The hopes of Shawn Nthaile to contest for Jwaneng/Mabutsane constituency hangs in the balance after the Botswana National Front (BNF) withheld primary election results.
The decision was taken after the BNF elections board identified irregularities and the results did not tally at Sekoma and Kokong-Morwamosu wards.
Whoever wins will represent the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in a month and few weeks ahead of the 2019 general election.
BNF has affiliated to UDC together with Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP). Nthaile contested for elections with Celsius Rambe.
In its ruling, the BNF National Elections Appeals Committee (NEAC) said, “Having considered the evidence provided by both sides to this appeal, we cannot resist the demand for a rerun as garnered from the said evidence.
In summary, the verdict for this case is that, the appeal (succeeds and) is upheld. There should be a re-run of Parliamentary elections in the affected/disputed wards, being Kokong-Morwamosu and Sekoma wards. The Electoral Board should tally the new results from the re-run with those that are not in dispute from the other wards”.
The NEAC said the BNF primary election process does not allow amendments on tallies without any basis or the refusal of amendment of any tally without a basis.
According to the ruling, the returning officers have a duty at law to exercise their discretion rationally and fairly.
“Where one allows an amendment, the said amendment must be informed by a clear basis. Similarly, where one rejects an amendment of the tally, there has to be a clear rational basis. In this case there is nothing to suggest if any basis existed for amendment of the Kokong-Morwamosu tally or a rejection of the amendment of the Sekoma tally.
“Further to the above, the election rules do not in any way permit that results taken at a primary election poll be secretly or privately announced in or through envelopes.”
It said: “That very step by the elections board takes away any, and every credibility from the electoral process.
The scheme to be followed is that all the results are collected from the wards and tallied openly and ultimately announced at the nominated counting centres”.
The appeals board says if the result comes by way of an envelope, there is a possibility that someone with an interest in the outcome of the election may tamper with the result and input that in the envelope announced result. Therefore, the process is not free and fair.
The elections appeals board also noted in the judgement that Nthaile failed to attend to the hearing. Rambe had made an appeal for the wrong tally and reconciliation of results, commotion and fighting at the counting centres and the manner of announcing the results.
For his part, Nthaile said: “I was given the letter yesterday.
This matter is internal and I cannot comment on it. My only problem is that we are left with only a month and few weeks and this might affect the area. The party members had already reconciled and made peace.”