By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU- The government has disbursed to the tune of M300 million to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to conduct the upcoming local government elections.

This information was released by the Director of Elections, Advocate Mpaiphele Maqutu at the Commission’s offices last week in Maseru.

The Elections Director thanked the government for timely disbursing this allocation saying unlike the previous national elections held on October 7, last year, they had to borrow funds to administer them.

This injection is expected to empower the IEC to conduct these elections as the body mandated to carry out that duty.

The local government elections are scheduled to take place on September 29 later this year.

The last local government elections were held on September 30, 2017.

Section 66A of the Constitution empowers the Commission “To ensure that elections to the National Assembly and local authorities are held regularly and that every election or referendum held is free and fair. To organize, conduct and supervise, in an impartial and independent manner, elections to the National Assembly and referenda under the provisions of this Constitution and any other law; to delimit the boundaries of constituencies in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution and any other law; to supervise and control the registration of electors; to compile a general register of electors and constituency registers of electors for the several constituencies and to maintain such register or registers up to date.

“To promote knowledge of sound democratic electoral processes; to register political parties; to ascertain publish and declare the results of elections and referenda; to adjudicate complaints of alleged irregularities in any aspect of the electoral or referendum process at any stage other than in an election petition; and to perform such other functions as may be prescribed by or under any law enacted by Parliament.”

These upcoming elections will usher in councilors. Local governments are charged with the responsibility to manage the affairs of the public in their communities and those include a range of responsibilities from managing natural resources, safeguarding the environment, ensuring public health service, building local infrastructures and ultimately fostering economic growth.

According to the local government elections timetable as published through the Legal Notice No. 50, Vol. 68, the elections period commenced on July 23 and there are many activities that have since taken place. Those include: publication of the revised register of elections, submission and determination of objections by the Commission, candidates’ nomination and the establishment of the polling stations.

The results are due for publication on October 6.