FS political parties commended for peaceful campaigning

FS political parties commended for peaceful campaigning

Political parties in the Free State have been commended for their peaceful campaigning for the 2016 Municipal Elections.
The Independent Electoral Commission’s (IEC) provincial commissioner, Bongani Fica, said he was proud of the province. Fica made this statement during the launch of the IEC’s provincial Results Operation Centre at the Bloemfontein City Hall. He mentioned that political parties in the province have mastered the art of calm campaigning based on ideas and not strength.
“The Free State is the province with political maturity and elections are not about political parties fighting. The elections are not about contesting ideas. I am sure other provinces, like KwaZulu-Natal, look at the Free State Province with envy, because elsewhere lives are lost every time there is an election. The last time I counted, 14 lives had been lost. Those are people who died in the process of being candidates for these elections.”
According to Fica, most killings are linked to the fact that those people were councillor candidates for these elections.
He added that various political parties would have concluded their campaigns and from Monday voters would have started casting their special votes.
The IEC vowed transparency for the local elections and that no operations would be conducted behind closed curtains. Fica explained that the results centre aims to ensure that the elections are run legitimately.
He told those present at the launch that any small issue at various voting stations across the province, would have been dealt with. “The political parties will take issues they have knowledge of at certain voting stations and raise them with the Provincial Executive Officer (PEO) to be resolved immediately. So that whatever goes wrong in the province can be corrected immediately.”
Some representatives from the IEC of Lesotho were in the country at the Free State’s ROC to observe the elections. Fica announced that they were ready to deliver for the local elections and claimed they had started preparing since the end of the national and provincial general elections in 2014.
Meanwhile, the IEC has announced that the local elections’ contests are very fierce, compared to previous elections. Fica revealed that the IEC had the highest number of registered voters, independent candidates and special votes for the elections.
“Contesting these elections has become very fierce. Nobody can be assured of winning these elections. Every political party had to work extra hard in order to secure votes. I hope political parties gave voters space. All parties have had a chance of campaigning and speaking to the public. This week the public had a chance to speak. They could freely choose for themselves who they want to lead their respective municipalities,” he said.
Special votes have been conducted on Monday and Tuesday. Fica emphasised that he was looking forward to a moment where those political parties who have lost, will be able to congratulate those who won the elections.
He pleaded with everyone present at the event to unite and reminded them that those who will be elected, will lead everyone and not only his party’s members. – Refilwe Gaeswe