Commonwealth observer Muluzi calls for peoples’ votes to count in Lesotho

Ahead of Lesotho polls on Saturday, Malawi’s former president Dr Bakili Muluzi, Chair of Commonwealth Observers calls for peoples’ votes to count, on-interference, and no intimidation of voters.

In a statement he issued in Maseru on Friday, Maseru, on behalf of the Commonwealth Observer Group which he is leading, urged all stakeholders in the electoral process to play their roles with “due diligence” to ensure that the process on polling day, the counting, the announcement of results and events thereafter go smoothly without incident.

Muluzi said since the observer group arrived in Lesotho on 19 May 2012, they have met a cross section of interested parties and heard about the preparations and concerns that could impinge the credibility of the elections.

Former Malawi President Dr Bakili Muluzi, who is leading Commonwealth observers to Lesotho

“We subsequently raised these concerns with our interlocutors, notably, the Independent Electoral Commission, political parties, civil society, the army and the police, and received assurances that the will of the people to choose their leaders will be guaranteed and respected,” said Muluzi who ruled Malawi from 1994 to 2004.

“We take these assurances as a good gesture, conveyed in good faith and a demonstration of the commitment of the stakeholders to democracy,” said Muluzi, who is also Africa’s Goodwill Ambassador on Governance and Human Rights.

“In our experience, the polling day itself often goes without incident. It is the counting, tabulation and the aftermath of the announcement of results that often raises concern,” he said.

Muluzi called upon all political party leaders and their supporters to “show restraint and magnanimity “as the results process unfolds in the days following the poll.

“We appeal to everyone involved in the election process to respect the laws of the land and the Constitution, and to do The Kingdom of Lesotho, Africa and the Commonwealth proud by conducting a credible election that meets the standards to which country has subscribed to,” he said.

“I have often said that we chose democracy for ourselves in Africa and the Commonwealth–we therefore must live and adhere to its tenets.  Democracy, rule of law, respect for human rights including the right to vote, and to choose leaders freely without intimidation and violence, are some of the core values and principles of the Commonwealth.

“There is no better occasion to uphold them than during elections. The people must be confident that their vote will count and that there will be freedom, peace and calm after voting,” Muluzi said.

Malawi Electoral Support Network (MESN) Chairperson Aloisius Nthenda is also in the team to monitor the polls.

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