- Former president blasts judiciary on EVM defeat
- Reveals that some BDP members do not want the EVM
The former president, Ian Khama has heaped all the blame on the suspension of the controversial Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) on the judiciary, further blaming them of sabotage and feet-dragging on a case of national significance.
In an interview with this publication at his residence this week, Khama said the judiciary is to blamed for what happened, “the judiciary is to blame for everything that happened. How do you drag your feet on a case such as that one when you know the elections are just around the corner,” he said further expressing hope that those in power will not cancel the development.
“I am disappointed with the courts on this one. Of course they are independent and should be but I strongly disagree with them on this one. But at-least it’s just a suspension,” he said.
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) had taken government to court regarding the use of EVM in the 2019 elections arguing that all sections of the Electoral (Amendment) Act No. 7 of 2016, which provide for the replacement of voting by Ballot Paper by EVMs be declared unconstitutional and in violation of Section 32 (3) (c) of the Constitution of Botswana be set aside and struck out. The 2016 Act introduced changes including electronic voting, abolition of supplementary registration, increased nomination fees and fines, amongst others.
The former president says if there is anybody to be blamed for the introduction of the EVM it has to be the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and not him or the ruling party, “It was the IEC who wanted the EVM, I know some members of the BDP did not want it but we adequately consulted contrary to popular belief,” he said. Batswana and the opposition were consulted and as is a norm in any democracy some agreed with the development while some did not,” he said further adding that the Indians responsible for the machine were advised to address the paper trail concerns.
Meanwhile the IEC has always distanced themselves away from the EVMs referring all media questions to the office of the president.
President Masisi recently announced that the EVMs issue needs proper and adequate consultation. He promised that he was going to engage all, particularly the opposition and delivered the promise.
In August his office, informed the public that since the Electoral (Amendment) Act of 2016 is not in operation, the 2019 General Elections will be conducted in accordance with the Electoral Act [Cap. 02:09], which does not provide for the use of EVMs, nor prohibits supplementary registration.
Political parties however argue that Masisi has not done anything different but was merely suspending the process due to limited time and complications brought by the BCP.
In 2016, the then Minister for Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Administration, Eric Molale told Parliament that the budget estimate for the EVM project is P140 million.
He stated that the estimated amount would cater for the procurement of the EVMs, voter education and training of poll staff on EVMs. Khama said his understanding is that the machines were not yet procured.