Many have been accusing Dumelang Saleshando and his Botswana Congress Party (BCP) of being against its affiliate, the Umbrella for Democratic Change’s (UDC) 2019 General Election petitions at the High Court, but he begs to differ Despite the accusations, Saleshando and his troops have been following the ongoing cases religiously.
As Leader of Opposition in Parliament, Saleshando on Saturday said the 2019 election is not over until their current court cases are put to bed, following the reading of the petition titled ‘Election Fraud in Botswana: A Threat to Peace, Justice and Democracy’.
“I want to make something clear. The 2019 elections are not done until the court cases are finished. No matter what President (Mokgweetsi) Masisi says as he questions why it happens under his rule, there is a time for everything,” he said. Saleshando added it was shocking that those who claim to have won fairly would go all out to block the case from going to trial.
“If you won fairly you will not mind going to trial. Now the BDP and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) are fighting tooth and nail to ensure the cases do not see the light of the day,” he said.
“There is something they are hiding. We stand fully behind all the petitioners. We want their cases to be heard on merit. We cannot just let it go because it could be worse in 2024, as they would know that we will not fight back.”
The UDC president, Duma Boko, who was wearing his gown fresh from court, said it was surprising that the IEC claims to have conducted free and fair elections, but is blocking them from verifying if indeed the electoral body did do its due diligence.
“They know they are guilty of
UDC members had just marched from Old Naledi to the High Court where Micus Chimbombi, who lost to Sam Brooks in Kgalagadi South constituency, read their petition. “The 2019 General Elections represent a monumental dent and historic landmark to Botswana’s otherwise formalistic one party dominant democracy. For the first time these elections were characterised by massive fraud, extensive corruption, unequal and unfair treatment of opposition parties and candidates orchestrated by an unholy coalition and collusion between the BDP, the so-called Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the notorious Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) and other government agencies,” read the petition.
UDC states that the plan to rig the election began with the concerted attempt to impose the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) during the 2019 elections. This was strongly opposed by the opposition parties and other stakeholders until the government rescinded EVMs in mid-2018 by suspending the 2016 Electoral Reform Act.
“As UDC we are staging these demonstrations and the subsequent ones to mobilise our nation to stand up in defence of justice and democracy. It is not just UDC, which has been cheated, but the whole nation has been deprived of a better and responsive government. If we do not fight this injustice it will be repeated in future elections,” read the petition.