Tuesday, September 28, 2021

BDP wants civil servants totally removed from electoral processes

Botswana Democratic Party wants civil servants to stay out of the running of the general elections- the issue has been debated at party level as members of the ruling BDP believe civil servants were behind the dismal performance of their party in the last general elections.

This belief was also accentuated by Member of Parliament for Tati East Guma Moyo before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) last Friday.

Usually during the process of an election, Independent Electoral Commission uses civil servants especially teachers as support staff to carry out the duties in the running of elections.

These civil servants usually conduct the voting process and are also counting officers.

Tati East Member of Parliament Moyo Guma on Friday questioned IEC Accounting Officer Keireng Zuze why his department is still using civil servants at the polls.

“I do not think public servants should be used to run the elections especially when they stay at the same area where they work. In my view when we say IEC is independent it must be totally independent and it must have totally different people to assist in the running of the elections. Civil servants are participants. They vote. They have their preferred parties, ebile ga ba re rate (They dislikes us),” Moyo told the Public Accounts Committee.

He said civil servants are conflicted and must be removed from the election process. Unfortunately for BDP and Moyo Guma the IEC does not have budget to hire its staff during a process of an election.

“We do not have budget for that. If we are going to hire people it means we should have a budget and a law that will regulate their line of duty. We have engaged the Office of President and the Attorney General to say how best they can assist us on this matter,” said Zuze.

IEC has continued to experience a challenge of shortage of staff,  Zuze said.

The IEC is even failing to reach out to the public at the rate they wanted to.

Meanwhile Batswana are likely to use electronic voting for the very first time in the 2019 general elections.

The office of the Attorney General is said to have been mandated with drafting of a Bill on electronic voting.

According to Zuze Attorney General Office shared with the IEC drafts of the proposed bill on electronic voting.

As soon as the Office of Attorney General is done, the Bill will then be presented to Parliament for approval or amendments.

Zuze said whether the public will use electronic voting or not in the next general elections will depend on the time the proposed Bill will reach Parliament and get approved by Members of Parliament.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper