IEC Should Be Visible on Election Day

| May 26, 2015

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has been urged to be visible on election day in order for the concerned parties to engage with it on issues that arise on the day.

Mr Lempaletse Malike of Botswana Congress Party (BPC) raised the issue during an evaluation meeting with IEC stakeholders on May 21 in Tutume, saying in the 2014 general elections, some issues emerged that needed IEC’s intervention.

For instance, he pointed out that ward boundaries became a contentious issue such as in Nswazwi because there was no proper sensitisation of voters prior to the elections on how the boundaries had been changed.

“This affected voters as well as candidates because political parties had to struggle to resolve issues alone as IEC was not available at respective polling stations,” he observed.

Mr Godfrey Nfila, another politician, corroborated that IEC should ensure that they fully outline the ward boundaries well in time before elections so that the public could become aware of such changes.

He further noted that because it was not clear how boundaries were set, it also led to voter trafficking by some politicians, something which needs to be discouraged.

Furthermore, the political parties’ representatives noted that they should be allowed to inspect the final voters’ roll because it is the one with so many changes compared to the first and second rolls.

Mr Boy Chipaladz, yet another politician, commented that often the last voters’ roll was the one with a lasting impact because those with financial muscles are able to effect cross country transfers for their wards and constituencies.

He therefore said if they could be allowed to do the last inspection, it will help curb cheating that comes in the form of voter trafficking, adding that it will also help IEC to address future issues particularly of voters’ transfers.

On other issues, they noted that the issue of denying public servants the right to vote in the primary elections of parties should be looked into.The reasoning that, allowing civil servants to vote amounts to showing their political affiliation does not hold water as it denies them the opportunity to elect a representative they want, the representatives argued.

In addition, they pointed out that even after using government officer in elections, getting paid becomes a challenge as some of them have until to date not received their payments.

Principal Elections Officer, Ms Basadi Ntshutelang said payments for officers who were engaged during elections were delayed by the payment system.

She said, unlike in the past elections, at the 2014 general elections officers were not paid allowances but overtime. Ms Ntshutelang said that led to delays but they had to make arrangements with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.

She further explained that evaluation meetings were aimed at getting feedback from their stakeholders so that they could improve in the next elections.

Source : BOPA

Source : Botswana Daily News

Category: Governance

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