BY MPHO KELEBOGE
Former Botswana Democratic Party Members of parliament Robert Masitara and Ndelu Seretse are amongst disgruntled politician to stand as independent candidates for the year 2019.
Six months before the national election, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has received and approved almost 150 independent candidates from different constituencies across the country.
The Sunday Standard investigations have revealed that Masitara was approved last year 13 November 2018 while Seretse was approved on the 22 February 2019.
The Sunday Standard is in a possession of documents relating to time taken to appoint and time taken to respond to an independent candidate.
Both Seretse and Masitara were members in parliament from 2009 until 2014 under the BDP ticket. They lost the BDP primary elections for the 2014.
Seretse previously confirmed to our sister publication that people of Serowe are confident in him and asked him to stand as an independent (mokoko) against the BDP candidate Kgotla Autlwetse for a parliamentary seat.
Although the IEC was cagey with information, the Public Relations Officer, Kabelo Hulela confirmed that they have received and approved 15 applications for parliamentary independent candidates (mekoko) and 128 independent councilors country wide.
One of the notable independent candidates who lost BDP primary election is Abdal Kadar Badat. He has been approved as prospective independent candidates for the year 2019.
In Zimbabwe, one of the local Newspaper Bussinessday in 2018 quoted one of the political analysts Eldred Masunungure saying there are two drivers responsible for the surge in independents. “The first is really a protest stance by political players, who feel aggrieved by their party’s handling of the primary elections; the second is a reflection of the opening up of the political space where more players can come in without fear of reprisal by authorities. In that sense, there has been a fundamental shift in the macro-political space since November last year.”
Even then, getting enough votes to win is a tall ask for an independent. Harare resident Patience Phiri says voting for an independent candidate would depend largely on whether the candidate has demonstrated knowledge of the task ahead. “I am not going to try and put into power a hungry and clueless person, as that will only worsen my own situation.
In Botswana the only parliamentary candidates who made history was Nehemiah Modubule who won the 2009-2014 election as an independent candidates. (mokoko)
According to IEC, in 2014 there were 29 independent candidates and non of them won ant parliamentary seat and it remains to be seen if any of the registered independent candidates for the year 2019 will win any political seat as a mokoko.
IEC Public Relations Officer,Kabelo Hulela said it is a closing date today for supplementary registration. Hulela further said IEC has open another supplementary registration which will now be done in all the polling station statritng 15 April to 28 April.
He urged members of the public to come register in numbers to vote in the upcoming national election.