Signs are already showing that the ruling Botswana Democratic Party is going to rig this year’s general elections, an Umbrella for Democratic Change political rally was told in Gabane over the weekend.
“We have been reliably informed that the company that facilitated printing of the BDP’s Bulela ditswe primary elections’ voters rolls, which were marred with irregularities and candidates’ hullabaloo is the one the government engaged for printing of the national elections’ voters’ rolls,” said Major General Pius Mokgware, the UDC parliamentary candidate for Gabane-Mankgodi constituency.
He said voters should not be surprised if during elections they did not find their names in the voters’ rolls, or see any irregularities that characterized Bulela Ditswe. Mokgware also explained that the first registration’s voter’s roll was released very late, necessitating the question, ‘What guarantees that the final voter’s roll for the July supplementary registration would be released on time, correctly documented?’
In a brief interview after the rally, Mokgware stood his ground that there are bound to be irregularities in the forthcoming general elections. He picked three ‘facts’ that informed the UDC prediction.
Firstly, he said, the BDP MPs rejected a motion by Kanye North Mp, Kentse Rammidi, that seeks to ascertain that all political parties get public media coverage during campaigns.
“The BDP is now the only one that enjoys public media coverage. This past Friday they ran adverts in the Botswana Daily News that annulled representation by two legislators who have since left the BDP. They are misinforming readers that the duo is no longer answerable to constituents needs; and that constituents should liaise with BDP candidates in Vincent Seretse and Thapelo Olopeng if they needed legislators’ services,” he explained.
Secondly, Mokgware explained that they had heard from Pono Moatlhodi that during a BDP caucus, it was agreed that a total of P8m would be used by the party to purchase and distribute blankets and food hampers to buy votes.
Moatlhodi is the Tonota South Mp, who recently joined the Botswana National Front ÔÇô one of those the BDP advert annuls as a representative.
The strategy, he said follows findings of a survey the party conducted which informed them that they were going to lose up to 23 parliamentary seats in the forth coming elections.
“This Gabane-Mankgodi constituency is one of those the ruling party is likely to lose. Two of the four constituencies from Kgatleng are also some of those they have been cautioned about. The distribution of blankets has already started as we watched president Khama distributing them on BTV,” he said.
Thirdly, the former deputy Commander of the armed forces said the government has informed them that the public media will only cover those opposition parties’ activities where parties’ presidents would be available.
“This is unfair. We have only one president and expecting him to cover all the 57 constituencies with the limited resources we have. This is their strategy to ensure we lose as it is strenuous both resource wise and physically,” said Mokgware.
Another speaker at the rally, Wynter Mmolotsi, the Francistown South Member of Parliament, said rigging was eminent as shown by President Khama regime’s resolution not to observe the South African elections due next month.
“Because they know they are going to cheat they do not want to participate in observer mission so that other SADC countries would not observe theirs and unveil the malice that will characterize them,” he said.