Court of Appeal (CoA) Judge Lakhvinder Singh Walia has said that the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) has reasonable arguable cases on elections appeal hence he found no reason for refusing the expedited hearing of the appeals.
The 15 applicants, including the UDC leader Duma Boko, who were unsuccessful candidates in October 23, 2019 parliamentary elections had petitioned the High Court challenging the results. The petitions were heard by the High Court in three tranches. In each petition there was one dissenting ruling and by majority decision each petition was dismissed, the court in each case upholding the respondents’ (Botswana Democratic Party candidates) preliminary technical issues.
Justice Walia said at a roll call yesterday, the parties reached a consensus that sufficient reason exists for the expedited hearing of the appeals and that the appeals be consolidated. He also said that the appeals would be heard on January 29, 2020.
“Consent to the expedited hearing of an appeal is a strong but not determining factor in consideration of an application for the expedited hearing of the appeal,” Walia said. He further said in terms of the rules of the CoA, an applicant in such an application must satisfy the Judge hearing the application that the
“For the purpose of this ruling, narration of the guidelines is not necessary as the matters under consideration are of such national importance that they be adjudicated upon without delay. This is acknowledged by the parties and I am satisfied on the papers that the applicants have reasonable arguable cases on appeal. I can see no reason for refusing the applications.”
The Judge also expressed his gratitude to the parties and their legal representative for according the applications the urgency and importance they deserved and for facilitating a smooth progress of the matter.
The landlocked Southern African country of about 2, 2 million people voted in a general election on October 23, 2019 and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) emerged victorious with 38 seats against the UDC's 15 seats. The UDC petitioned the court and contested the outcome of the elections citing "violation of one man one vote principle in some constituencies".