With few days leading to the 2019 General Elections, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has this week revealed that the polls walloped the government coffers a whopping 338 million pula. The money was spent between the first registration starting period on the 3rd September 2018 until the impending Election Day on the 23rd October 2019.
Weekend Post has established that the multimillion cost for the election project covers general preparations for election, voter registration and succeeding supplementary registration(s), engaging of a company for printing the ballot papers, registration and the just ended election process for citizens in the diaspora. It also includes all procurement processes of stationery, recruitment of polling stuff, and payment of the stuff, registration and election publicity material, election cars maintenance and fuel, printing of voters roll and distribution and so forth.
Speaking to Weekend Post this week IEC Spokesperson Osupile Maroba confirmed the funds stating that the multimillion expensive election money was accordingly budgeted for. “We have spent about P338, 321, 000.00 for the election project which commenced with voter registration up until elections…and that was duly budgeted for and availed,” he explained. According to the IEC mouthpiece, the election projects funds spending have commenced during the registration exercise and will drag up to the release of the results next week after the polling day.
He pointed out: “this is the amount that was set aside to conduct the 2019 General Elections.” Maroba also highlighted that sometimes as IEC they underspend and sometimes they overspend while stressing that it’s normal. Meanwhile local reports indicate that earlier this year that the IEC is said to have put aside close to 500 million pula budget for 2019 general elections. Part of the costs it said included voter registration and fluctuation of prices for services, which might happen during the elections adding that other costs include advertising, voter education and staff transport among others.
In the last election year, Parliament approved the IEC budget estimates of over P154 million for the 2014/2015 financial year. The number grew almost by double in the 2019 General Elections due to many factors key among them being the increase of polling stations and population increase. For 2016/17 financial year, parliament approved 70.5 million pula budget. The budget was proposed by the then Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Mr Dikgang Makgalemele, who said it entails P55.7 million recurrent estimates and P14, 9million development estimates.
He told parliament then that P11.7 million from the development budget was to be spent on construction of IEC offices in Tutume, while P1.5 million was to be used for the then controversial electronic voting machines (EVM”s) benchmarking. IEC is responsible for the conduct and supervision of the elected members of the National Assembly and members of a local authority, including conduct of referendum. The Electoral Commission also ensures that elections are conducted efficiently, properly, freely and fairly.
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.