It has become evident from the recent and ongoing electoral petitions that there are many voters who get into a voting booth without the knowledge of how to vote for their ideal candidates whilst also lacking the necessary electoral savvy.
The petitions against the October 23, 2019 General Election outcome have also revealed that in some instances voters just want to vote for those who have assisted and supported them in their daily lives, especially council candidates.
One of the witnesses in the Mogalakwe Mogalakwe petition case, which is underway at the High Court, sent shockwaves when she could not answer questions posed by the respondent’s counsel during cross-examination. The witness, Mmamakgabe Motshee said: “I told the person who was there that I wanted to vote for (Alliance for Progressives’) Mogalakwe. It is just that I was not the one marking. I had told them what I wanted marked”.
When asked by Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) attorney, Busang Manewe if she had any doubt that the person assisting her did not mark the party of her choice, Motshee said the problem is that the person marked twice. Motshee, who could not read nor write, was told that there was no Mogalakwe on the ballot paper and was asked if she knew the candidate’s party to which she responded with a “No”.
Motshee told the court that her problem was that the presiding officer had marked for her and she did not
Another witness, Tebalo Molapo who said her vision was impaired also told the court that she wanted to vote for the party she had written on her registration card.
When Manewe asked if she knew its abbreviation, Molapo responded by saying she did not know it but, had to rely on what she was told by people because of blurred vision. She said the people are the ones who told her that the election officer did not mark correctly.
Even though Molapo tried to show the symbol of the party she wanted by hand, it seems the attorney representing Mogalakwe could not connect the meaning of the sign, but rather thought she meant the number seven.
Still on the same case, court has dismissed with costs Mogalakwe’s application to substitute two witnesses with two police officers.
This was after the Independent Electoral Commission attorney, Otsile Rammidi said the petitioners did not indicate before trial that they would like to amend the witness list.
BDP candidate, Kesebelwang Gaorongwe won Mosolotshane/Moralane ward with 674 votes to Mogalakwe’s 637. The other candidate, Lucas Mokalake of the Umbrella for Democratic Change trailed behind with 264 votes
The trial continues today (Monday).