Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has revealed that more than 1500 objections have been lodged with the Electoral Commission in the 2019 General Elections campaign. It is the highest number of objections since 1965 National Elections.
Some objections led to court including the famous case brought by John Siele against opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader and Gaborone Bonnington North Duma Boko. There were also objections lodged against the Alliance for Progressive (AP) leader and Gaborone Bonnington South contender Ndaba Gaolathe, as well as Gaborone North former legislator and candidate Haskins Nkaigwa, amongst others.
The objections are said to be more than the 1500 as the number only includes one general voters roll and on the other hand, some chickened out because of the tedious court process. IEC Spokesperson confirmed to Boko that: “we received the highest number of objections for the voters roll in this election.” He added that they were even higher than in 2014 as the 1500 encompassed only one 1 roll, alone. “This does not include the other two rolls which obviously will increase the number,” Maroba maintained.
In 2014, Maroba explained that the three rolls registered around only 700 objections. “So this is a sign that Batswana now understand democracy and want to protect its credibility and so they want to challenge anybody who they feel may want to destroy the free and fair elections,” he pointed out. According to Maroba, some of the objectors however chickened out because of the process of objecting in a court of law and whereby you sit in the dock defending your case which some are not comfortable with.
Is IEC ready to conduct the 2019 elections?
In terms of the Electoral Commission’s readiness, Maroba said the IEC is ready to conduct a credible and successful elections. “We are very ready, we are more than ready. We are ready in the sense that when we talk about the implementation of the Electoral law, there is nowhere we feel that we are behind the established frame work of the phases of electoral process,” he justified. Everything is on track, he stressed that adding that as you know, we conduct elections in accordance with the time frame as provided by the constitution.
“We have gone through all the exercises of registering voters; and we are satisfied after the voters’ rolls have been inspected, and followed by the objections from the public.” As mandated by the constitution, Maroba observed that the Electoral Act orders that all the election rolls must be reconciled to one big voters roll following the issuance of writ. Before that, the coming weekend after the expiry of 20 days after writ, there will be nomination of the Presidents, conducted by the Chief Justice of the High Court. Afterwards, 10 days later, there will be a nomination of the Members of Parliament and Councillors conducted by IEC. The Electoral Commission has also identified 26 000 Polling Officers which we are currently undergoing training.
SA Company to print the ballot papers
The IEC spokesperson also highlighted that once the IEC has received the names for everyone from all political parties, voting colours and symbols, they will then print ballot papers. “So, the emphases of our readiness is also that we already have a company from South Africa (he did not mention the name) who will be printing the ballot papers for the election,” he said.
It is understood that the company in question had printed papers for other countries elections like Malawi and Zambia. Meanwhile, the IEC also revealed that they are receiving observers, free missions, who will come and appreciate to see what is happening with the elections’ and see if we are prepared to carry out the elections especially international observer groups like African Union, SADC.
Former Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Member of Parliament for Gaborone North, Haskins Nkaigwa has confirmed his departure from opposition fold to re-join the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).
Nkaigwa said opposition is extremely divided and the leadership not in talking terms. “They are planning evil against each other. Nothing much will be achieved,” Nkaigwa told WeekendPost.
“I believe my time in the opposition has come to an end. It’s time to be of value to rebuilding our nation and economy of the country. Remember the BDP is where I started my political journey. It is home,” he said.
“Despite all challenges currently facing the world, President Masisi will be far with his promises to Batswana. A leader always have the interest of the people at heart despite how some decisions may look to be unpopular with the people.
“I have faith and full confidence in President Dr Masisi leadership. We shall overcome as party and nation the current challenges bedevilling nations. BDP will emerge stronger. President Masisi will always have my backing.”
Nkaigwa served as opposition legislator between 2014-2019 representing Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) under UDC banner. He joined BMD in 2011 at the height public servant strike whilst Gaborone City Deputy Mayor. He eventually rose to become the mayor same year, after BDP lost majority in the GCC.
Nkaigwa had been a member of Botswana National Front (BNF), having joined from Alliance for Progressives (AP) in 2019.
Botswana has received assistance worth over P100 million from Japanese government since 2019, making the latter of the largest donors to Botswana in recent years.
The assistance include relatively large-scale grant aid programmes such as the COVID-19 programme (to provide medical equipment; P34 million), the digital terrestrial television programme (to distribute receivers to the underprivileged, P17 million), the agriculture promotion programme (to provide agricultural machinery and equipment, P53million).
“As 2020 was a particularly difficult year, where COVID-19 hit Botswana’s economy and society hard, Japan felt the need to assist Botswana as our friend,” said Japan’s new Ambassador to Botswana, Hoshiyama Takashi.
“It is for this reason that grants of over P100 million were awarded to Botswana for the above mentioned projects.”
Japan is now the world’s fourth highest ranking donor country in terms of Official Development Assistance (ODA).
From 1991 to 2000, Japan continued as the top donor country in the world and contributed to Asia’s miracle economic development.
From 1993 onwards, the TICAD process commenced through Japan’s initiative as stated earlier. Japan’s main contribution has been in the form of Yen Loans, which are at a concessional rate, to suit large scale infrastructure construction.
“In Botswana, only a few projects have been implemented using the Yen Loan such as the Morupule “A” Power Station Rehabilitation and Pollution Abatement in 1986, the Railway Rolling Stock Increase Project in 1987, the Trans-Kalahari Road Construction Project in 1991, the North-South Carrier Water Project in 1995 and the Kazungula Bridge Construction Project in 2012,” said Ambassador Hoshiyama.
“In terms of grant aid and technical assistance, Japan has various aid schemes including development survey and master planning, expert dispatch to recipient countries, expert training in Japan, scholarships, small scale grass-roots program, culture-related assistance, aid through international organizations and so on.”
In 1993, Japan launched Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) to promote Africa’s development, peace and security, through the strengthening of relations in multilateral cooperation and partnership.
TICAD discuss development issues across Africa and, at the same time, present “aid menus” to African countries provided by Japan and the main aid-related international organizations, United Nations (UN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the World Bank.
“As TICAD provides vision and guidance, it is up to each African country to take ownership and to implement her own development following TICAD polices and make use of the programmes shown in the aid menus,” Ambassordor Hoshiyama noted.
“This would include using ODA loans for quality infrastructure, suited to the country’s own nation-building needs. It is my fervent hope that Botswana will take full advantage of the TICAD process.”
Since then, seven conferences where held, the latest, TICAD 7 being in 2019 at Yokohama. TICAD 7’s agenda on African development focused on three pillars, among them the first pillar being “Accelerating economic transformation and improving business environment through innovation and private sector engagement”.
“Yes, private investment is very important, while public investment through ODA (Official Development Assistance) still plays an indispensable role in development,” the Japanese Ambassador said.
“For further economic development in Africa, Japan recognizes that strengthening regional connectivity and integration through investment in quality infrastructure is key.”
Japan has emphasized the following; effective implementation of economic corridors such as the East Africa Northern Corridor, Nacala Corridor and West Africa Growth Ring; Quality infrastructure investment in line with the G20 Principles for Quality Infrastructure Investment should be promoted by co-financing or cooperation through the African Development Bank (AfDB) and Japan.
Japan also emphasized the establishment of mechanisms to encourage private investment and to improve the business environment.
According to the statistics issued by Japan’s Finance Ministry, Japan invested approximately 10 billion US dollars in Africa after TICAD 7 (2019) to year end 2020, but Japanese investment through third countries are not included in this figure.
“With the other points factored in, the figure isn’t established yet,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
The next conference, TICAD 8 will be held in Tunisia in 2022. This will be the second TICAD summit to be held on the African continent after TICAD 6 which was held in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2016.
According to Ambassador Hoshiyama, in preparation for TICAD 8, the TICAD ministerial meeting will be held in Tokyo this year. The agenda to be discussed during TICAD 8 has not yet been fully deliberated on amongst TICAD Co-organizers (Japan, UN, UNDP, the World Bank and AU).
“Though not officially concluded, given the world situation caused by COVID-19, I believe that TICAD 8 will highlight health and medical issues including the promotion of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC),” said Hoshiyama.
“As the African economy has seriously taken a knock by COVID-19, economic issues, including debt, could be an item for serious discussion.”
The promotion of business is expected to be one of the most important topics. Japan and its partners, together with the business sector, will work closely to help revitalize private investment in Africa.
“All in all, the follow-up of the various programs that were committed by the Co-Organizers during the Yokohama Plan of Actions 2019 will also be reviewed as an important item of the agenda,” Ambassador Hoshiyama said.
“I believe that this TICAD follow-up mechanism has secured transparency and accountability as well as effective implementation of agreed actions by all parties. The guiding principle of TICAD is African ownership and international partnership.”
Directorate on Intelligence Services (DIS) Director General, Brigadier Peter Magosi is said to be hell-bent and pushing President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet as a matter of urgency since a number of his ministers are conflicted.
The request by Magosi comes at a time when time is ticking on his contract which is awaiting renewal from Masisi.
This publication learns that Magosi is unshaken by the development and continues to wield power despite uncertainty hovering around his contractual renewal.