Monday, September 28, 2020

Botswana parties edge Khama to declare elections day a Public Holiday

Opposition political parties have called on President Ian Khama to go an extra mile and declare Election Day a Public Holiday.

The parties said this after Khama announced that the General Elections will be held on October 16, which is a Friday, and as of now a working day.

Botswana National Front Leader Otsweletse Moupo said his party hoped the Khama will soon make another announcement declaring elections day a Public Holiday.

“He will probably do that in the near future. That is the only option,” said Moupo.

Moupo said a failure to make elections day a Public Holiday would be akin to blocking people from voting.

On whether President Khama has had the courtesy to touch base with him as outgoing Leader of Opposition prior to announcing the General Elections Day, Moupo said he had not been consulted or informed of the date before an announcement was made over the radio.

Like Moupo, the Botswana Congress Party Secretary General Taolo Lucas said they heard the announcement over the radio like everyone else.

“It is the President’s prerogative. We do not complain about it. All we can say is that we are ready for the battle,” said Lucas.

Lucas said his party hoped Khama will soon declare October 16, a Public Holiday.

“It is inconceivable that General Elections could be held on a working day,” said Lucas.

The BCP Chief said if Khama does not declare a Public Holiday his party will do everything to force him.

“If he does not do it on his own we will demand it.”

“You can imagine the chaos that will be if people knock off at 1630 hrs and they are expected to join queues to cast their votes. There is no question that many will not be able to make it,” he said.

Leader of the Botswana Peoples Party Bernard Balikani also added his voice in calling for the elections day to be declared a Public Holiday.

“As BPP we have taken it as a given that it will be a holiday. Once we heard that it was a Friday, we imagined that it was automatic that the day will be declared a Public Holiday,” Balikani told the Sunday Standard.

Balikani said the audit of his party showed that they will emerge with four constituencies; Francistown South, Francistown West, Tati East and Tati West.

“We also have a handsome chance to also take Francistown East. But as for the above four we are more than certain,” said Balikani.

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Sunday Standard September 27 – 3 October

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of September 27 - 3 October, 2020.