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.
Botswana Police Service (BPS) has indicated concern about the ongoing trend where the general public falls victim to criminals purporting to be police officers.
According to BPS Assistant Commissioner, Dipheko Motube, the criminals target individuals at shopping malls and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) where upon approaching the unsuspecting individual the criminals would pretend to have picked a substantial amount of money and they would make a proposal to the victims that the money is counted and shared in an isolated place.
“On the way, as they stop at the isolated place, they would start to count and sharing of the money, a criminal syndicate claiming to be Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officer investigating a case of stolen money will approach them,” said Motube in a statement.
The Commissioner indicated that the fake police officers would instruct the victims to hand over all the cash they have in their possession, including bank cards and Personal Identification Number (PIN), the perpetrators would then proceed to withdraw money from the victim’s bank account.
Motube also revealed that they are also investigating a case in which a 69 year old Motswana woman from Molepolole- who is a victim of the scam- lost over P62 000 last week Friday to the said perpetrators.
“The Criminal syndicate introduced themselves as CID officers investigating a case of robbery where a man accompanying the woman was the suspect.’’
They subsequently went to the woman’s place and took cash amounting to over P12 000 and further swindled amount of P50 000 from the woman’s bank account under the pretext of the further investigations.
In addition, Motube said they are currently investigating the matter and therefore warned the public to be vigilant of such characters and further reminds the public that no police officer would ask for bank cards and PINs during the investigations.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) leadership walked out of Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting this week on account of being targeted by other cooperating partners.
UDC meet for the first time since 2020 after previous futile attempts, but the meeting turned into a circus after other members of the executive pushed for BCP to explain its role in media statements that disparate either UDC and/or contracting parties.
The Director General of the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crimes (DCEC), Tymon Katlholo’s spirited fight against the contentious transfers of his management team has forced the Office of the President to rescind the controversial decision. However, some insiders suggest that the reversal of the transfers may have left some interested parties with bruised egos and nursing red wounds.
The transfers were seen by observers as a badly calculated move to emasculate the DCEC which is seen as defiant against certain objectionable objectives by certain law enforcement agencies – who are proven decisionists with very little regard for the law and principle.