Lesotho
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PR allocation case scheduled

By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – The High Court had on Saturday afternoon granted the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) an urgent request for its case to be heard expeditiously.

The Commission’s error has set the tongues wagging from members of the public.

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) had on October 13, under Legal Notice No. 100 of 2022 published a gazette for the names of people who will become Members of Parliament (MPs). This was done after the completion of the results announcement and allocation of the Proportional Representation (PR) seats.

The Commission has lodged an urgent court application that seeks the court to grant it the order of “reviewing, correcting, and setting Legal Notice No.100, of 2022 as irregular [and] an order reviewing, correcting and setting aside the allocation of compensatory seats made following the General Elections of the 7th October 2022…”

IEC seeks the court to grant it leave to amend the miscalculated and misallocated PR seats.

Only last week during the evaluation of the elections process the Commission established that there had been an error of miscalculation of the PR seats allocation.

The National Assembly has a total of 120 members of which 80 are elected at the constituencies and 40 are elected through the proportional representation (PR) party list. The PR model was adopted so that small parties may have representation in the august house and wider and inclusive representation.

IEC further seeks the court to grant it leave to recalculate the PR seats also known as compensatory seats and reallocate them to deserving parties that contested in the recent elections.

The applicant is the IEC and the respondents are the Speaker of the National Assembly, the Clerk of the National Assembly, His Majesty King Letsie III, the Democratic Congress (DC), the Alliance of Democrats (AD), Morapeli Motoboli, ‘Maletsema Letšoepa, Katleho Mosotho, Lebohang Mochaba, and the Attorney General being the first to tenth respondents respectively.

IEC established that it has wrongly allocated the DC three additional PR seats and the AD a seat. DC had in total 29 seats and AD five seats.

The parties whose seats had been allocated are Lesotho People’s Congress (LPC), Basotho National Party (BNP), Basotho Patriotic Party (BPP), and United for Change (UFC).

The final allocation of seats per party stands as follows. All Basotho Convention (ABC) 8, Alliance for Democrats (AD) now 4, Basotho Action Party (BAP) 6, Basotho Covenant Movement (BCM) 1, BNP 2, BPP 1, DC 26, Hope 1, Lesotho Congress for Democracy (LCD) 3, LPC 1, Movement for Economic Change (MEC) 4, Mpulule Political Summit (MPS) 1, National Independent Party (NIP) 1, Popular Front for Democracy (PFD) 1, Revolution for Prosperity (RFP) 56, Socialist Revolution (SR) 2 and UFC 1.

Meanwhile, the IEC has withdrawn the prayer that sought to interdict today’s special meeting of the National Assembly as well as the operationalization convening such a meeting.

Speaking on the national radio yesterday morning, the Director of Elections Advocate Mpaiphele Maqutu said upon realizing its error and before approaching the court for correction, the Commission called and explained to the affected parties the errors and that their seats will be taken.

Judge ‘Mafelile Rabelese said the case will be heard by a panel of judges headed by the Chief Justice.

IEC is represented by Advocate Kabelo Letuka and DC is represented by Advocate Motiea Teele King’s Counsel (KC).

The case will be heard on Friday, October 28.