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Lesotho’s Independent Electoral Commission, INEC To Share Technical Expertise

Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu (3rd right), Director of Elections, Independent Election Commission (IEC) of the Kingdom of Lesotho, Dr. Letholetseny Austeria Ntsike (2nd right) with members of the IEC delegation and the Commission after a formal ceremony to welcome the visitors on 23rd April in Abuja. PHOTO: AYODELE SUNDAY

By Nathaniel Gana

23rd April, 2017

 The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is to share its technical expertise with a delegation from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of the Kingdom of Lesotho, which arrived in Abuja at the weekend to understudy INEC’s processes and procedures, with particular focus on the Strategic Plan.

Chairman of the Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu made the disclosure on 23rd April, when he received the delegation at the Commission’s headquarters in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

According to the IEC’s Director of Elections, Dr. Letholetseny Austeria Ntsike who also led the delegation, INEC was chosen for the study tour because of its most recent successes, relevant experience and diverse perspectives.

She said: “We could have gone somewhere else, but we chose INEC for a reason. We thought INEC would be an ideal knowledge provider because of its most recent success, relevant experience and diverse experiences. We thought of the familiarity in culture and the institutional context of independence that both of our organizations share. We are expecting information from INEC and we look forward to interacting with members of staff of the Commission. There will be discussions, presentations, analytical activities so that we can go back very much learned.”

Prof Yakubu assured the visitors of full access to all documents and staff of the Commission relevant to the purpose of their visit.

He said: “Over the next four days, I want to assure you that you will interact with all the relevant staff responsible for the formulation of the last Strategic Plan. We’ll make all the documents available to you and we’ll share experience with you on the validation processes that led to the conclusion of the Strategic Plan and the Strategic Programme of Action. Beyond that, we’ll also share with you, our experience in formulating our Election Project Plan, developed from the Strategic Plan and the Strategic Programme of Action.”

Underscoring the importance of the study visit, Prof. Yakubu observed that elections were no longer matters of a guesswork, just as he insisted that Election Management Bodies (EMBs) must prepare for elections as a matter of course and strategy. He explained that the Commission developed its Election Project Plan for the last cycle and beyond, leading up to the formulation of the second Strategic Plan in 2016, covering 2017 to 2021.

He averred that as a result of the plan, the Commission could determine when elections would take place in the foreseeable future, working on the principle that the general election would hold on the third Saturday of the month of February of the election year.

Prof Yakubu also gave an insight into how the study tour was planned.  His words: “Early this month, we had a major conference on the Use of Technology in Elections in Africa and we had representations from Electoral Commissions drawn from the West and Southern African sub-regions. Nigeria hosted the conference. Included in the publications given to participants were copies of our Strategic Plan and Strategic Programme of Action.

“At the conference, which was intended to share experiences with other countries, the representative of the Independent Electoral Commission of Lesotho approached me to ask if Nigeria would be willing to host a team from the Electoral Commission of Lesotho, basically to understudy our Strategic Plan, learn and share experience with Nigeria and how the Kingdom of Lesotho can also produce a Strategic Plan for elections. I wholehearted, willingly immediately accepted and there and then, we decided on a date.”

Other members of the delegation include: Mrs. Lydia Macheli, Mr. Motanyane Rampeta, Ms. Hloele Phafoli, and Mrs. Maphello Nkopane.

Director of Elections, Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) of Lesotho, Dr. Letholetseny Austeria Ntsike (left) presents a gift to the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu during the ceremony.