FRANCISTOWN: While some Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) supporters in Francistown South were seemingly disrespectful of the public order act, police did not want to act heavily on the over-excited voters in Francistown South. A senior police officer who spoke to The Monitor on condition of anonymity because he did not want to be quoted on election matters, said that they were fairly concerned by the conduct of mainly UDC youth.
"We however, did not want to appear to be heavy handed on the supporters especially as it was election time. We gave them time to rejoice because we felt it was temporary but we were also careful with them in order to make sure that they did not act in a manner extremely undesirable,” said another senior police officer yesterday, who also did not want to be identified.
Kutlwano Police Station commander Superintendent Letsholathebe Mothibi could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone rang unanswered yesterday.
Despite the UDC youth faltering in the other two Francistown constituencies, there was much activity in Francistown South where the UDC’s incumbent Wynter Mmolotsi was the victor. On Saturday evening, as it increasingly became clear that Mmolotsi would win his supporters barricaded the road passing in front of the Chedu Choga hall where the counting was taking place.
The supporters, clad in party colours were visible outside the counting venue since Friday evening and they remained there the whole day on Saturday until the final results were released Saturday evening.
Unlike ay other polling stations in the city which were relatively calm there were dozens of police officers deployed to control the excited crowd and traffic in the South. However, the supporters continued with their antics.
Supporters also criss-crossed the road in the vicinity of the polling station while drinking alcohol.
The jubilant supporters chanted anti- Sylvia Muzila slogans. They sang a song about Muzila: “Ga re batle Mma Muzila re batla Wynter hela, ”she said. Mmolotsi contested against the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s Muzila and Vain Mamela of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) in the parliamentary race.
There were few negative incidents experienced by voters at this year’s general
The Monitor has received unconfirmed reports suggesting that two people eligible to vote failed to exercise their rights because their names reportedly were missing from the voters’ roll. Osupile Maroba Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) spokesperson would not shed light on the matter saying that he was yet to get a report from officers in the north.
BCP election loser in Francistown West Dr Habaudi Hobona said that she met one of the people who was rejected at the polling station though she said that she was not privy to more information as to why the voters were rejected. At Selepa Secondary School in Francistown-East two voters were also nearly rejected after their names did not appear in the voters roll,while their voting cards showed that they registered to vote at the polling station according to the returning officer Malebogo Tsiane.
IEC later rectified the situation and the duo voted. It is not clear if the voters at Mmei later voted or not. Maroba said that although he is not conversant with the situation in Francistown East some factors may lead to omission of voters in the voters’ roll.
“Voters’ rolls for each polling station are marked with codes and when the codes are not accurately recorded in the roll after registration of voters then they can cause omission of an individual.
“However, voting cards also have an accurate code issued during registration which allows the IEC to correct the situation and make a provision for the affected voters to vote,” he said yesterday. He also said that he can only comment further on election in Francistown after a full report is submitted by the officers.