Mmegi Online :: Gaborone Central rejects EVM
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Last Updated
Friday 22 September 2017, 15:45 pm.
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Gaborone Central rejects EVM

Gaborone Central community members have told the coordinator of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM), Gabriel Seeletso that they categorically reject the machine.
By Nnasaretha Kgamanyane Wed 29 Mar 2017, 18:00 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Gaborone Central rejects EVM








Naledi Akambakamba of Gaborone Central spelt it out to Seeletso, saying she  was not happy with the fact that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and Government did not conduct a referendum to know how Batswana felt about the EVM before deciding to purchase it.

“I am not accepting the use of this machine. I would consider accepting it if it had paper trail or a slip that would show which party I have elected.  That way, I can be able to use it as evidence when I feel like I have been robbed my vote,” she said.

She asked Seeletso to tell the gathering if the EVM was used in Indian elections where it was manufactured and bought.  She also asked him to state the number of countries using that machine.  Kennedy Mbaiwa said he did not understand why the Government and IEC saw it urgent to bring the machine into the country.

He said the community had not had any queries on the use of ballot papers. He asked how party observers would monitor elections as they would not be sure if votes had been rigged or not. 

“My greatest concern is this machine.  I believe you had not done enough to consult us.  As voters we have the right to be informed about things that affect us before making such drastic decisions. 

We have no clue or any knowledge about that machine or even how to use it,” Gloria Joseph, who stays in Notwane ward said. She also asked why the Government did not conduct a referendum before tabling the amendment in Parliament, as it did when it was reducing the voting age from 21 to 18 years in the previous years. She urged the Government to pull back on the amendment, as Batswana were not ready for the EVM. 

Thato Mokawana said he did not want the EVM. He explained that the machine was going to bring conflict to the nation. He further asked if the IEC had done enough to inform, advise and give Government recommendations about that machine. 

“I doubt that the IEC is independent as it claims to be. If it were, it would not take orders from the Government. I believe that Seeletso is being sent to do a very dangerous job that could put his life in danger. You are not giving us concrete answers about the authenticity of this machine. How are we

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supposed to trust you and your team? 

What if the Government or any political party decides to rig votes?” Ephraim Matengane asked.  The residents also complained of the national television station’s failure to cover their meeting, saying that the Government knew that they were going to reject the EVM. 

They said that it was not fair as the whole country had the right to know how they felt about that election machine.  

They also wanted to know the price of each machine suggesting that the Government must spend the money meant to buy the machines on developmental projects such as building roads and streetlights. However, there were people who welcomed the electoral machine with open arms.

They suggested that the Government must give intensive education on the use of the machine. Responding to this, Seeletso assured the gathering that the machine would be reliable and easy to use.

He said it would not depend on internet or electricity, as it will be using special batteries. He said the public and community leaders such as dikgosi, councillors and Members of Parliament would be taught how to use the machine. 

“EVM will be used to replace ballot papers and boxes. If you mistakenly press a button you did not intend to, you can start afresh and vote for the candidate of your choice. This machine is ideal, as it will save us time.

It will curb long queues and we will not have to spend time counting the votes,” he said. Seeletso said even though the EVM has paper trail, voters would not have access to it.

However, he pointed out that there was a possibility of the votes being tempered with as a person can clear the votes. He, however, said he trusted IEC officers because they loved their country and could not tamper with the votes.

He also said the machine prices ranged from P3,000 to P4,000. The MP of Gaborone Central, Phenyo Butale told the gathering that the machine had been rejected in most of the Asian countries.

He said studies proved that the machine could be tampered with. “I wonder how we can buy this machine when in India where it is manufactured, the Supreme Court ruled that it must not be used until it can have paper trail.

Our efforts to reject this machine were futile, but we will not give up until our cry has been heard,” he said.

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