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IEC postpones by-elections

GOITSEMODIMO KAELO
IEC postpones by-elections PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on Wednesday said it has shelved by-elections scheduled for May to a later date due to Covid-19 pandemic.

Two by-elections for Metsimotlhabe and Boseja South wards in Gabane-Mmankgodi and Mochudi East respectively were set to be held at the end of May.

The seats became vacant following the passing on of elected respective councillors Andrew 'Fonnie' Sebobi and Letlhogonolo Donald Kwapa. The duo ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) councillors died in separate tragic car accidents late February. 

The by-elections were initially scheduled to be held within three months in accordance with Section 18(1) of the Local Government Act. The IEC said the by-elections have been suspended indefinitely. 

“In view of the Covid-19 pandemic which has engulfed our country, the Emergency Powers Act (Cap 22:04) section 3 (2) (d) provides for his Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana to suspend the operation

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of any law in the interest of public safety. The President has therefore enacted Emergency Powers (Covid-19) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations, 2020-statutory instrument No. 63 of 2020, published in the Extraordinary Gazette No. 35 of April 9, 2020, suspending the implementation of Section 18(1) of the Local Government Act,” read a statement from IEC. 

The Commission also said voters from the two affected polling districts will be informed of any information relating to the vacancies. Voters are also to keep their voter registration cards and IDs safe. 

The country is currently under a six months state of emergency and has also imposed extreme social distancing to curb the spread of Covid-19. Botswana has registered 13 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and one death.



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