Botswana’s President Ian Khama has signed the Electoral Amendment Bill of 2016, a revision of the existing Electoral Act that paves the way for the introduction of electronic voting machines (EVMs) ahead of the country’s general elections in 2019. The government believes the move will lead to improvements covering the registration of voters and preparation of rolls, including deleting provisions for supplementary rolls. However, opposition parties are concerned about the development and claim EVMs are open to security breaches and manipulation.
Articles about voting issues in the Republic of Botswana.
Political parties in Botswana are planning a demonstration to protest the introduction of the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) in the upcoming general elections. The march, which will be held on 17 September in Gaborone, is being organised by the four opposition political parties; Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and Botswana People’s Party (BPP). While the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) recently said that it was still to be consulted on the introduction of voting machine by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) it has not shown interest in joining the protest. Speaking on behalf of opposition parties recently, the BNF secretary-general, Moeti Mohwana, said they reject the use of EVM in 2019 elections, unless safeguards and audit trail accompany its use.
The resolution was taken at the party’s annual conference in Shakawe over the weekend. Yesterday, party spokesperson Dithapelo Keorapetse confirmed that the conference has mandated the central committee to engage government and delay the amendment of the electoral law pending full consultations with political parties as the key stakeholders. “The central committee of the party will advise itself on how to deal with the issue. Parliamentary and extra-parliamentary strategies such as peaceful protests and litigation will be explored,” said Keorapetse.
Various stakeholders, including political parties, analysts and the media, joined Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) officials to sample the stand-alone electronic vote machine, which is expected to be debuted at the 2019 general elections. To avoid disruptions during the power cuts, the machines use batteries, and are not connected to a data network. The portable and light machine allows a voter to first check if they have voted for a party of their choice before selecting a candidate by pressing a button. While several companies were invited to demonstrate their own voting machines yesterday, only Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) turned up, with analysts saying this placed the Indian company in poll position for the tender to supply the machines. BEL machines are already in use in Namibia, one of the few African countries using electronic voting.
The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has won the general elections in the world’s largest diamond producer. It secured at least 33 of the 57 parliamentary seats being contested, the national electoral commission says. A party needs 29 seats to take power. Opposition group Umbrella for Democratic Change has won 14 seats. The BDP party of President Ian Khama has been in power since Botswana gained independence in 1966. But it has been battling to gain support in urban areas where opposition parties have made recent inroads. Three parties competed to win over the 824,000 registered voters who directly elected the 57 members of parliament.
Botswana’s ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) secured 33 of 57 parliament seats in national elections, initial results showed, putting President Ian Khama at the helm for a second five-year term. Residents of the southern African nation, who voted on Friday, re-elected the BDP party that has ruled the diamond-producing country since independence from Britain 48 years ago. Provisional results show the BDP’s main rival, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), with 14 seats and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) with two seats. Eight seats were yet to be declared. This will be Botswana’s most closely contested election, and is likely to see the BDP’s majority sharply reduced from the 79 percent of seats it won in the 2009 election.
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.
The Executive Secretary of Botswana’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says the electoral body is fully prepared to administer credible parliamentary and local government elections on Friday. “I can confirm that all the materials have reached 2,606 polling stations….Yesterday all the materials had left the constituency headquarters,” said electoral chief Gabriel Seeletso. Seeletso said the IEC has addressed concerns opposition party concerns over the recently compiled voters list that would be used for the elections.
Two major parties contesting Botswana’s upcoming general elections held their final rallies Saturday ahead of what is expected to be the most competitive election since independence from Britain in 1966. The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), led by President Ian Khama, faces its first test with voters after a split in 2010 led to the formation of the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD). Khama, a former army commander and the son of the country’s first president, Seretse Khama, has been in power since 2008 and made it clear at a rally in the capital Gaborone that he would run on his record in the October 24 poll. “If you want to move forward, vote for the BDP and if you want to move backwards vote for the opposition parties,” Khama said to thunderous applause from several thousand supporters.