An independent parliamentary candidate for Gaborone Bonnington North has urged registered youth to stay home on polling day as a protest over the unfair treatment of the above candidate by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
Narrating his ordeal after he could not submit his name for election in the constituency, Poloko Pitwane, 23, said IEC worked with the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to sabotage him. Pitwane leads a group of young people who do not take political sides. “We started at 12 noon on Thursday at Bonnington North offices. But there was no officer in the field.
We were asked to go to Revenue Office Block 3. They had nothing to do with us,” said the youthful politician. By the time they managed to pay the P500 registration fee, it was already too late. He has registered around 4300 youth and they will not go to the polling booth, he said. “The vote stays with us because there is no candidate to vote,” he said. IEC spokesperson, Otsile Maroba said he has not received Pitwane’s complaint. “Last month we held meetings with independent candidates about nomination process and told them to read section 35, 36 and 37 of the Electoral Act,” he said.
“I only know about two incidents from Molepolole and Mahalapye and we have resolved them,” said Maroba. But Martin Saddam Moagi - also a member of the group - believes that Pitwane betrayed them when he agreed to withdraw his candidature to give way for Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader, Duma Boko. He said Pitwane met Boko last week Wednesday and betrayed the Youth Need a Voice Movement. In return, Moagi told Botswana Guardian that Pitwane was promised a lucrative position in the new government if the UDC takes power after October 24.
A source who did not want to be identified said Pitwane was also offered unspecified amount of money by the UDC, but the youthful politician has rubbished all allegations about plans to make way for Boko. Boko’s campaign manager, Dr Dama Mosweunyane said his party and president do not have money to purchase individuals. “Even if we were to buy someone we could not do with him because he is not a threat to us. He should not blame anyone for his problems. He failed to read the Act,” said Dr Mosweunyane. Boko was not available for comment at press time.