The youth in Francistown have criticised the special election of politicians, saying that it demoralizes efforts to participate in voting during elections. During a workshop hosted by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) last week in Francistown, the youth took issue with the government, saying that there is need to re-look at the constitution and abolish the practice of specially elected members.
They deemed it undemocratic.
“We are demoralized in participating in elections because you will find that someone can be elected into power through special election whether you like it or not. Even if you do not vote for a candidate, you might find him the next day in a specially elected position,” said Damascus Nkwane.
One of the participants, Keaboka Sipho, also took issue with the special election of political candidates saying that it kills democracy and rules out the whole concept of voting. He said that the government should abolish it and added that there is need by candidates to fairly contest for positions and be elected by the people.
“The power should be left in the hands of the people,” he added.
Another youth, Motshabi Onthusitse, also bashed the government saying that the country is undemocratic. He continued to say that most decisions are done by certain individuals behind closed doors without any consultation. He added that if national decisions are made by certain individuals, then it is not important to vote as the elected candidates will be powerless.
“I don’t find any point to vote because, it seems, there are certain people who have the powers to make unilateral decisions without any consultation and with issues of national interest for that matter,” he said.
However, the Principal Elections Officer of IEC in Francistown, Patricia Mmoloke, who was also the coordinator of the workshop, acknowledged the concerns of the youth and said that the issue of special election of politicians is beyond their powers as IEC. She said that they can only take the concerns and make recommendations to the relevant authorities.
She encouraged the youth, saying that it is in such workshops that they can share concerns and come up with better resolutions.
“I also want the youth to invite us in their activities so that we can further discuss these issues, explain to them the mandate of IEC and to further discuss their concerns because elections form an integral part in any democracy,” she said.
The objective of the IEC workshop in Francistown was to discuss, share ideas and educate the youth on the importance of participation in elections.