After several exchanges of letters between the Government of Botswana and the Botswana Congress party (BCP) in connection with the legality of using the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the next general elections, government still insists BCP is just confused and that the machine is valid – because it is temper proof.
President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama had last year signed into law the Electoral Bill which seeks to introduce electronic voting through EVMs. BCP then took the matter before Francistown Judge Lot Moroka. They filed an application which granted them permission to bring an expert who can prove that EVMs are gadgets that can be easily tampered with.
In December, BCP Secretary General, Kentse Rammidi wrote a declaration to the effect that the matter is of a technical nature as it involves the subject of EVMs which is based on computer technology. He said they therefore endeavor to call an expert in the field.
“EVM are programmable devices which can be programmed with malicious coded viruses such as trogon horses and time bombs, and susceptible to hacking, and therefore would violate the voters and our constitutional rights to efficient, proper, free and fair elections which is a coronary to the fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual right guaranteed by Section 12, 13 and 67 of the Constitution,” stated Rammidi in his declaration.
WeekendPost is in possession of a recent affidavit by the Minister of Presidential Affairs, Government and Public Administration Eric Molale dismissing Rammidi’s claims and asserting that the machine is authentic. Molale was confirming the averments by an expert in India currently working as an Information Technology Consult and a software Developer for Immortal Solutions, Anjali Sharma. In her affidavit in support of the government, the expert stated that the Indian EVM is a stand-alone, non-networked based machine.
“It is a one-timer programmable machine which is not computer controlled or connected to the internet. At no point does the EVM receive signals from outside either by wireless, Bluetooth, WI-FI, or any other internet based medium, as the control unit does not have any radio frequency receiver or data decoder,” sated the expert. “Furthermore, the software used is burnt into a one-time chip to avoid alteration or physical tempering.” It is further the expert’s contention that the Indian EVM is temper proof and cannot be hacked.
Confirming the expert’s contention, Molale sated in his affidavit that, “I confirm the correctness of the averments of Sharma and fully associate myself with the contents therein,” said Molale and continued that, “I deny each and every material allegation contained in the affidavit of Rammidi and put him to the strictest proof thereof. BCP’s action is without merit and should be dismissed with cost.” In the last communiqué from the parties dated December 19, BCP wrote back demanding better statements and further particulars of the said manufacturers of the machine in India.
In the last Parliamentary seating the government passed the law that introduced Voter Verified Audit Paper Trail (VV PAT). This means there has to be receipts and or papers when voting, which receipts can be used in cases one protests the outcome. The receipts would be taken and counted physically to see if they tally with numbers on the machine. This means, should the government win the case and continue with the use of the machine next year, they will have to now add the purchase of the VV PAT as they had not included it in the initial budget.
The cost of all the 2000 machines that are expected to be used nationwide is P100 million. Botswana will need a total of 2000 machines to cover all constituencies as each machine can accept about 500 votes. Meanwhile, WeekendPost is also alive to reports that the intention of the government was to test the machine in question in the Moshupa-Manyana bye-election. Sources close to the case also suggest that government is worried at the pace the case is moving with.
Should the case drag for a long time, it will be impossible for the purchase and use of machines as government still have to educate people on using it. While the case is still dragging before the court with several exchange of letters, the IEC has set September 03 to November 11 as registration period.
Government is represented by Deputy Government Attorney Matlhogonolo Phuthego while BCP is represented by Gabriel Komboni.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.
The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.
The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.
This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.
The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.
Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.