Muluzi calls for violence- free polls in Lesotho

Malawi’s former president Bakili Muluzi, who is leading a team of Commonwealth observers for the Lesotho parliamentary elections set for 26 May, has called on all stakeholders in the process to act responsibly and shun violence in the lead up to, during and after the polls.

Addressing journalists on Monday in Maseru, Lesotho’s capital, Muluzi said that it is imperative that the electoral process is “transparent, fair, violence- free and credible.”

“There is no room for violence and intimidation during elections. Everyone should commit themselves to peaceful conduct,” he said.

Muluzi, who is leading Commonwealth observers to Lesotho (right) at a press conference in Maseru, Lesotho on 21 May 2012. On his left is Mr Linford Andrews from the Commonwealth Secretariat.(Courtesy photo/Commonwealth Secretariat)

The former Malawi President said that the Commonwealth attaches great importance to the conduct of credible and peaceful elections as a means of giving citizens an opportunity to choose their leaders.

“We are here because we firmly believe that observing elections contributes to strengthening the democratic process,” Muluzi, who is also Africa’s Goodwill Ambassador on Governance and Human Rights, said.

He said observing elections is one of the many ways the Commonwealth works with member countries to deepen democracy.

Muluzi said the Commonwealth Observer Group has met the Independent Electoral Commission on Monday, and will also meet representatives of political parties, civil society, the police and media, as well as the diplomatic community.

“We will also meet with representatives of other observer groups, with which we will coordinate closely,” he said.

He said the Commonwealth Group will consider all the factors impinging on the credibility of the electoral process as a whole, and assess whether the elections have been conducted according to the standards for democratic elections to which Lesotho has committed itself, with reference to its own election-related legislation as well as relevant regional, Commonwealth and other international commitments.

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

Caption: Former Malawi President Dr Bakili Muluzi, who is leading Commonwealth observers to Lesotho (right) at a press conference in Maseru, Lesotho on 21 May 2012. On his left is Mr Linford Andrews from the Commonwealth Secretariat.(Courtesy photo/Commonwealth Secretariat)

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