilitator and South Africa’s Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and witnessed by the political leadership, is an affirmation by the parties to democracy, rule of law and peaceful, free and fair electoral process.
As a result, the more than 20 political parties committed themselves to abiding by the Electoral Code of Conduct initially signed in 2001.
In the document, the party leaders committed themselves to honour the Constitution and the laws of the land as well as observing the Code of Conduct. They agreed to facilitate all parties’ access to state media and other forms of disseminating their political views while refraining from prejudice in the use of state resources.
The document said: “All parties agree to refrain from undertaking any actions that may undermine the stability of the institutions of the state, including the removal, appointment, demotion or promotion of key officials within the state during the period prior to the elections subject to due legal process being followed.”
In support of Lesotho’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) the parties, led by their leadership also bound themselves to respect and promote the commission’s independence to enable free and fair poll. They also committed themselves to avert any hindrance to the commission in its work while working within the scope of electoral rules.
They also undertook to condemn violence publicly and refrain from using inciting language or intimidation as well as using state security machinery for political campaigning.
According to Ramaphosa the signing of the pledge was “another milestone in the consolidation of stability in order to assist in creation of a climate conducive” for the election.
Through the pledge, Ramaphosa said at the signing occasion, the leaders sought to accept the election outcome when pronounced to have been free and credible, adding that any grievances should be dealt with according to the law.
This is an unusual election as it comes earlier than it should and so it must instill a sense of confidence among the electorate, he observed.
In crafting the 2014 pledge, SADC mission took a leaf from the commitment made by the parties ahead of the 2012 general election by the Christian Council of Lesotho.
The signing was witnessed by leaders of the Christian Council of Lesotho, Lescotho Council of Non-governmental Organisations and the College of Chiefs.