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M5 million earmarked for campaign funding

By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has announced that it will disburse M5 million funding for campaign activities to the parties that have registered with the Commission.

This the Commission revealed on Tuesday this week at the refresher training for the political parties’ signatories and treasurers on Tuesday.

Speaking at the event, the acting Director of Elections Advocate Lehlohonolo Suping said the parties normally after elections the parties are required by the law to account to the Commission how the funds were spend.

The campaign funding is made available to the political parties and candidates registered with the IEC for campaign purposes.

The law also stipulates that the registered parties are eligible for funding on an annual basis. Section 71 (1) of the National Assembly Electoral Act, 2011 says: “A political party which participated in the elections shall be entitled to funding from the Consolidated Fund on annual basis depending on the number of seats it has in the National Assembly”.

Advocate Suping also indicated that the parties are required to be accountable with how they use this funding.

He said if the parties do not submit their expenditure reports there are consequences to that.

For her part, IEC Director of Finance ‘Mabatho Sesoane said the funding is divided into two categories wherein 80 percent of M5 million, which is M4 million is divided to the parties based on their previous elections’ performance while the remaining 20 percent (M1 million) will be shared equally by all parties.

She said even if the parties have formed alliances, they will receive this funding albeit individually.

The Director of Finance told the treasurers and parties’ representatives that the funding is not to be used for any other purposes other than campaign purposes. 

Sesoane said the parties are required by the electoral act to file their financial records to the IEC within six months after the elections.

Also, the National Assembly Electoral Act, 2011 empowers the Director of Elections to go to the political parties’ offices and seek to peruse without prior notice, the financial records of the funding the Commission has accorded the party.

Meanwhile, in line with the provision of the money laundering act, the parties are supposed to declare donations that are over M200 000.00.

Basotho Economic Enrichment (BEE) leader Litaba Mohatle alleged that some parties receive the donations exiting M200 000.00 but “do not declare” such funds.

This he said is “manifest” as some parties hold “five” rallies during the week.

There are 65 political parties registered with the Commission and are all eligible for this funding.

In the previous elections of 2017, the campaign funding was about M4 million and was allocated to the then 27 parties.