C’wealth observer Muluzi declares Lesotho polls credible

Former Malawi President Bakili Muluzi leading the Commonwealth Observer Group in Lesotho’s parliamentary elections says the polls were won by the party of the long-time prime minister have so far been peaceful and credible.

Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili’s Democratic Congress has scooped 41 seats from 80, the simple majority needed to form a government.

“It is the view of the Commonwealth Observer Group that this election was conducted in a credible, transparent and professional manner,” Muluzi told a news conference in the capital Maseru in an interim statement.

The Group said that the elections were competitive and that basic freedoms of association, assembly and movement were not compromised.

Former Malawi President Dr Bakili Muluzi, leading Commonwealth observers to Lesotho polls speaks with an AFP Crew in Maseru on 26 May 2012.

Commonwealth observers however pointed out some areas that need improvement for future elections, including improvement of the voter register to make it more credible prior to the next elections, the use of government vehicles for election purposes other than for transporting ministers and breaches of the electoral code of conduct, isolated incidents of violence, and bias of the state media.

“Despite the various shortcomings we have highlighted, they did not materially affect the conduct of the elections,” Muluzi, who ruled Malawi from 1994 to 2004, told journalists.

The former Malawi President said that as the result process reaches its crucial finalisation phase, “we hope that the peaceful tenor of the electoral process thus far will continue to prevail.”

“We reiterate our call on all political parties, their supporters and other stakeholders to continue to show restraint and magnanimity and to uphold their pre-election commitments to peace with the same spirit of national unity, peace and solidarity. We believe the people of the Kingdom of Lesotho deserve that from their elected representatives,” said Muluzi, who is also Africa’s Goodwill Ambassador on Governance and Human Rights.

“We congratulate the people of Lesotho for demonstrating faith in the principles of democracy,” said Muluzi.

He said Commonwealth “will remain engaged” with the people of Lesotho in the journey to consolidate their democracy.

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

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