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Voter transfer process outdated - analysts

TSAONE BASIMANEBOTLHE
Political analysts say it is time the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) reviews a clause in its act, which deals with voter transfer issues.

This is so because the act disadvantages the voter from exercising his/her right to make a transfer because the exercise is very expensive.  For one to transfer s/he has to travel to the area where s/he wishes to transfer at and it could be done at the IEC offices. 

“For the IEC Act to be reviewed, it needs a referendum to be done.  At first the clause was good because it wanted to avoid issues of voter trafficking and others. But at the same time, it is disadvantaging ordinary voters who want to vote at their home villages.  The exercise on its own is expensive because one has to travel to make a transfer and back again to vote.  It is time we benchmark on how other developed countries are dealing with the issue of transfer. As much as one could register where s/he works, I think there could be a way in which one does a transfer and it is verified whether it is his or her principal residence without one having to travel a long distance,” political analyst Lesole Machacha said.

He said a voter is the one who decides where they want to vote.

Machacha said there is a loophole in the IEC Act, which

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needs to be addressed.

The political analyst said the why the number of people who had registered does not always vote is because of this very reason.

IEC spokesperson Osupile Maroba said: “There is nothing IEC can do until the act is reviewed. We are aware that the clause sometimes disadvantages people who got transferred to different areas. The issue is if you get transferred after Parliament dissolution, there is no way one could transfer even if you are transferred to a distant place. Some do complain that they do not have money to go to offices they want to transfer at.  But that is the law IEC is following.  It is not us who had made that law,” Maroba said.

Maroba advised voters to make transfers at relevant offices before Parliament is dissolved because failure to do so would result in them being closed out. 

Political analyst Anthony Morima said the Act is not supposed to deny someone’s right to vote. 

“Parliament should look into this issue.  Most people who do not vote do not have funds to travel such long distances just to cast a vote.  That is why other politicians are forced to trace these people and fund them to come and vote,” he said.



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