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Democracy on trial

PHENYO BUTALE
AP members PIC: MORERI SEJAKGOMO
The Alliance for Progressives (AP) wishes to express dismay and disappointment at the deterioration of our democratic system at the hands of the continually authoritarian and dishonest BDP administration.

Our disappointment with the judiciary is in its failure to provide any form of checks and balances, a necessary ingredient in the nourishing of any democratic system. 

We stated at our latest press conference, that it is our considered view that justice would have been better served had the matters been allowed to all go to trial so that all issues and allegations are fully ventilated and tested.

The posture adopted by the courts to deny the UDC audience on the basis of technicalities, may be a legal victory for the BDP but it has, more worryingly, denied the nation closure of knowing whether the 2019 elections were rigged or not. The IEC has also failed dismally to exercise an independent posture, and gave the impression of loyalty to all postures advanced by the BDP even those that were unreasonable, including an attempt to deny the protesters a chance to inspect the voting material. This demeanour by the IEC has left a huge blemish on the whole electoral process.

The AP urges all Batswana to demand electoral reforms ahead of 2024 elections to ensure that among other things, counting occurs at polling stations, the use of indelible ink is reinstated to avoid multiple voting, as well as the introduction of political party funding to level the playing field.

All these reforms have to be

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preceded by an amendment of the law to entrench the independence of the IEC to safeguard the integrity of future elections.

It is our view that democracy depends heavily on the trust that citizen have on the electoral process and therefore there is need for radical reforms to restore this confidence, following the highly contested 2019 elections whose true outcome will forever remain subject of debate because the courts who are normally the final arbiters in such matters simply refused to give protesters audience.

Our constitution is clearly archaic and too irrelevant to address challenges associated with modern democracies hence the call by AP for a holistic constitutional review. There is an urgent need for amendment of the Constitution to entrench the doctrine of seperation of powers and save the judiciary and parliament from the over-domineering executive arm of government.

The AP is committed to the values of integrity, fairness, justice and honesty, all of which are vital to bringing out the best in our people.  All those who challenged the election outcome, and resorted to the peaceful lodging of cases with the courts, whether they be members of the AP or the UDC should be proud that they are working to enhance and protect our democratic system, for this and subsequent generations to come.

*Phenyo Butale (PhD) is AP Secretary General



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