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IEC appeals to political leaders

Political leaders have been requested to assist the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to sensitise communities about the forthcoming voter registration exercise.

The 10-week exercise is expected to commence on September 3 to November 11.

The IEC chief information officer, Mr Dintle Rapoo made the appeal when briefing Ngamiland councillors about the state of the preparedness for 2019.

He lobbied for their support and informed them that as key stakeholders, they should work hand in hand with the commission to sensitise Batswana about electoral processes to help the commission achieve its mandate.

IEC targets to register all eligible voters, which Mr Rapoo said calls for massive and inclusive publicity using all available platforms.

The leaders were urged to encourage their electorates to ensure their identity cards were renewed to be able to vote during the 2019 national elections.

Mr Rapoo said the Department of Civil and National Registration has indicated that 1 592 350 Batswana would be eligible to register by November 11.

The commission, he said was also concerned with the high number of expired cards, which if not renewed, their owners would not participate in the voter registration exercise.

He, however, appreciated efforts by the department in eradicating the backlog.

He added the commission was also doing all in its power to assist the department to ensure the cards were renewed before the commencement of the voter registration exercise.

Mr Rapoo said the commission assists national registration staff with transport during extension services.

He also explained that the registration period has been elongated to provide for registration in line with the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2016.

Political leaders also learnt that the act has no commencement date as yet, but IEC continues to sensitise stakeholders and the general public on the amendments as a precautionary measure.

Mr Rapoo informed councillors about the amendments in the bill, which he said awaits tabling to Parliament adding that they had expected it to be discussed during the ongoing session.

“Unfortunately, it was not amongst the prioritised bills and we hope it will be discussed in the next session scheduled for November,” he added.

If the bill is not discussed and signed, he said, the amendments would not apply as expected and there would be supplementary registration.

Mr Rapoo also said the two cases before the high court have an impact on the preparations for the 2019 general elections.

In the first case, Botswana Congress Party (BCP) is contesting the constitutionality of the Electoral (Amendment) Act, 2016.

He said the case was still before the Francistown High Court and would commence in August this year.

The second case is similar to that of the BCP and it involves the National Amalgamated Local and Central Government and Parastatal Workers Union and Mr Johnson Motshwarakgole.

Mr Rapoo observed that the new case has the possibility of delaying the disposal of the matter further.

“The cases are putting us in a tight corner as we do not know whether we will use the old act or the amended bill,” he said. ENDS

 

Source : BOPA

Author : Esther Mmolai

Location : MAUN

Event : Council Meeting

Date : Jun 28 Thu,2018

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