Controversy continues to haunt Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primary elections dubbed Bulela-Ditswe in local lingo, as yet again there are fears of compromised elections next week Saturday.
Candidates in most of the constituencies that will go to the polls next week have expressed concern that the party might not deliver credible elections as the party leadership promised during a consultative meeting with candidates in Palapye last weekend. It has since emerged that the first date set for verification of voters’ roll has been missed as voters’ rolls failed to reach constituencies by the set date of Wednesday this week (the 15th August 2018).
Voters’ rolls were to be dispatched to the 40 constituencies for verification and be returned to the party head-office today (Friday 17th August 2018). After being returned to head-office the party’s National Electoral Board was expected to carry out an audit to ascertain that everything is in order.
“If we get the voters’ rolls a day later how are we expected to be able to have finished the process of verification and have the rolls returned? Remember this is not an easy process because there has to be names that are to be added and those that have to be removed from the voters’ rolls.
It means just running through the process with no vigorous scrutiny as should be the case because these are final voters’ rolls that would be used for voting on the 25th of August 2018,” said one of the Parliamentary candidates who preferred anonymity. Sources have indicated that the party should have secured a date later in November this year or next year between January and March.
The candidates believe the time that the party has put for itself after the postponement is too close while there is too much work that needs to be attended to. They have opined that what was announced at the Palapye meeting would not be achieved and the party would be in chaos due to compromised elections. Some within the party have also predicted a lot of court cases post the primaries. Over a thousand candidates for both Parliament and council seats are expected to tussle it out next week and each wants the playing field to be level.
BDP Secretary General, Mpho Balopi has indicated that they are ready to deliver credible elections. He said the party is working round the clock to ensure that all the set out deadlines are met. He stated that most of the problems raised by candidates would be addressed through resolutions that were taken during the meeting at Majestic Five in Palapye.
“We have decided that people who appear in the voters’ roll but do not have membership cards would be allowed to vote using Omang. This is because the number in the Omang card is the same that appears in the membership card. We have also set up our polling station in such a way that a person would not be able to vote more than once which is why we have also introduced the use of ink for the voters,” Balopi pointed out.
Balopi revealed that the Central Committee and Electoral Board has resolved that Political Education and Elections Committee and a special team will be assigned to attend unresolved complaints.