From next week, the High Court could find itself inundated with election petitions as the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) prepare to launch over 11 election result appeals with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
Already, the UDC is contesting the results for Gaborone Bonnington North constituency citing some irregularities. In that regard, the coalition is filling an urgent application on the matter.
Some of the constituencies that the UDC will be appealing include five Gaborone constituencies being Gaborone South, Gaborone North, Gaborone Central, Gaborone Bonnington North and South, Mochudi West, Mochudi East, Goodhope/Mabule, Takatokwane, Ghanzi North and Boteti West. These are constituencies that the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won in the recent national polls.
“It is true UDC will be filing appeal tomorrow. I cannot give the specific number because we are still compiling evidence. The number might increase or decrease depending on the evidence we have. We do believe that there were irregularities in some of the constituencies. The UDC as a party that believes in free and fair elections will not rest until justice is done,” UDC spokesperson Moeti Mohwasa said. Meanwhile, yesterday Judge Christopher Gabanagae ruled that the court order granted on October 31 in the matter between former Ghanzi MP Noah Salakae and the IEC that secured ballot papers and other elections materials was final.
He also ruled that an inventory of the said material be made. On costs of the suit, the Judge ruled that it would be unfair to award such to the IEC because it was not served with papers because the nature of the case was such that the applicant being the UDC wanted to seize the election material on a certificate of urgency and therefore could not find time to serve respondent (IEC).
Recently, a UDC attorney wrote on behalf of UDC president Duma Boko saying “Our client has instructed us to institute an election petition on his behalf in the High Court of Botswana complaining about the undue election of one Annah Mokgethi, who on the 24th October 2019 was declared the victor in respect of the Gaborone Bonnington North constituency elections in which you were also a candidate.
In the intended petition, our client would seek inter alia the setting aside of the results of the said election by reason of numerous irregularities to be fully traversed”.
Boko’s petition is in line with the Electoral Act which requires a person appealing elections to give other candidates an opportunity to be part of the appeal should they so desire. The Alliance for Progressives has declined to join the petition while Real Alternative Party has given it a nod.