By John Regonamanye
Kgosi Kgomotso Boiditswe of Serowe region last week hinted to Ntlo Ya Dikgosi that the reason why there was a decrease in the number of polling stations across the country was because the government was hell bent on using the contentious Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the 2019 general elections. He said EVMs required that there should be few polling stations, hence a decrease in their number this year.
But the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Botlogile Tshireletso who was standing for the substantive Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration said allegations raised by the traditional leader were baseless.
“I do not know about such a development. What I know is that the introduction of the decrease of the polling stations was because it was discovered that they were crowded in one area,” she said.
Tshireletso further added: “I will liaise with the substantive Minister Nonofo Molefhi and find out if those allegations hold water.”
But Boiditswe insisted that “We hear you Minister. But could you deny or confirm to this House the suggestions around the reduction….that the introduction (EVMs) precipitated the scrapping of some polling stations.”
Tshireletso answered in the negative adding that she would consult with Molefhi to verify allegations raised by Boiditswe.
Another Ntlo Ya Dikgosi member Maruje III Masunga sparked another debate when he asked Tshireletso about the provisions that have been made in the coming general elections to cater for the senior citizens with regard to the rising youth delinquency.
According to Masunga the next general elections “are the kind of their own and unpredictable.”
He cites the current behavior of violence within different political structures during the past internal party elections which reflect badly for the coming national elections 2019 with the likelihood to impact negatively for senior citizens obstructing them to cast their votes.
He called for a conducive environment for the right of the ageing senior citizens to cast their votes during the next national elections.
Replying, Tshireletso said polling stations are prepared for voting in accordance with the Electoral Act and it is requirement that each polling station has a presiding officer, polling officers and police personnel to regulate the voting process. The security of senior citizens in the polling station is guaranteed at all times.
She added: “The responsibility to manage the public at political party activities lies with each party and it is upon each of organisation to manage their supporters . My office is committed and will support the IEC in improving voting conditions in the polling stations to encourage senior citizens to participate in the electoral process.”