Statement on the official launch of the SADC civil society election observation mission to the 2015 National Assembly Election Kingdom of Lesotho

02 Mar 2015

ON 28 FEBRUARY 2015, THE PEOPLE OF THE MOUNTAIN KINGDOM OF LESOTHO WILL BE CONDUCTING NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS, TO EXPRESS THEIR DEMOCRATIC WILL FOR A STABLE, PEACEFUL, SECURED AND PROSPEROUS COUNTRY.

CONSEQUENTLY, IT IS IN SOLIDARITY WITH BASOTHO THAT THE SADC COUNCIL OF NGOS (SADC-CNGO), SADC LAWYERS ASSOCIATION (SADC-LA) AND MEDIA INSTITUTE OF SOUTHERN AFRICA (MISA) ARE DEPLOYING A COORDINATED ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION TO OBSERVE THE 28 FEBRUARY 2015 NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS IN THE MOUNTAIN KINGDOM OF LESOTHO. THE MISSION IS COMPOSED OF 17 REGIONAL AND 30 LOCAL OBSERVERS, AND IS AIMED AT ENSURING A COLLECTIVE RESPONSIBILITY OF SOUTHERN AFRICAN CIVIL SOCIETY. WHILE THE ORGANISATIONS REPRESENTED IN THIS COORDINATED CIVIL SOCIETY REGIONAL OBSERVER MISSION WILL ISSUE THEIR INDEPENDENT STATEMENTS FOLLOWING THE ELECTIONS ON 1 OF MARCH 2015, THEIR COLLABORATIVE INITIATIVE IS AIMED AT PULLING TOGETHER THEIR RESPECTIVE EXPERTISE TOWARDS A MORE EFFECTIVE AND COMPREHENSIVE ASSESSMENT OF THE ELECTORAL PROCESS.

FURTHER, SADC-CNGO IS CLOSELY WORKING WITH AND SUPPORTED BY ITS MEMBER, THE LESOTHO COUNCIL OF NGOS (LCN), TO MOBILISE OUR LOCAL OBSERVERS, AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, TO ENSURE INFORMED AND EFFECTIVE DEPLOYMENT ACROSS VARIOUS DISTRICTS, AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH RELEVANT NATIONAL LAWS. WE ARE ALSO GUIDED BY SADC PRINCIPLES GUIDING DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS AS WELL AS SUPPORTIVE AFRICAN UNION INSTRUMENTS ON THE CONDUCT OF FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS.

WE ALSO RECALL THAT SADC-CNGO DEPLOYED A PRE-ELECTION ASSESSMENT MISSION TO LESOTHO FROM 11 – 13 FEBRUARY 2015, WHERE WE MET WITH VARIOUS POLITICAL PARTIES, THE INDEPENDENT ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF LESOTHO AND CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS TO DETERMINE THE PREPAREDNESS OF BASOTHO TOWARDS THE ELECTIONS.

ENRICHED BY THE OUTCOME OF THE ASSESSMENT MISSION, WE ARE THUS READY TO DEPLOY THE CIVIL SOCIETY REGIONAL OBSERVER MISSION TO THE 2015 LESOTHO NATIONAL ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS. WE ARE ENCOURAGED BY THE POSITIVE SPIRIT AND COMMITMENT DEMONSTRATED BY POLITICAL PARTIES, THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF LESOTHO AND CIVIL SOCIETY TO ENSURE FREE AND FAIR ELLECTIONS DESPITE INITIAL CHALLENGES EXPERIENCED.

WE ARE FURTHER ENCOURAGED AND COMMEND THE RECENT SADC TROIKA MEETING WHICH RESOLVED TO IMMEDIATELY ADDRESS THE SECURITY SECTOR CHALLENGES, INCLUDING THE DEPLOYMENT OF POLICE FROM THE SADC MEMBER STATES TO ENHANCE AND SUPPORT NATIONAL EFFORTS TOWARDS A SECURE AND PEACEFUL ENVIRONMENT PRIOR TO, DURING AND AFTER THE ELECTIONS.

WE COMMEND SADC FOR INVESTING IN CREATING AN ENVIRONMENT OF HOPE FOR OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN LESOTHO BY FACILITATING A DIALOGUE AMONG BASOTHO WHICH LED TO THE UPCOMING ELECTIONS. WE THEREFORE TRUST THAT SADC WILL IMMEDIATELY PUT IN PLACE, FOLLOWING THE ELECTIONS ON 28 FEBRUARY 2015, A DETAILED ROADMAP FOR CONSTITUTIONAL, PARLIAMENTARY, PUBLIC AND SECURITY SECTOR REFORMS TOWARDS BUILDING A LONG TERM DEMOCRATIC DISPENSATION AND ACCOUNTABLE INSTITUTIONS FOR A PERMANENT PEACE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.

WE BELIEVE THAT WE HAVE DONE OUR PART FROM THE REGION, AND THAT SADC, MOST IMPORTANTLY, HAS TAKEN NECESSARY INITIATIVES AND SUPPORT TO LESOTHO AS OUR SISTER MEMBER STATE TO ENSURE AN ENVIRONMENT OF PEACE, STABILITY AND FREEDOM FOR BASOTHO TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES FREELY AND WITHOUT DURESS TO ELECT THEIR REPRESENTATIVES ON 28 FEBRUARY 2015.

IT IS, HOWEVER, OUR BELIEF THAT BASOTHO CARRY THE MOST CENTRAL RESPONSIBILITY OF CONDUCTING  FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS, AND MUST GUARANTEE THAT THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE IS RESPECTED, AS EXPRESSED THROUGH THE BALLOT. WE CALL ON ALL POLITICAL PARTIES, THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION OF LESOTHO, CIVIL SOCIETY AND BASOTHO IN GENERAL TO MAKE AN EXTRA-ORDINARY EFFORT, COMMITMENT AND RESOLVE TO USHER IN A NEW HOPE AND PROSPECTS FOR THE FUTURE OF THE KINGDOM OF LESOTHO WE ALL WANT, BY COMING OUT IN NUMBERS TO PEACEFULLY AND FAIRLY EXERCISE THEIR DEMOCRATIC AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT TO ELECT THE GOVERNMENT THEY WANT.

WE INVITE YOU TO THE RELEASE OF OUR PRELIMINARY STATEMENT ON THE CONDUCT OF ELECTIONS ON  1 MARCH 2015 AT 11:00AM AT THE VICTORIA HOTEL.

THANK YOU

 

 

 

 

For more information contact:

Mr. Boichoko Ditlhake, Executive Director
SADC-CNGO
Email: abied@sadc-cngo.org.bw

Zoe Titus, Regional Director,
Media Institute of Southern Africa
Email: zoe@misa.org

Chantelle de Sousa, Programmes Office;
SADC Lawyers’ Association
chantelle@sadcla.org

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