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No council ballot provision for voters in diaspora until 2024

MPHO MOKWAPE
Voters on Elections day
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) will not be able to facilitate for voters in foreign countries to vote for both Members of Parliament (MP) and councillors in the upcoming general election.

Voters in the diaspora may be able to elect an MP, but they will not be able to cast their vote for a councillor.

However, the IEC plans to make such voting possible for the 2024 elections as per the Lobatse High Court judge, Nthomiwa Nthomiwa's judgement.

In all the election years, voters in foreign countries have only been allowed to vote for an MP and not a councillor, as it is the norm to vote for both in the country.  It was Nthomiwa’s recent ruling that it was unreasonable for the IEC to deny voters outside the country to vote for both candidates since the IEC Act did not prohibit such. 

The judgement, which set precedence for this, came after one registered voter, Bakotelo Mmipi, had taken the IEC and its secretary to court for denying him to vote for candidates in his polling station after

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transferring to London, United Kingdom. 

In a letter from the IEC addressed to the aggrieved voter, the commission said it was impossible to set up as logistics have already been made for this year’s elections. 

“The IEC will not be able to facilitate your voting in the 2019 diaspora local government elections due to reasons given on the judgement. The IEC will, however, facilitate implementation of the judgment for 2024 general elections,” read the letter. 

The judge had advised the IEC that going forward they must put in place facilities that would make it possible for the applicant and others in foreign countries to vote for both candidates.

In Nthoiwa’s acknowledgment, though the voters have such rights, it would still be impossible for the IEC to make provision of setting up a polling station for the voting of a councillor as logistics had already been made.



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