Tuesday, May 18, 2021

IEC working on reducing Khama’s powers

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) wants to take away President Khama’s power to issue the writ of elections The commission wants to be given the mandate of issuing the writ of elections which is currently the prerogative of the president IEC Accounting Officer, Keireng Zuze told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Friday. Zuze was responding to questions from Selibe Phikwe West Member of Parliament Dithapelo Keorapetse who wanted to know if there are any electoral reforms that IEC is proposing which may enable them as an electoral management body to do their work more efficiently.

Keorapetse also wanted the IEC Accounting Officer, to elaborate on the IEC having a mandate to issue a writ of elections and also the entrenchment of the Election Day in the constitution, “We know that in other jurisdictions notably the United States….. In the US we all know that Tuesday after the first Monday of November after every four years there is elections. Even now everybody knows when the next election will be in the US. I want to hear from you if this is something that can be doable,” Keorapetse said.

Zuze said currently the law requires that the election writ be issued by the President. “After every general election we call our critical stakeholders to look into how the election went on so that we can assist each other where we feel they are gaps.” She the last stakeholders meeting recommended changes on who should be tasked with issuing the writ of elections and how the Elections day should be decided.

“We believe we need to tighten up and there are a number of recommendations which we also think that something needs to be done in terms of legislation, those recommendations are currently on the table of the commission and in the not so far distant future the recommendations will reach the executive and hopefully the recommendations will also reach Parliament.” Keorapetse further wanted to understand why the commission cannot allow Batswana to use other authorised identification documents like driver’s licences and passport to cast votes.

“These are official documents authenticated by the government, don’t you thinking that going forward it will be helpful to allow other identification documents to be used at the polls during voting day to try to curb possible incidences where voters are turned away because their national identity cards have expired or they have lost them Zuze said they are currently looking into the issue of identification documents, “we have benchmarked with other neighbouring countries. This is something that we are looking into because we also realise that it is the reason why we get low turnout during voting day.”

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