Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) leader Duma Boko over the weekend sent a strong message to President Ian Khama warning him not to sign a Bill seeking to introduce electronic voting machines.
Speaking at a combined UDC, Botswana Congress Party (BCP) rally held at the weekend Boko warned Khama that come 2019 they won’t be any attempts by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to rig elections using electronic voting machines.
“I am warning them today; I am sending this message to them. I am saying there won’t be any rigged elections while we watch; take my words, pass them to Khama, pass them to Masisi and their bootlickers. I am saying they won’t be any rigged elections in 2019,” said Boko.
The UDC leader said his movement will only allow elections to be held when right procedures had been followed. Boko reiterated that they would accept the use of Electronic Voting Machines only when there is a paper trail.
“We will not recognise the law on the introduction of Electronic Voting Machines in our electoral process because this law is oppressive and it is meant to be manipulated by the ruling party to cheat during 2019 general elections,” he said.
Boko added that “It has no purchase on our loyalty; it has no claim on legitimacy; it is unjust; it is not law, an unjust law is no law.”
Boko said any government can only be important to its people if it only respects and represents its people well.
He said a good Government would know that all resources belonging to government belongs to the public not individuals holding offices in government.
Government officials are only appointed to ensure that there is services delivery and to make sure that resources are taken care of.
“The public has a right to disagree with whatever that might be oppressive imposed on them by government. We are saying this to President Khama; make sure that the idea of using electronic Voting machines does not take off,” said Boko.
UDC says as an opposition party they have a mandate to stand for democracy and they will stand for peace that this country is known for.
“It stops now, we are tired of their oppressive way of ruling, and this is why in 2019 government is going to change. It’s up to the ruling party whether the change of government will be done peaceful with the right electoral process or other ways that they as the ruling party will tell us about because this one of using electronic voting machines we will not condone it,’ said Boko.
According to Botswana Movement for Democracy Chairman Nehemiah Modubule the BDP has a history of cheating during the elections when they realise that the scales are tilting in favour of the opposition. He said the BDP ensured that elections were held less than five years after the country had gained independent upon learning that Kgosi Bathoen II had joined the Botswana National Front (BNF).
“The country had gained independence in 1966 and the elections were supposed to have been held in 1970. But when the BDP realized that Bathoen II had joined politics they called for elections in 1969 instead of 1970,” said Modubule. He added that democracy in Botswana has been a fallacy adding that when Sir Seretse Khama ruled the country the electoral process was managed by the Permanent Secretary to the President.
Modubule said it was only after BNF had warned that there won’t be peaceful elections if the electoral process was still going to be managed from the Office of the President. He said it was then a small office for Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) was established. Modubule implored the opposition to pile pressure on the BDP to reconsider the use of electronic voting.