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EVMs Not Yet A Priority

MONITOR EDITOR
The Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) seem to be most topical at the moment given how hard at work the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has been trying to convince Batswana of its use.

The commission is at pains to get Batswana’s buy-in on the use of EVMs, which they claim will be an upgrade from the traditional manual voting and counting systems. 

Well, as the saying goes ‘the only constant is change’, and we do understand that we live in an ever developing world, which Botswana of course cannot be exempted from. We have embraced technology and the country is always trying by all means to be up to speed with technological advancements. While these efforts are commendable, why is it that our Government seems hell-bent on making sure that EVMs are adopted immediately?  Are they to be used during the upcoming 2019 elections?

What’s the hurry? The timing itself is extremely questionable given that such advocacy for the EVM by the IEC should have at least began right after the October 2014 general election to build public awareness around this non-traditional system. Like most things traditional, so are most Batswana at the core, and time to embrace change can be a slow painful process when it comes such a conservative people.

Democracy put in simple terms is ‘a government of the people, by the people for the people’, which in short means rule of the majority. Members of the ruling Botswana

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Democratic Party (BDP) seem to be the only people who see sense in investing a lot of money in these machines, when there are more pressing national issues that require funds.

Furthermore, the IEC and BDP are relentlessly pushing for the machines’ use in time for what could be the biggest elections yet that save for the parties, no one currently has satisfactory answers for their reliability or lack of. BDP politicians, alongside the IEC, seem upbeat about implementing these very expansive gadgets, despite the society’s outcry that they do not trust the reliability of the machine, and the level to which it is safeguarded against hacking.

We all know by now that there is no one who can claim that a machine is 100% proofed against technical manipulation. People are beginning to suspect that the BDP government is fearful that it is going to loose the next elections, hence the persistent and hurried implementation of the EVMs. What happened to proper consultation?

By proper consultation in this context is where people are given enough time to acquaint themselves with the proposed idea and weigh the pros and cons and decide whether they feel it is in their best interest to adopt the idea or not.



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