Thursday, March 4, 2021

Serowe primary elections shocker

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Electoral Board chaired by Parks Tafa has ordered a re-run for the whole Serowe North-East constituency where Minister of Defence Justice and Security Dikgakgamatso Seretse had lost to Kgotla Autlwetse. In another shocking development, the board has removed from the voters roll more than 800 people who had voted in the nullified primary elections.

Seretse had filed a complaint to the board evoking regulations 9f of the party primary elections which calls for a re-run in an event of irregularity in ward elections or whole constituency with respect parliamentary elections.

In a letter written to all Serowe North-East parliament and council candidates, Tafa says that the board is constrained by a clear regulation of the primary elections rules and regulations which it cannot simply ignore ‘regardless of its consequences’. As part of the reasons for the re-run of the whole constituency is that “we have found strong evidence of a large number of civil servants totalling 884 who appear on the Voters’ rolls for Serowe North for Serowe North. This is disturbing revelations for the reason that such civil servants are barred from participating in our party primary elections by the Public Service Act and the General Orders.”

He further stated that his board has considered detailed responses from 16 candidates in support of the re-run of the whole constituency against 13 candidates opposed to the re-run of the whole constituency. Tafa also announced that the re- election will be held on the 7th of December. The same voter’ rolls that were used in the disputed primary elections would be used in the re-run but “excluding all civil servants appearing on the voter’ rolls. His letter has also shocked some council candidates who had won the primary elections. They are of the view that, it would be illigal to call fresh elections in their wards when winners were announced and no protests made.

The councillors are saying it was wrong for Tafa to invite all council candidates to make an input over parliamentary results when they were never contested for parliamentary seat. “He relied on the majority of councillors who lost the primary elections in making a decision for a re-election. That is unfair and unlawful. That is why we questioned his decision to call for re-runs because he has no that power,” said one councillor in a telephone interview with this publication. The councillor also opines that the BDP has always enjoyed membership of civil servants; he says it is hypocritical for the party to denounce them just because they might have voted Autlwetse.

In addition he has questioned the basis for the party to continue with Block B primary elections when the party has complained of civil servants activism. “They should have halted all the elections for Block B so that they remove all civil servants in the voters’ roll as they seem determined to do with Serowe North…..the rules should apply equally…the same thing that they want to do at Serowe North must also be done all constituencies,” he said.

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