The South African Economic Freedom Fighters this week stopped short of declaring that Botswana’s elections were not free and fair. In a press statement issued Friday, The Economic Freedom Fighters warned against reading the “free and fairness” of Botswana elections by only judging the activities of the day of elections.
The South African opposition party led by Julius Malema argued “that the freeness and fairness of elections must be understood within the entire period since the election date was announced by the electoral commission.”
Malema who was billed to launch an Umbrella for Democratic┬á Change candidate in Molepolole, Arafat Khan was denied visa to enter the country and so was Hollywood star Rick Yune who was to attend the launch of UDC president Duma Boko.
In its press statement, EFF states that, “the Botswana regime throughout the campaign has used authoritarian means to suppress free flow of ideas and criticism particularly leveled against themselves. The regime did this by arresting journalists who are critical, intimidated them and also refused the opposition visits to Botswana for support by its fraternal organisations.”
EFF says the “Botswana regime tries to use elections as a formality to legitimize authoritarianism. They are a dictatorial and authoritarian regime that suppresses those who differ with it and history will judge it harshly.”
“The EFF believes that elections must be free and fair. Candidates must be allowed to air their views, receive support and demonstrate it from anywhere they want, including their friends abroad. No journalists must be intimidated, arrested and told what not to report on. Only under such conditions can an election be declared free and fair, otherwise the only story told to the electorate is the one preferred by government, which in turn reaffirms its rule”, states the press statement.