A few days after the 23rd October general elections petitions were lost and won with costs in the courts of law, women candidates who have lost the elections expressed their wish to have audience with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC).
The wish was expressed during a workshop held at President Hotel on Thursday.
The bone of contention is the trafficking of electorates by political candidates.
The women candidates, who were from different political parties, observed that the irregularity is perpetrated by candidates across party lines.
If women’s concerns raised during their emotionally electrified, introspecting workshop is anything to go by, then there were valid reasons for protests though they were dismissed.
The women candidates concluded their half-day workshop by drafting a communiqué which would later be distributed to stakeholders.
One of the listed items in the communiqué is that: The IEC should work with the Ministry of Land Management Water and Sanitation Services to ensure that their system verifies: streets and open spaces; multi residential plots; unoccupied houses/residential areas-that the LAPCAS program is efficiently upgraded
“There are some flats that are not occupied as we speak, but hundreds of people were registered as electorates in the same flats. Their numbers appeared as residential plots for more than 200 electorates,” said a participant. If a query is brought to IEC on the matter, the participant highlighted, explanation given would be that LAPCAS upgrading is ongoing after which the anomaly would be remedied.
Another participant; from the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), highlighted that the registration of electorates is unlike in the past, done through candidates’ surnames instead of residential plot numbers and streets’ names.
Pushie Manyeneng of the Alliance for Progressives (AP) decried the fact that a male candidate in the constituency she contested for during elections- Gaborone North, obdurately trafficked electorates from Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR).
“It all started during registering for elections up to the Election Day. The electorates proved it beyond any doubt that they were trafficked as they, in the accent of people from there, enquiring where food was sold though they were supposedly residents of Phakalane where they were registered to vote,” said Manyeneng.
She further highlighted that even government employees, being law enforcing agents showed partiality against her as they often denied her chance to distribute flyers to electorates near traffic lights on the ground that she blocked traffic, but a while later BDP candidate’s team distributed at the same place undisturbed.
The workshop also agreed that the Women’s Caucus which seemed a threat to men flock in the 90s should be resuscitated to ensure women position themselves well in preparation for the 2024 elections.