Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee and Electoral Board failed Bulela Ditswe candidates in the primaries that were held this past weekend, Botswana Guardian can reveal.The BDP conducted primaries in 40 constituencies where over 1000 candidates participated.
The publication has discovered that even though the central committee and Electoral Board promised to deliver a credible election during the 11th August 2018 Palapye consultative meeting, it was a different story on the ground when primaries were finally conducted.
Prior to the Palapye meeting there were complaints about the voters’ rolls.
Names of voters were missing while others had their names moved from their polling stations to others. Some of the people were not in the voters’ roll even though they had proof that they have registered.BDP Secretary General Mpho Balopi told the Palapye meeting and subsequently a press conference on that day that they together with the Electoral Board would ensure that all the outstanding issues would have been resolved by the time the primary elections are held.
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 stations 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. So through the assessing of complaints, we have discovered that some of them would be addressed by these decisions,” Balopi pointed out.
Balopi revealed that complaints that would not be addressed through these resolutions the Central Committee and Electoral Board had resolved that Political Education and Elections Committee and a special team would be assigned to those constituencies. “No one would be sidelined and we will ensure free and fair elections,” posited Balopi. An observation by this publication during the primaries has proved that the party leadership failed dismally to do what it had committed to do.
Final voters’ rolls that were used during voting still came with some names missing. Some people who had proof that they have registered were denied to vote because they did not appear in the voters’ rolls. This proved to be a difficult exercise as candidates and polling agents had different stories to tell to one another.
Some candidates were explaining what was communicated during the Palapye meeting while the polling agents indicated that they have been instructed to work within the limits of what they have been mandated to do which was to ensure that only people in the voters’ rolls should be allowed to vote.
This has culminated in most of the candidates - both council and Parliamentary - indicating that they do not accept the outcome of the elections. They argue that there were irregularities in the conduct of the elections. The most affected are those who were incumbent for council and parliament where others were ministers.
BDP Electoral Board Chairman Peter Siele told this publication in an interview that he could not comment on the matter because his committee is still compiling reports from returning officers on the elections. He said his committee which is the sub-committee of the party Central Committee was scheduled to meet yesterday (Thursday) in the morning to make final scrutiny on the report.
“After looking at reports from returning officers we would then look at other issues that have been raised and come up with our report as the committee. After doing that we would then meet with party Chairman who is also Vice President Slumber Tsogwane and map a way forward. Until then there is nothing tangible that could be shared at this point,” said Siele.