Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has not yet set a target for the number of eligible voters to register next year.
IEC has set between September and November next year for the registration for the 2019 general election. IEC Principal Public Relations Officer Osupile Maroba told this publication that the secretariat is yet to meet and discuss the issue and other related matters. Owing to the new amendment to the Electoral Act, there will not be supplementary registration as it has been the norm, a development that opposition parties have roundly condemned, arguing that it would disenfranchise many Batswana who could not register earlier. The IEC announced that it would conduct registration from September 3 to November 11, 2018 for those eligible to vote in the 2019 general election.
The Commission said the decision to call for registration was largely due to the amendment of the Electoral Act, which deleted Section 8 of the Electoral Act. Section 8 of the Electoral Act provided for supplementary and continuous registration of voters. Maroba said the IEC would have to consider the voting population when it set itself the target.“This would inform us what could be the possible number for us to register. The Secretariat would have to come up with an Implementation Plan which informs them on how to handle the registration process”, he stated.
Maroba also revealed that as for campaigns to sensitise the public, this would have to be dealt with next year. Maroba said this is because the cost has to be included in the Commission’s budget which would be availed next year. He explained that the IEC would kick-start the campaigns once they have been budgeted in the next financial year.
He expressed hope that even though supplementary and continuous registration has been discontinued in line with the amended Act, the Commission would be able to register as many eligible voters as possible.
In the build-up to the 2014 general election IEC set a target of 1.2 million eligible voters to be registered, a number that could not be realised.