The Independence Electoral Commission (IEC) has confirmed that it is preparing for the up-coming Francistown West by-election and a forceful voter registration campaign.
Despite two pending Appeals Court cases linked to the by-election, Secretary of the Commission, Gabriel Seeletso, said that the elections would go ahead as scheduled because the IEC is not a party to the cases involving the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and veteran politician Whyte Marobela.
“The Elections are to be held on the 25 January 2014 and polling stations will open at 6:30 and will close at 7pm,” said Seeletso.
The IEC is even unfazed by suggestions that the BDP whose candidate Mokwaledi Moswaane has been barred from contesting the by-election is lobbying the Office of the President to call off the by-election.
“Our officers are normally trained before the taking of a poll…since we engage temporary employees there might be a need for fresh training exercise before the polling date,” said Seeletso.
Marobela and BDP appeals are set to be heard by the Appeals Court.
“We have not been served with any court papers that will demand something from us,” he said.
With nine months before the general elections, the IEC also intends to commence the second phase of its voter registration period to hit the 1.4 million target.
Seeletso said that the commission had registered over 400┬á000 eligible voters.
He observed that despite their efforts to sensitize members of the public a lot of Batswana were not in a hurry to register.
IEC will start voter registration on the 21ST February and end on March 2.
“We are hoping that Batswana will turn up in large numbers to register,” said Seeletso.
“I am confident that the two weeks or period for supplementary registration will be ample time to enable those that did not register the first time to register now,” he said.