Lesotho
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U.S. urges Basotho to own elections process

By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU

As the hype of elections continues to intensify with only a few weeks left before the polling day, the United States (U.S.) Ambassador to Lesotho Maria Brewer reiterated the need for all stakeholders to through their weight behind the upcoming elections next month.

For the elections to be free and fair, Brewer said concerted efforts are needed.

This she said at the reception in recognition of the upcoming national elections slated for October 7.

The U.S. Ambassador said: “We all have a critical role to play in ensuring the integrity of the upcoming elections”.

Brewer called for popular participation and engagement in the process of elections in order to ensure their success. She called on the media, civil society actors, political leaders and members of the public to all play their fair share.

She continued: “For these elections to truly be effective, they must be free, fair, and transparent. For elections to be free, all those eligible to vote must be able to do so, free from fear or intimidation.

“For elections to be fair, all registered political parties must have a right to take part in the elections, campaign for voter support, and hold meetings and rallies. For elections to be transparent, all stakeholders – political parties, election observers, and voters alike – must be able to verify that the elections were conducted according to official procedures. 

“Elections take time to become free, fair, and transparent.  It takes effort – democracy takes great effort – to bring elections to fruition.”

Brewer further appealed to the contestants to not engage in provocative words and shun violence in their campaigns.

“To those of you seeking office or representing a political party, you have an obligation to refrain from inflammatory speech and from supporting acts of intimidation.   

Whenever such speech or acts of violence are committed by your supporters or in your name, you must speak out against it.  Violence has no place in a democratic election,” she said.

She also appealed to the members of the international community and diplomatic corps to denounce acts of abuse and stand in solidarity with those striving for the integrity of elections.

Brewer concluded: “We will continue to support each other – as partners and friends – as we seek a brighter future, not only for the people of our countries but for the world. 

“Once again, the U.S. Embassy in Lesotho wishes everyone an elections cycle that is free, fair … transparent, and free of violence.”