UDC, IEC case to be decided on November 10

Some UDC supporters
Some UDC supporters

FRANCISTOWN: Judgment in the high profile case in which the country’s major opposition party, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), has made an urgent application before Justice Gaolapelwe Ketlogetswe to have its personnel observe the voters’ registration process has been set for November 10.

The UDC is battling against the country’s electoral body, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), in the high stakes matter. The lead UDC attorney in the matter, Advocate Duma Boko, who is also the president of the organisation, told the court that the opposition coalition has the constitutional right to deploy its election agents during the election registration process to ensure that the process is fair, free and transparent amongst other reasons. Boko told the court that they want their agents to be present during the election registration period because doing so will enable them to guard against any malpractice that may occur during the registration process. Recently, the Secretary of the IEC told the press that some voters’ registration personnel have in the past been found with registration books in bars where they registered people outside the registration voting hours. Boko also submitted that it would be unfair for the UDC to have its agents present in polling stations throughout the country during the voting period while they were denied the opportunity to observe the election registration period.

According to Boko, the UDC should be present during any stage of the electoral process to make sure that the whole electoral process is fair, free and transparent. According to the Electoral Act, political parties are only allowed to deploy their agents during the voting day only. Being present during the voters’ registration period, Boko submitted, will ensure that the UDC will observe that only people who vote are the ones that registered for the elections as per the dictates of the Constitution and Electoral Act. Boko said while there is no law that entitles parties to deploy their agents during the voters’ registration period, the country’ supreme law, the Constitution, talks about fairness, freeness and transparency in the whole electoral process hence the UDC wants to have its agents to be present in all polling stages throughout the whole registration process as per the dictates of the Constitution.

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