PALAPYE: There was shock when a Palapye woman assumed to be dead, walked into a polling station to vote on Wednesday.
The woman had been struck off the voters’ roll as she had been declared dead.
The incident left presiding officer at the Eloyi polling station, Pako Sepekere-Notice shell -shocked. The issue could not be resolved and she returned home without casting her vote.
Sepekere-Notice said it was the first incident of its kind in this year’s election. She also said they had expected other challenges, since they had the highest number of registered voters in the constituency.
But it was shocking for someone to learn that they had been declared dead, yet they are alive, she said. The unnamed woman had to return home without casting her vote, although she had a valid identity card and voter registration card.
“Although I can say we are blessed as everything has been running smoothly in our polling station, one unfortunate woman could not vote as she was rejected by the voters’ roll, because she was presumed dead,” Sepekere-Notice said.
The woman was referred to the Independent Electoral Office (IEC) for assistance. Palapye constituency returning officer, Lucky Maoto, said such incidents discourage people from voting.
He said though the woman was not the only one who had been rejected by the voters’ roll in the constituency, her reason for rejection was rare and a first in his area.
“Obviously it’s frustrating, imagine being told that you are dead while you are alive and very well. Such incidents will always discourage people from exercising their democratic right to vote. Something must be done to bring an end to such incidents, “Maoto said.
Maoto further said it was going to be difficult for the woman to vote, until the IEC resolves the matter. Meanwhile, Maoto said there were many queries this year compared to previous elections.
He said there were many grey areas and urged the IEC to improve. Maoto was of the view that the registration system must be centralised.
He said this year most people were overly excited to vote hence they had to be allowed to exercise their rights without any struggle.