Hell-bent on making U-turn

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FRANCISTOWN: The phrase cloak-and-dagger aptly captures what happened during the registration of some voters for the upcoming general elections.

When Argentine footballer Diego Maradona scored against England in the quarter final of the 1986 World Cup on June 22, 1986 at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City using his hand, he named the goal Hand-of-God.

While the England and Argentina match was played a long time back, it seems another Hand-of-God in a different setting was responsible for registering a voter in the voters’ roll of Kanana ward in the Francistown West constituency.

This scenario emerged in the Magistrate’s Courts on Wednesday when the Alliance for Progressives (AP) council candidate for Kanana, Ace Ntheetsang objected to the registration of some voters in the ward.

When Jankie Oduetse, who was subsequently struck off the roll, was asked why he should not be struck off from the voters’ roll he bemusedly said that it was a mystery how his name appeared in the Kanana voters’ roll while he never registered to vote in Kanana.

He said: “First of all, I am not a resident of Kanana ward and I have never registered to vote in Kanana. I don’t know how my name appears in the Kanana voters’ roll because I am not a resident of Kanana and I have never registered in Kanana. I leave in Jamataka village and I have registered to vote in Jamataka. Probably, Ntheetsang may be privy to how my name mysteriously appears in the Kanana voters’ roll because I did not register in Kanana. I am totally at a loss of how my name appears in the Kanana voters’ roll and who registered me.”

Before the objections were brought to court, there were widespread rumours that a Parliamentary and Council candidate of a certain political party (names known to this publication) went to Jamataka and Shashemooke villages and collected names and Omang numbers (National identity cards) of those villages football team players and then subsequently connived with a registration officer to register the footballers in their absence in the Kanana voters’ roll.

The Oduetse incident and other cases of people who were trafficked to vote in Kanana lends credence to the rumours.

The illegal registration of Oduetse would surely put an egg on the face of the electoral body, Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).

The IEC hired some bad apples for the registration of voters, it is thought in some quarters.

Ntheetsang is leaving no stones unturned in his bid to return to the Francistown City Council chambers were he was a councillor for Kanana ward for two terms while a member of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

The court also upheld Ntheetsang’s objection to Disang Lupe, Moakofi Setambule, Lame Moakofi, Kebofentse Moakofi, Onkabetse Gaotwesepe and Keatile Makgana to be struck off the Kanana voters’ roll because they were trafficked to vote in a ward in which they do not have principal residence.

It was apparent in court that some of the voters trafficked registered using plot numbers of vacant Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) which are yet to be allocated to tenants.

After making a determination to strike the voters off the roll, Magistrate Kaveri Kapeko advised them to go to the IEC to formalise their registration in places where they principally stay if they so wished.

Following the court adjourment, an upbeat Ntheetsang told Mmegi that he would not rest until all the trafficked voters are removed from the Kanana voters’ roll.

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