Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - A team of African Union election observers have arrived in Maseru, the capital of Lesotho, to observe the Southern African country’s parliamentary elections, scheduled for 26 May, the AU said Tuesday.
AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping, said the deployment of an Electoral Observer Mission (EOM) to Lesotho for the parliamentary elections, was made early to give the mission time to observe the pre-election campaigns.
General Yakubu Gowon, former Nigerian leader, is leading the AU Mission, which is expected to make an independent and impartial observation of the Parliamentary Elections.
The mission arrived in Maseru on 20 May, 2012, where team members witnessed the final campaign rallies ahead of the election.
“On Sunday, despite the cold weather, the Basotho rallied in the streets of Maseru with the colours and slogans of the parties running for the elections in order to gather momentum and support in a tightly-fought battle,” the AU said in a statement Tuesday.
Some 15 parties are contesting the country’s 120 parliamentary seats.
After the 1998 contested elections and the subsequent escalation of violence, on 27 April 2012, the parties have committed to a peaceful electoral process and pledged to abide by the Constitution of Lesotho, the AU said.
“They have also vowed to accept the results of the poll. In this context, the international community and regional organizations, such as SADC, have massively responded to the invitation to observer the electoral process.”
Some 20 members of the mission would be deployed across the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Other team members include members of Parliaments, officials of national electoral bodies, Members of the AU Permanent Representatives Committee (PRC) and members of the African Civil Society.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 22May2012