- 19 political parties have been approved by Lesotho's Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to contest the 17 February general elections. In a surprise move, the IEC said it would give US$ 70,000 to the contesting parties to finance their election.
Besides, another US$ 2.3 million will be provided as payment for party agents to be deployed in the 300,000 polling centres countrywide. The Lesotho government was to provide the whole sum, electoral officials said.
In his address to the political parties in the capital Maseru, IEC Chairman Leshele Thoahlane said "the money will be allocated amongst the 19 political parties registered with the commission, even though we are still to agree on the formula for allocation of the funds."
The electoral chief further asked political leaders to send computer experts to monitor and observe the IEC's database process in a bid to ensure transparency and make the elections credible.
Lesotho's Prime Minister, Pakalitha Mosisili, used the occasion to pounce on media houses for "making unfounded allegations against the government", which aim to discredit the elections. He therefore asked them to stick to the code of conduct governing the media coverage of elections.
Prime Minister Mosisili also advised computer experts to identify irregularities in the electoral register and avoid tampering with the day-to-day operations of the IEC.
The electoral commission was finally asked to ensure that all political parties enjoy their fair share of coverage by the state media - otherwise the elections would remain not be credible.
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