The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) is expected to meet this week to evaluate the just ended supplementary voter registration for the general elections billed for October this year.
The Telegraph has it on good authority that the Commission is already contemplating holding another supplementary voter registration following low voter turnout during the just ended supplementary registration. ┬áBy Monday the IEC was yet to release its final tally.
While he was not in possession of the exact figures on Monday IEC spokesperson Osupile Maroba confirmed to The Telegraph that the IEC will meet to evaluate the figures from the just ended supplementary voter registration.
“We have not received the full figures from various stations across the country. We were expecting a large turnout but by mid last week we had not even reached 100┬á000,” he said.
Maroba said their target for this year was 1.2 million or 80 per cent of the 1.4 million eligible voters. He added that in the last general elections, their target was 700┬á000. Maroba justified the increase of their target citing the new figures from the population census.
“Now we have a new population of 2.4 or 2.1 million and we realised that illegible voters out of that population was 1.4. Then we set a target of 1.2million,” he said.┬á
He said in the first voter registration held in October last year they registered 478┬á148 voters.
“We were hoping to close the gap with the just ended supplementary registration but the turnout was very low,” he said.
If the figure is less than 100┬á000 Maroba said, the total figure for the eligible voters for the upcoming general elections would be 500 000.
“Stakeholders including the IEC would be worried by these figures. If 500┬á000 people were to go to the polls, then we should be worried about our democracy. That is why I say that there is likelihood that there is going to be another supplementary voter registration,” he said.
Maroba said initially they had learnt from media reports that voters did not turn out in large numbers citing delay by various political parties to hold primary elections.
“In the first voter registration we were aware of people’s complaints as some of them argued that their political parties held primary elections late. But since majority of the parties have since held their primary elections it is still unclear as to why we are still recording low numbers,” said Maroba.
The IEC spokesperson said they had recorded the largest number of voters in areas where people are believed to have no access to information.
“What is interesting is that people who have access to information are not registering to vote. People who are believed to be enlightened and have access to information, there is low turnout. We recorded low registered people in Gaborone and Francistown but recorded large numbers in Chobe and Bobirwa areas,” he said.
In the first voter registration, Gaborone South registered 4 522 followed by Francistown East with 4 915 and Mogoditshane with 5 745.Lerala-Maunatlala registered 12 727, Ngami: 12 428 and Sefhare-Ramokgonami registered 11 770.
The Commission according to Maroba has done its assignment to sensitize the public on the importance of registering for the polls and it was disappointing that they failed to reach their target.