In Lesotho, Parliamentary elections are scheduled to be held in mid-October 2022. This will be yet another important milestone in the democratic development of this country. Elections give voice to the political will of the people. The right to take part in government directly or through freely chosen representatives is also enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (article 21.1) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights(article 25).
While there are a number of stakeholders that play an important role in contributing to successful, peaceful and credible elections, it is indisputable that political parties and candidates have a vital role. For them, (parties and candidates) elections are a period during which they will have the opportunity to not only reaffirm their interest to contest but also to demonstrate the extent to which they represent and reflect the needs and aspirations of the electorate. Thus, to parties and candidates, elections are the climax of competition between and among the electoral contestants in their efforts to win votes. For the citizenry in general, elections are a moment of taking note of the commitments and promises that are being made. In other words, elections are the foundation of the social contract between the parties and candidates on the one hand and the electorate on the other.
Obviously, such an important democratic exercise needs to take place in an environment that is conducive to all the participating stakeholders and contestants. Most importantly, the electoral contestants themselves, political parties and candidates inclusive need to have a good appreciation in terms of knowledge of, skills about and attitudes towards what it takes for them to meaningfully engage in an electoral process and contribute not only to the holding of credible elections in particular but also to the deepening of democracy in their country in general. In other words, well informed and adequately capacitated political parties are instrumental in ensuring credible electoral processes.
When political parties have an in-depth, comprehensive and shared understanding of the electoral process, the legal framework as well as the roles, mandate and responsibilities not only of themselves but also of other strategic stakeholders such as the electoral management body, they (political parties) become constructive players and partners in these processes. As they deepen their understanding of the electoral processes and all their dimensions, they are also able to individually and/or collectively identify and critically reflect on the likely challenges that will be faced in such processes and to proactively explore ways in which such challenges can be dealt with.
Better informed and well capacitated political parties also tend to be well-positioned to constructively engage with other stakeholders in ensuring a successful electoral process. Finally, it is also expected that having political parties that have a good appreciation of the relevant laws and regulations pertaining to elections and the electoral process is instrumental in ensuring that such key stakeholders are not only compliant in their engagement with and in the electoral process, but they also become champions in ensuring that the electoral process takes place within and is compliant with the given legal frameworks.
It is against this background that Democracy Works Foundation (DWF) within the framework of its Southern Africa Political Parties and Dialogue (SAPP&D) Programme is hosting a three-day workshop (11th -13th May 2022) that seeks to provide
political parties in Lesothowith the platform to better understand the electoral process with the view to ensure meaningful and constructive engagement in this process.
Specifically, the workshop will seek to realize the following objectives:
1) To enhance political parties’ understanding and appreciation of the electoral process and the role they (political parties) can play to ensure both their meaningful and effective engagement as well as their role in contributing to a successful and credible electoral process.
2) To deepen political parties’ knowledge of the relevant electoral legal frameworks that inform and impact their (political parties) participation in the electoral process.
3) To enhance political parties’ knowledge and skills in undertaking issue-based campaign
4) To enhance political parties’ knowledge and skills on the role of political manifestoes in advancing people-centred electioneering
5) To enhance skills and knowledge of political parties with regard to strategic planning for election monitoring from a political party perspective.
This is a cross-party strategic engagement in the electoral process which targets all the political parties that are registered with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
The workshop will be held on a non-residential basis in Maseru at Victory Hall. You are invited to join our Facebook Live Stream on the first day of the workshop starting at 9:30 am Tuesday, 11th May.