Wednesday, January 19, 2022

IEC faces dozens of vote trafficking court claims

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has been snowed under a pile of writs of summons dragged served by two Ramotswa Constituency voters who claim voter trafficking. The two voters, Philip Mokgalagadi and Rosinah Tlage have cited 50 voters to various Magistrate Courts in Gaborone claiming they have registered in polling stations which are not in their areas of residence.

The two constituents represent themselves while the more than 50 Respondents are represented by Dingake Law Partners law firm. In their Affidavits, Mokgalagadi and Tlage state that they want the Respondents to be struck off the voters roll or have their registrations cancelled because the polling stations at which they had registered do not fall within their District of residence.

But the Respondents, through their attorneys state that they have in the past participated in Ramotswa Constituency by registering at the same polling stations which fall within their polling District of residence. The applicants also state that they have not been served with the Applicants’ objection as required by the mandatory provisions of Section 18 (4) of the Electoral Act. The Section states that Principal Registration Officer must serve copy of objection on person to whom objection relates. In this regard, the applicants say they do not understand the basis of the objection to their registrations as voters at polling stations they have always registered and voted in the previous general elections. “The objector must indicate that his or her name appears in the roll of the Constituency in which the objection relates, in terms of Section 18 (1) of the Electoral Act. This has not been done,” state the Respondents. They say they do not know, nor do the Applicants demonstrate, if the objector’s name is in the roll.

“There is no evidence that as a matter of fact an objection exists in terms of Section 18 (2) of the Electoral Act in so far as same has not been delivered to (us) at all. No deposit has shown to have been paid and there is no indication if the objection relates to a roll of general or supplementary nature and falls within the prescribed timelines within which an objection may be taken,” they said. The Applicants also state that the complainants have failed to forward to them objection against the letter and spirit of Section 18 (4) of the Electoral Act. One of the cases was heard by Village Chief Magistrate, Linah Oahile-Mokibe and the other relating to the same matter and brought by the same Applicants was heard by Extension Two Magistrate, Jobbie Gaosikelwe. Oahile-Mokibe this week ordered that the hearing be postponed to 19 July and that IEC should comply with Section 18 of the Electoral Act by furnishing the Applicants with copy of the Objection.

The Respondents have also told the court that they are seeking legal advice on the matter and they are also expected to cite the IEC as one of the Respondents. For her part, Gaosikelwe is expected to deliver her ruling on the application relating to the same matter on 4thJune. The applicants’ lawyers have since indicated that they intend to consolidate the dozens application into a single case.

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