Mmegi Online :: BCP to take IEC to court?
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Last Updated
Friday 16 November 2018, 13:42 pm.
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BCP to take IEC to court?

The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has threatened to take the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to court over its decision not to grant about 30,000 polling officers a separate day to cast their votes.
By Staff Writer Mon 19 Nov 2018, 07:58 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: BCP to take IEC to court?








In an interview, BCP spokesperson Dumelang Saleshando argued that the move by the IEC to have polling officers vote on the same day as the rest of the public would make it impossible for them to vote and simultaneously attend to polling duties on the day.

Saleshando said that the IEC has even threatened the officers saying they "should choose between voting and executing their official duties" (of conducting elections).

He was alluding to the IEC's announcement that it would not change the date for polling officers to cast their votes.

The officers were expected to vote on September 29, only to have the date postponed to October 16 when everybody will be voting. The IEC explained that there was a printing error when processing ballot papers, hence the postponement.

Yesterday, principal public relations officer Osupile Maroba told Mmegi that the IEC had been in contact with its offices in constituencies and tasked them to establish where polling officers had registered to vote and shuffle them so that they vote at polling stations where they had registered.

"I am not aware of any threat made to polling officers that they must choose between voting and conducting elections. We have 57 constituencies and each has its own

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peculiar issues. So to make such a blanket statement and say that the IEC has threatened officers is unfair and baseless," he said. But Saleshando said as BCP they were considering taking the matter to court very soon.

About 30, 000 polling officers and police officers are expected to conduct Botswana's 2009 general election at 22,800 polling stations spread across the country.

Botswana National Front (BNF) spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa has said that the IEC postponement would disenfranchise polling officers, especially those who registered in constituencies, which are far away from their places of work.

"Say someone was at school in Gaborone and registered there then later went on to work in Selebi-Phikwe and they are supposed to conduct elections in Phikwe.

This means it would be difficult for them to vote and get back to their (polling) stations of work," Mohwasa said.

Meanwhile, the IEC has disclosed that external voting took place on October 3 in 26 external polling stations across the world.

Mpho Maifala, IEC public relations officer, said that High Commissioners and Consular-Generals would return the ballots to Botswana.

The ballots will be presented, he added, at an event that will be attended by the media and political parties and observer missions today.

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