A South African forensic investigator has called for a re-run of Botswana 2019 elections following rigging claims. Speaking in Johannesburg, South Africa during a press briefing the investigator Paul O’ Sullivan advised Botswana opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader Duma Boko to carry an independent audit of the just ended elections.
“Our recommendations to Advocate Boko is that there needs to be a proper independent audit of the elections and it needs to be formed urgently,” he stated. He cautioned that the audit itself should be properly overseen by an independent body, somebody that has no interest in the outcome of the audit. “We saying if our findings are confirmed by the audit, and we expect the findings to be confirmed by the audit, the results of the elections should be nullified and criminal charges preferred against the leadership of the BDP for engaging in election rigging,” the auditor pointed out.
He insisted that the new elections should then take place with a proper oversight and the full use of electoral voting paint at all stations. Apart from the leadership of the BDP, Sullivan observed that there were other persons involved like the DISS and they need to be investigated to see what role they played, how he cash was withdrawn, and moved, and criminal sanctions should be applied against all of them, and those involved in vote rigging process should be allowed to participate in a new election that will replace the outcome of the existing election results.
“This should be all proven by an independent audit if what’s gone on in Botswana and we are hoping of this investigation and the court cases which Boko is launching today,” he added. According to the auditor, the cases will force the hand of the government and perhaps the citizens of the country who were involved in assisting in vote rigging to take a leave out of the book of the witnesses that were involved to come forward to confess that they realised what they have been involved in and that it was wrong and needs to be rectified.
Meanwhile when asked by an SA journalist if rigging only took place in constituencies that the UDC have lost and not others, UDC President Duma Boko said rigging took place in all the constituencies even those that his party won. “There was rigging right across Botswana. It differed only in scale. In certain instances there seems to have been a pattern which was to target certain constituencies mainly in southern parts of the country. Even though there was rigging in other constituencies it was not as massive as what took place in the other areas. And so in those constituencies where we won, we won in spite of the rigging, and the irregularities that were in those constituencies,” he said.
According to the former Gaborone Bonnington North legislator, in the areas where the UDC lost, it was outrageous and shocking. “Areas where the BDP had lost consistently over the years and all of a sudden the margin were 7 000. It’s an outrageous outcome, where the opposition has controlled the majority of Councils seats and the BDP suddenly wins all the Council seats with astonishing margins. There is something seriously wrong here. So, we say in a word that there was massive rigging in the Southern parts of the country but that rigging was all over the country,” Boko insisted.
When the same journalist asked Boko why are he is holding the press conference in South Africa and not Botswana he said the team doing forensic is based in the country so it was easier to do the presser on their side. “Firstly is because the forensic team, the team that was doing the investigations is based here in SA. The second is we could not bring them over to Botswana because of the over bearing involvement of the DISS – these are the law unto themselves in Botswana – they can arrest for any and no reason, and detain at will,” he justified.
And so, he added, “when you are dealing with a rogue institution that gets in matters that do not concern it, that deserves the institution of by law they are supposed to be operating in particular spaces then you have a situation where you can’t take chances. We can’t expose our team at this stage, to harassment.”
Boko also attacked the media of being captured
The third point why he held a press conference in SA, he said is, in the lead up to elections, they saw that the BDP in addition to purchasing and deploying cash to buy voters, had also bought the press. “Some of the main publications in Botswana, the Sunday Standard, a Sunday newspaper has been at the fore front of running a smear campaign against me in particular and the opposition in general,” he observed.
The UDC leader also mentioned that no paper has been printing Public Relations front for the BDP like another newspaper called The Patriot on Sunday newspaper which was also involved in the matter. “So when you invite a captured Press in a small country like Botswana and you want them to tell your story, in fact you want them to tell this story, not necessarily your story but report accurately and fairly, if you expect to get some of these reports from the publications, then your expectations are terribly misplaced,” he maintained.
So the ex-leader of opposition stressed that it’s better to deal with press that they believe is ethically, untainted and uncompromised and uncaptured as they expect them to tell the story as accurately as they can and not to favour anybody but to speak the truth. “And we cannot expect that from the bulk of the press in Botswana,” he emphasized. Following Boko’s comment, the forensic auditor Sullivan also added that Botswana, for it to be able to address the world, is very unlikely as they may not get the amount of attention needed on this hence why they opted for SA presser.
He also revealed that “I can also inform you as a results of what we found, we have already notified of our government, the SA government, I have already had meetings and I have passed the documentation to the government to be aware of the fact that our neighbour is being run by an illegitimate government.”
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.