Saturday, July 11, 2020

Boko, Gaolatlhe, Nkaigwa, Thutlwe face election ban

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) President Duma Boko, Alliance for Progressives (AP) President Ndaba Gaolatlhe, UDC parliamentary candidate for Gaborone North Haskings Nkaigwa and Gaborone Mayor Kagiso Thutlwe are among a number of politicians who face being struck off the 2019 Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) voters roll for violating the Electoral Act.

The IEC will this week receive a petition to stop Boko, Gaolatlhe, Nkaigwa, Thutlwe and UDC council candidate Jackson Koko from contesting the 2019 elections because they knowingly provided wrong addresses as their principal residences.

The petition against Boko, Gaolatlhe, Nkaigwa, Thutlwe and Koko harks back to the 2009 petition in which former Botswana National Front (BNF) firebrand Elmon Tafa was struck off the Francistown South voters roll where he contested as an independent candidate for knowingly providing the wrong address as his principal residence

Tafa had registered in Francistown South while his principal residence was in Gaborone. Tafa and his petitioners reached an out of court settlement which stated:”Because of the consensus we had made, we have resolved that as residence is a requirement of the registration in terms of the Electoral Act, the registration of Tafa be nullified and removed from the roll at Francistown South constituency polling district no 83 Phillip Matante East, polling station 422 open space vending area block 5. Finally that Tafa be allowed to re-register where he has principal residence.”   

However unlike Tafa, once struck off the voters roll, it would be difficult for Boko, Gaolatlhe, Nkaigwa, Thutlwe and Koko to re-register at their principal residences because the registration process is complete.

The petition, a copy of which has been passed to the Sunday Standard accuses Boko of registering under plot 19746 in Gaborone West while his principal residence is Tlokweng. The plot under which Boko registered belongs to Sebala Leshomo. Other potential voters registered under the plot number are Diamond Boko, Emma Boko, Marshal Boko, Kyle Boko, Rhoda Matlhoko and Taziba Matlhoko.

The Electoral Act states that “a person shall be entitled to be registered as a voter in the constituency in which he or she has his or her residence, or if he or she has more than one residence in Botswana in the constituency in which he or she has his or her principal residence.”

The petitioners argue that Boko’s principal residence is in Tlokweng for which he is receiving a housing allowance from the National assembly.

The petitioners also want Ndaba Gaolatlhe struck off the IEC roll and barred from contesting the elections for listing his residence as Plot 25569 Block 9, which is his Constituency office.

Should Boko and Gaolatlhe be removed from the roll, they would be barred from representing the UDC and AP as presidential candidates for the 2019 General Elections. This would leave the UDC position to either Dumelang Saleshando as the UDC Vice President or Prince Dibeela as the BNF President should the BNF insist on retaining the UDC presidency.

UDC Parliamentary Candidate for Gaborone North, Haskings Nkaigwa has also been cited for voter trafficking after registering himself and 11 other potential voters under plot 25569 which is a low cost house in Gaborone North. The eleven other voters registered under the house are Morake Gaone, Nkwe Morakalane, Nkwe Thato, Moritshane Lesego, Mmasadi Nkaigwa, Nnangoni Nkaigwa, Philip Natasha, Mothofela Vivian, One Nkaigwa, Pilane Julia and Tabakae Doris.

It is not clear why the trio used wrong addresses as their principal residences because the Electoral Act allows them to contest for parliamentary seats anywhere in the country for as long as they are registered to vote. Indications are that they may have wanted to make up their vote numbers in their constituencies which would amount to voter trafficking.

UDC council candidate Jackson Koko also faces being removed from the voters roll after listing his principal residence as plot 2487 in Gaborone Central. The plot belongs to Mohammed Dada, the son to Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) veteran Satar Dada.

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Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.