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Tensions boil over in Lentsweletau-Mmopane

A fight to the death is on the cards in the Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) primary election rerun in Lentsweletau-Mmopane constituency tomorrow.

Reports indicate camps aligned to the two front-runners, incumbent Vincent Seretse and chief challenger, Nnaniki Makwinja, have declared an unofficial war.

On August 25, Seretse edged Makwinja by 45 votes, in an election subsequently annulled by the BDP’s electoral board that spotted numerous irregularities including the non-tallying of ballot papers and votes.

Seretse was voted by 1,514 votes against Magatusi Sebego’s 227, Chommie Letlole’s 779, Patrick Manthe’s 165, Makwinja’s 1,469, Reuben Mokopaina’s 171 and Bennedict Molefe’s 215 votes.

This week, several sources, via telephone and on the ground interviews, told Mmegi that the two camps had cut off communication with each other and were openly hostile ahead of the Saturday rerun.

“Each team has its own camping area and it’s either you are their supporter or not. You can’t be seen with this team and the other. The situation is worse to a point that if you support Seretse, for example, the Makwinja team cannot give you a ride in case you are not going to their side. The teams have a tendency of exchanging bitter words when they meet while doing house-to-house campaigns,” the source said.  Another source said each team for different candidates are training their own polling agents so that they

become assertive and do their job accordingly. The source said the Political Education and Elections Committee (PEEC) has given the branch committee candidates to inspect the voters’ roll together with the committee.

BDP electoral board chairperson, Peter Siele said they had to replace returning officers with the new ones because the reports coming from the branch together with the region committee have shown that the previous returning officers did not follow election rules and regulations. 

“This is one of the key reasons why we had to call for a rerun. It is true we addressed the candidates and committees for Lentsweletau-Mmopane constituency about the contents of the report.

“There are rules that are binding returning officers and regulations. If one does not obey them, then the office is forced to replace them. Again the number of voted ballots and those that did not vote don’t tally with the given ballot papers even when recounting is done. It also becomes a problem, especially if the number is high,” Siele said.

He said PEEC members would also be on the ground to help when the need arises.

Siele said the returning officers are on a three-day workshop on how they are supposed to conduct elections.




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