The 2019 General Elections represent a monumental dent and historic landmark to Botswana’s otherwise formalistic one party dominant democracy.
For the first time the 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 ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), the so called Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the notorious Directorate of Intelligence Services (DIS) and other government agencies.
Batswana and the International community would remember that the election fraud was long planned.
The plan to rig election began with the concerted attempt to impose Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) during the 2019 Elections.
This was strongly opposed by the opposition parties and other stakeholders until the Government rescinded EVM in mid 2018 by suspending the 2016 Electoral Reform Act.
We should also remember that preparations for 2019 was done against the threat posed by the electoral success of the main opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC). The coalition of opposition parties and the large Trade Union Federation had gained the UDC 17 of the 57 seats in Parliament in the 2014 elections.
In a panic mode the BDP divided the Union bodies, politicised the Public Service by employing only its card carrying members in senior positions.
The government also weakened, silenced and suppressed private media (newspapers and radio stations).
As if the above actions were not enough, and little to the suspicion of the opposition and stakeholders, the BDP secretly established a coalition with IEC and DIS to distort the election registration process using money, multiple voting and vote buying.
Especially unemployed youth, tertiary students, the poor and lumpen drunkards in rural areas and town were given money, food hampers and alcohol on the elections day to vote BDP.
Equally dreadful is the death of free, fair and credible elections that Botswana has been known for. 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 that 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 the future elections.
Finally, we appeal to our institutions to disentangle themselves from defending BDP and defend Batswana’s wider interests instead.
This is why the Israeli Prime Minister is being tried and President Trump of US is being investigated and impeached.
It is because the institutions stood up to defend national interests.
Not so in Botswana. Here the President and his Party colleagues are above the Law. The media, public servants, electoral body and even the judiciary are captured to defend corruption.
As UDC we stand here today to demand free, fair and credible elections, amendment of DIS Act, review of the Constitution, independence of democratic Institutions towards functional Democracy. UDC will defend democracy to the bitter end even against these collusion forces.
This sacrificial undertaking we pursue it out of patriotism and the love for this Country. We say stand up Batswana! Defend your democracy! Viva UDC VIVA.”
* The UDC petition was read outside the Gaborone Hight Court on Saturday by Micus Chimbombi