As the country readies for general elections, the police say they do not anticipate any rioting to occur during the vote period, no matter what the result.
Botswana Police Service’s (BPS) Deputy Public Relations Officer, senior Superintendent Near Bagali told Mmegi in an interview that nothing suggested beefing up of security as things are going swimmingly so far.
“We will be escorting ballots and observing the elections, but we will not be interfering with the election process in anyhow because the people who will be responsible for that will be the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) presiding officers,” he said.
“As the police we will be there to carry our police mandate and we believe Batswana will cast their votes that will be counted fairly.”
Bagali said as guided by their mandate they are ready to administer free and fair elections. He however said Batswana are thoughtful people hence confident that they will exercise their voting right in a peaceful manner.
He said they have been ready and have long prepared themselves to control the crowd at both polling and counting stations.
Bagali further stated that this was an exercise that comes every five years that every citizen was familiar with, hence they did not anticipate anything unusual to occur this year.
“We will be have police officers at every polling station across the country to observe the elections but they will do so without interfering. We assure citizens that we will make sure that their lives are secure as always,” Bagali said.
He however said if a situation arose and the need for them to respond came about, they will answer accordingly by attending to the scene and assess the state of affairs.
Bagali further said Batswana were not the kind of people who provoked violence even if their candidates lost or were aggrieved by any situation.
Asked to comment on situations in which supporters got involved in acrimonious quarrels with their competitors at polling or counting stations that could lead to fights, Bagali said the police were ready to douse the fires.
“We will be on the look out to respond to any possible unrests even though we are not anticipating any threats. We have never had riots during the elections in the history of this country hence we are not anticipating anything of that sort this year,” he said.
IEC’s spokesperson, Osupile Maroba shared the same sentiments saying they were ready to conduct fair, free and peaceful elections.
“With the help of the police who will be deployed across all polling stations, we are ready to prevent any potential threats towards smooth and peaceful elections.
As usual, we do not anticipate any threats during elections because Batswana are thoughtful people,” he said.
Maroba said the country had its own security personnel, always on standby to ensure order to make ensure that the elections are conducted smoothly.
He added that the said security personnel would be availed to protect both the people that will be given the responsibility to conduct elections and the electorates themselves.
The elections will be held next Wednesday.