BDP to reject Boko’s motion for electoral reform

  • BDP caucus believes UDC wants to use motion to justify its alleged vote rigging allegations

GAZETTE REPORTER

A caucus of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has resolved to reject a motion for electoral reform sponsored by the MP for Mahalapye East Yandani Boko (UDC), The Botswana Gazette has established.

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Boko tabled the motion recently and drew attention to the independence of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), which he said is questionable. Boko also called for more transparency in printing ballot papers and sought to have ballots counted at polling stations rather than at counting centres as is the case.

“This motion is not about me but the people who voted us to represent them in Parliament,” he said when tabling the motion. “Our past elections were highly disputed due to this current Electoral Act. This is a source of potential political instability in our country. So I urge the BDP to support these electoral reforms unless you (intend) to rig elections again.”

While Boko is again hoping for support from MPs of the BDP for the motion to pass, he is likely to be disappointed once again because sources say the BDP believes that the motion springs from the view of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) that the 2019 general elections were rigged.

“The BDP cannot support this motion, it is linked to that UDC view even after the court dismissed their claims,” a source said. “That is why the BDP has had a caucus to reject the motion.”

Another reason advanced at the caucus for rejecting Boko’s motion is that a constitutional review is due in the course of this year. “These proposed reforms by Boko could still be a part of the constitutional review,” the source added.

The Chief Whip of the BDP, Liakat Kablay, has confirmed that his party has resolved to reject Boko’s motion because it holds that the Electoral Act cannot be changed unless concerns are raised by Batswana.

“This motion was brought to Parliament because the UDC claimed that the 2019 elections were rigged,” Kablay said. “None of our MPs will support this motion because the current election process has no hiccups.”

Although most MPs of the BDP are yet to make their contributions to the debate on the motion, presidential affairs minister Kabo Morwaeng, who is the MP for Molepolole South , has rejected it. Dismissing the motion after being tabled, Morwaeng said electoral reforms cannot be based on the pettiness of the UDC over the results of the 2019 general elections.

“The election process that we have been using all these years works for us, hence the peace and tranquillity that still prevails,” Morwaeng said. “There is no way the IEC cannot be independent because it is guided by Section 65 of the constitution. It is not in any way influenced by the Executive as alleged. Besides, the BDP is still committed to a constitutional review and the proposed amendments could be included therein.”