Monday, May 17, 2021

PAC puts the IEC chief on the spot

It has surfaced that the Independence Electoral Commission (IEC) through parliament has crafted the law that suits only Bharat Electronic Limited against any other company in the world to be the sole providers of the Electronic Voteing Machines.

This is the reasoning behind Bharat being the only company selected deliberately selected by IECas supplier of EVMs to be used in Botswana.

This was revealed through exchange of heated questions from different MP’s particularly specially elected Member of Parliament Bogolo Kenewendo who had wanted to know why Bharat Company was recommended and allowed to market itself in Botswana without inviting other suppliers.

IEC Secretary General Keireng Zuze who was appearing before Parliamentary Accounts Committee said they selected Bharat Company after taking into consideration all the research  undertaken from all the benchmarking trips in India, Namibia Netherlands and Brazil amongst others. 

Hounourable Kenewendo persisted with the question: “Under what condition did you recommend Bharat Electronic limited?”

‘’We took into consideration the law as it is and when we searched around in the world there was no other company which provided EVM’s which are battery operated,” Zuze.

Zuze said she was not part of the framers of the law but research gathered by IEC team of expert’s shows that Bharat electronics was the only suitable company in the world to supply the EVM’s.

Kenewendo said the reason why she was asking was because recently when they were here it was said Bharat wanted to market themselves

“And so one would wonder if there are no other suppliers that would  market themselves as well to ensure that the nation is comfortable with the final machines to be used,” she said.

“I would say they were here because we had requested them to come and show us by demonstrating on how the machines operate, ”said Zuze

Taking a ride from Kenewendo’s line of questioning, Member of Parliament for Selebi Phikwe West, Dithapelo Keorapetse further asked the IEC boss if she is aware that before the Bill was tabled in Parliament MP’s were taken to Namibia, China and to an electronic factory in Netherlands.

How did you know that the law that was coming would only favour Bharat Electronics in terms of conformity? Asked Keorapetse.

“Our research indicates that they are the only company that meets the requirements of Botswana law and that’s why we chose them,” said Zuze.

Zuze said they will continue to educate Batswana on the use of EVM across the country but admitted that they are currently experiencing some challenges as evidence by low turnout of voters.

Zuze was at pains to explain the lack of popularity of EVM’s across the country although she put before the committee that 52% of Batswana are conversant in using the machine.

She failed to explain how she gathered the 52% popularity safe to say by way of questions.

She was asked by MP Kenewendo which methodology was used of which she failed to answer and she was advised by the committee to draft some questionnaire to the voters to answer on whether they are comfortable with the machine or not.

The IEC boss has admitted being aware of Botswana Congress Party court case.

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