The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Regional Committee has ordered reruns in the parliamentary and council positions for some of the 9 wards in the Boteti East constituency.
According to a letter dated 4th October 2018 addressed to the BDP Secretary General by the Central Regional Committee, the committee looked into the appeals submitted by the aggrieved candidates and ‘‘after very careful consideration of the irregularities brought forward, the Committee decided that the results for both parliamentary and council candidates be nullified and fresh elections be carried out for both parliamentary and council candidates for Mokubilo- Mmeya ward’’.
Some of the irregularities that were raised by the candidates were that people who could not read and write or were blind were assisted by the Presiding officers and directed to drop their ballot papers in the ballot box without the voter confirming whether the name on the ballot was of his or her preferred candidate. The Committee reported that candidates were voted for in their absence and no voter verification and reconciliation was done before and after elections. Another grievance was that during counting, there was no consistency of which ballot paper should be counted as spoiled. A re-counting was also refused by the Returning Officer and the ballot boxes stayed overnight and the results were never announced.
In some instances it was discovered that election officers were inexperienced, immature and lacked knowledge of the electoral processes. Some voters arrived only to find that they had been marked as having voted in their absence and some pages were found missing in the voters roll. Candidates were not informed of the counting at Mokubilo, save for the incumbent Lelatisitswe Sethomo a finding that reflected a violation of the party constitution which requires that all candidates be present during the counting of ballots.
The Committee however did not grant a rerun at Letlhakane West ward because the appellant did not furnish the other candidate with the grounds of her appeal within the stipulated seven days as per clause 12 C (ii) of the BDP constitution. Boteti East is the only constituency that had its results withheld after the party’s final primary elections on August 25 after parliamentary candidates Kenanao Mmopi, Lilian Thanke and Oboetswe Gabotlale refused to accept the results citing irregularities in the voting process.
The battle is centred on incumbent Lelatisitswe Setlhomo and Oboetswe Gabotlale who is so far giving Setlhomo a run for his money. Gabotlale, popularly known by his moniker Obees in the Boteti area, is hailed as dynamic and strategic thinker with a capacity to adapt to issues. He graduated with a Masters Degree in Educational Management and Administration from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom after studying for his undergraduate studies at the University of Botswana.