A series of mishaps at various polling stations around the country during the advance voting process over the weekend have raised doubts about the readiness of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to host the 2014 general elections. Uproar broke out on Monday after reports emerged that the weekend poll marred with controversy as some public servants were denied a chance to vote. Reports from various constituencies in the country indicate that voters were made to wait for long hours while in some instances voting was postponed because ballot papers were either defective or in short supply. In some instances, voters waited until midnight to cast their vote as the IEC was forced to extend voting hours to allow for new ballot papers to arrive. In an interview with The Botswana Gazette, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) parliamentary hopeful in Molepolole North, Mohammed Khan expressed disappointment at the way the IEC handled the advanced voting process and cast aspersions of the Commission’s preparedness to coordinate the October 24 general election.
Khan said the reason given by the IEC that they underestimated the voter turnout was not good enough as it was always better to bring more ballot papers than less. He added that he will write a letter of protest to the Returning Officer and vowed to approach the courts if the IEC takes the matter lightly.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) spokesperson and Bobirwa parliamentary candidate Taolo Lucas also confirmed that they experienced shortage of ballots in Bobonong and surrounding areas and urged the IEC to put their house in order before Election Day.
“How can they fail to do the most basic thing? It’s sad that the IEC is taking this matter lightly when we were severely disadvantaged,” he said. Both Lucas and Khan urged all those who could not vote over the weekend to cast their ballot in October 24.
Full Article: Doubts over IEC preparedness | Botswana Gazette.