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M300 million for elections

Business

Nthatuoa Koeshe

The much anticipated National Assembly General Elections are set to once again gobble-up M300 million in taxpayers’ funds as proclaimed by the Finance Minister Thabo Sophonea.

The advancing polls expected in about six months have been allotted a similar budget to that of 2017’s edition of elections which was also estimated around the same amount after the 2015 elections which nibbled up about M240 million.

“To undertake these elections, the government has set aside about M300 million for this year’s elections,” Sephonea said in his fiscal estimates for the financial year 2022-2023.

He said as a pre-condition for free and fair elections, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is in the process of executing all its key electoral activities in preparation for 2022 National Assembly and Local Government elections.

He pointed out that the commission is in the process of reviewing constituencies’ boundaries and the description of boundaries will be publicised once completed.

“Upon completion of the review of the boundaries, the commission will review the electoral divisions,” he said.

He said the pre re-registration activities have begun and the actual re-registration of voters will commence in April 2022.

General elections were last held in Lesotho on June 3, 2017 to elect all 120 seats of the National Assembly, the lower house of the Parliament.

The elections were called more than three years ahead of schedule due to a successful vote of no confidence against the then Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili.

Amongst other areas comprised in the budget estimates, Sophonea allocated the sum of M2.7 billion to the Governance, Rule of Law and Security sector, highlighting that is bid to beefing up the security in the country as all have a right to liberty and equal privileges. 

“It is universally acknowledged that the rule of law is a corner stone for a secure and stable country. The Government is tirelessly working hard to ensure that every Mosotho is treated fairly and enjoys equal privileges. The Government will further continue to protect the country and its people against all forms of threats and injustice,” he said.

He continued that a modest level of achievement has been reached with intensified efforts to combat the prevailing trafficking-in-persons in all its forms, focusing mainly on prevention, protection and persecution.

“National Strategic Framework and Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Persons (NSFAP), 2021-2026 has been endorsed and is ready for implementation. Subsequently the country has been upgraded from Tier 3, the Junk status, to Tier 2, the Watch list. The Government has earmarked funds to support operations of the Anti–Trafficking Secretariat for the implementation of the 2021–2026 NSFAP Victims of Trafficking as well as Internally Displaced Persons,” he said.

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