The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) council candidate for Jwaneng/Mabutsane, Tshepo Mothulwe has successfully stopped his removal from the voters' roll for the upcoming general elections.
Mothulwe, who is a council candidate for Seole ward faced an objection from another council candidate, former Jwaneng Mayor Obed Monkge for allegation that he does neither reside nor has a plot in the ward.
The candidate council successfully stayed the decision of the Jwaneng Magistrate, Odirile Mokgatlhe who on May 29, 2019 ruled that Monkge’s objection be upheld.
He then filed an application before court seeking a review of the Magistrate’s decision, which could have meant that he was removed from the voters’ roll if he did not contest the outcome. In his founding affidavit, Mothulwe said that his objection matter was not held in an open court, but was held in chambers simply because the objector was a high-ranking official.
He explained that after the hearing, the Magistrate made his final order without regarding the evidence before him.
“The decision of the magistrate was grossly unreasonable because he arrived at the decision notwithstanding that there was a clear and uncontroverted evidence that I reside within Seole ward,” he said.
Mothulwe also said his basis for the review was that the proceedings were not conducted judiciously to the extent that no evidence was lead either by oath or on affidavit.
He sought for the decision to be declared null and void as the court had arrived at it without sworn evidence and that the objector was not cross-examined to tell his evidence neither was he sworn before he led evidence.
“It was just an informal discussion which resulted in the magistrate handing down a decision,” he said.
Further, Mothulwe submitted that he was shocked that the Magistrate made his decision solely on the map of Jwaneng that was provided by the town council and did not take into consideration the lease agreement that was placed before him.
His contention is that the reliance on the map was shocking because its authenticity and origin was never established.
“It was grossly unreasonable for the magistrate to have taken a drastic decision to disenfranchise me on the basis of an error made by the IEC officer who recorded that I resided at a different plot when there was evidence that I resided within Jwaneng at Seole ward,” he said.
Mothulwe further explained that he believed that it was selective justice for him to be struck off the roll when many people were registered as residing in two digit plot number and were retained regardless.
He pointed out that it was well-known that the two digit in Jwaneng are gate numbers and not plot numbers and to rush to strike him off the roll without understanding the dynamics was grossly unreasonable and undermined the voter’s constitutional right to participate in the election process.