Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) legal brains have once again approached and slapped the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), with a demand letter to explain un-accounted duplicates of election registration cards and names scattered around the country.
According to the party President Duma Boko, they have found out that with few days before the polls which are waited with bated breath, there are over 93,000 registration cards which IEC has failed to account for. The registration exercise has attracted around 933 627 voters who are eligible to vote. In the first voter registration, 753 470 registered; the first supplementary garnered 40 738; and the last having attained 139 354. IEC had targeted 1 067 218 million voters to register and used close to P134 million for the exercise.
The latest developments of duplicated names, Boko says it compromises the local elections which observers have always hailed as free and fair. “Rigging might have already started and we are concerned by the care-free manner demonstrated by the IEC,” he said. Already the party says it has sent a letter of concern through their lawyers to IEC over this matter and the election body has conceded that it was a blunder on their side but they have since arrested the situation. But the UDC top echelons are still not convinced and suspect there might be a plan to manipulate the highly anticipated elections.
“We have written to IEC to see the scale of this so that we can assess the numbers and the list and also see if those numbers are still on the voters’ roll or anything. But we have given them a deadline of which it has elapsed but I believe the lawyers will do something about it. It is a massive problem that we are dealing with,” Boko said on Thursday morning. With this “massive problem” facing them, UDC has already assembled a committee led by renowned attorney Dick Bayford, former BDF Commander Lt Gen Gaolathe Galebotswe and former Police Deputy Commissioner Kenny Kapinga. The trio who boast of vast experience in the law field are have been ascribed to the party to assist especially on matters such as this, which needs special attention. At the time of going to press Bayford’s mobile number rang unanswered.
On the other hand the election body through its spokesperson Osupile Maroba has admitted that they have received a plethora of complaints regarding duplicates but said there is no need to worry. “We have received a number of letters including that of UDC,” IEC mouthpiece Osupile Maroba confirmed and added: “Our election management system scan each person once and there is no how you can be registered twice. If it happens that you registered twice our system will pick one area you registered at and that is where you will vote. So if it has happened to some, they should be rest assured because the system will pick only one place so there is no how we can have duplicates in the voters roll.”
But what could be causing this? Maroba responded quickly; “Some people have made transfers which could be the factor. But a lot of party agents and politicians connived with registration clerks and registered people in their absence which is another case. Remember for you to register you should be there in person and produce all the documents needed to avoid incidents where people will now be saying they have registered unknowingly because of politicians and registration clerks.” Maroba says they have a taken a lot of people to task over this issues as they blot the national elections’ image.
UDC CONCERNED BY ELECTIONS INTEGRITY
While the elections institution maintains that the elections will not be compromised anyhow, the main opposition party UDC is not impressed at all. “Look at the ballot boxes from diaspora. They were covered with tapes and labelled by pens. That spoke chaos and they must look good and be protected, it is about integrity of our elections,” Boko observed. As a party after witnessing that eye-sore, there is suspicions within its boardrooms that the worst might be coming their way. “Vote rigging might have started from there and we are concerned by the carefree manner by the IEC,” Boko claimed.
IEC has nonetheless opted the transparency route as this week they invited stakeholders to count the ballot papers. 1,044 registered from the diaspora and more than 700 voted with one spoilt vote. Meanwhile today (Saturday), a total of 24 000 are expected to cast their votes at selected polling station in an advanced polling. Those who will be voting include; police and IEC staff who will be working on the Election Day. “Preparations have been done and we are waiting for the Election Day, those who will be voting today will use mostly district headquarters and some will use polling stations that will be used by the public on Wednesday,” Maroba explained. Remember; three days left before elections.
This week’s Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting held at State House chaired by Party President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi, turned into a ‘boardroom brawl’ with Masisi expressing concerns and accusing central committee members of not adequately shielding him from opposition missiles.
The meeting which was held on Monday this week was to deliberate on a number of agenda items but the President took the moment to tongue lash his inner circle to stop silly PR blunders that are causing more harm than good. The reprimand was mostly directed to party Secretary General Mpho Balopi as well as Chairman of Communications and International Relations sub-committee, Kagelelo Banks Kentse.
It took the intervention of the Permanent Secretary to the President, Elias Magosi to arrest a dispute between the warring Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions (DPP), by instructing the former to hand over the unfinished P100 billion docket to the latter.
But the PSP’s efforts are not enough, the two institutions are back in the boxing ring again following a letter from the DPP inviting the DCEC back into a case they long declared as “hogwash”. A savingram dated 18th January 2021 from the DPP to the DCEC is calling on the DCEC to assist with further evidence in the P100 billion case, but the DCEC which has never hidden its indifference posits that the move by the DPP can be summed up by the expressions: ‘opening healing wounds’.
A fed-up Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) Director General, Tymon Katlholo has come out guns blazing over an order from the Director of the Directorate of Public
Prosecutions (DPP), Stephen Tiroyakgosi instructing the DCEC, to solicit a statement from the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, and ruling party Member of Parliament for Mochudi East, Mabuse Pule, regarding the role he played in the issuance of Whelheminah Maswabi’s intelligence operations passport.