Parly’s unfinished business to cost voters



MASERU – Scores of voters are likely to miss out on voting in the forthcoming national elections if government fails to find a legal route to effect electoral amendments proposed in the National Assembly Electoral Amendment Bill of 2022.

This is also bound to adversely impact on Basotho in the diaspora who are already excited about the possibility of casting their votes as advance voters according to amendments to the national electoral laws contained by the electoral Bill. The National Assembly Electoral Amendment Bill of 2022 forms part of the Omnibus Bill which parliament failed to pass this week before it was dissolved. The 10th parliament’s five-year term ended on Thursday, July 14.

In an interview with Public Eye, the Minister of Justice and Law, Advocate Lekhetho Rakuoane, said that since the Omnibus Bill failed to be passed by parliament – affecting amendments to the National Assembly Act of 2011 – government is yet to advise itself on the way forward.

Rakuoane said the government has already engaged legal brains to consult and guide on the best way forward on effecting the proposed amendments as the country approaches national elections. He said government’s main concern is that without the amendments many Basotho citizens outside Lesotho will forfeit the opportunity to participate in the coming elections.

“Yes, parliament has not been able to finish its work to pass the Omnibus Bill, which contains the National Assembly Electoral Amendment Bill of 2022, because its term came to end. “Currently we do not know what the next step will be but lawyers have been assigned to consult and advise the government on the matter and recommend a way forward.

“What is of greatest concern is the National Assembly Electoral Amendment Bill which, if not passed, a lot of Basotho will not be able to elect. So, the question is whether the government will let Basotho be denied their right to vote,” he noted.

The National Assembly Electoral Amendment Bill of 2022 intends to amend the 2011 National Assembly Electoral Act in an attempt to promote a stable democracy by holding free and fair elections that will contribute to national peace and stability.

Under application for registration, the Bill provides for the improvement of the current electors’ register for the local government as well as the national elections by use of national identity cards. However, for the upcoming elections both voters’ cards and national identity cards shall be used.

The Bill also makes provision for registered electors legally residing outside Lesotho to participate in the national or local government elections and vote as advance electors. These developments follow the dissolution of parliament by King Letsie III yesterday.

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