RAKOPS: After losing the 2019 general elections in Boteti West Sam Digwa of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) says he is willing to contest for the fourth time.
Digwa lost to incumbent Slumber Tsogwane of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) at the just ended 2019 general elections. Digwa won by 6,713 votes while Tsogwane notched 7,006. Michael Molatlhiwa of the Alliance for Progressives attracted 344 votes.
Ahead of last week’s elections many opined that Tsogwane was skating on thin ice. In 2014 Tsogwane won by 5,790 while Digwa got 5,549 votes. The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) then salvaged 622 votes.
Many noted that Digwa’s chances of winning would be boosted by the support from the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), a BDP splinter party.
Another factor was that the BCP joined the UDC, which was thought would inevitably boost Digwa’s numbers.
It was the third consecutive time that Digwa suffered a loss at the hands of Tsogwane. He, however, maintains that he will not give up his dream ‘to represent his people’.
“Personally I do have ambitions to contest again. I really do. However, contesting again will depend on several factors. Firstly, the party has to give me the go ahead looking at the prevailing circumstances.
Secondly, I have to get the backing of my family in order to contest. Lastly, I will have to get approval from people on the ground. If I can tick all the three boxes, then I would definitely contest,” he said.
“It is my biggest dream to represent the people of Boteti West.”
Additionally, Digwa told The Monitor that he would possibly challenge the election results in court. He disputed the results citing some irregularities during the election process.
“I will sit down with the party lawyer and discuss what transpired during the elections. The lawyer would then advise me if it is worth it to go to court or not. I am clearly not happy with the way the elections were conducted,” he said.
Just after the results were announced Digwa expressed his displeasure with the way the elections were conducted. He said the presiding officers intimidated some of his election observers.
“Even the ballot boxes were not properly sealed.
It is possible that they could have even been tampered with at some point during the elections (something that might have influenced my loss). Some of my observers were denied entry at some polling stations,” he said.
“They were told that they are only allowed at places where they have registered to vote (within Boteti West). But to the best of my understanding they are eligible to go and observe elections on my behalf at any polling station of my choice as along as it is within Boteti West.”
Digwa added that the presiding officers did not give an opportunity to his observers to escort some ballot papers to the counting centre (after voting closed).
He stated that it is also possible that ballots could have been tampered with while being transported, something that might have ultimately contributed to his loss.