- Document purportedly released by group encourages members to defy court ruling
- Document details plans to station agents at polling stations to monitor voter registration
- Bloodcurdling document a source of concern for the IEC and other election stakeholders
The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has clarified that inspite of its concerns about the group, no violation of the recent Court of Appeal or police case arising from that has been registered against Madibelatlhopho of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).
The IEC recently expressed concerns about alleged threats made by Madibelatlhopho to deploy two agents at each polling station to monitor and observe the general voter registration process.
The concerns arose from a document circulating on various social media platforms, purportedly released by Madibelatlhopho, titled “Guidelines on Monitoring and Observation of the General Voter Registration Process.”
According to the IEC, the document outlined plans to deploy two agents per polling station for monitoring and observing the registration process, including registering voters.
These plans, the IEC stated, stand in direct contradiction of the recent Court of Appeal ruling on the matter.
However, the IEC has told The Botswana Gazette that no violation has been recorded so far and no police case has initiated against Madibelatlhopho.
“We have not encountered any breaches of the Court of Appeal ruling or the Electoral Act,” said IEC spokesman, Osupile Maroba, in an interview “Consequently, no cases have been registered against Madibelatlhopho or any of our stakeholders.”
In response to these developments, the IEC has issued a set of advisories to its stakeholders and voters warning that the voters registration process in Botswana is a regulated activity governed by both the Constitution of the Republic and the Electoral Act.
The advisories emphasise that voter registration is not a free-for-all engagement and that adherence to the rule of law is essential to ensure that voters are not interfered with or are intimidated in the course of exercising their constitutional right to register for elections.
In terms of the Court of Appeal ruling of 19 December 2023, only the IEC has the constitutional mandate to register voters for elections. The IEC emphasises that it should exercise this mandate without fear, favour or interference from any stakeholders, even those dissatisfied with the law as it currently stands.
The IEC advisories also warn against any individuals presenting themselves at polling stations as registration agents for any political party during the voter registration process from 5 January to 3 February 2024.
Such behaviour, the advisories warn, will be considered unlawful, and the IEC will do everything to ensure that all its activities are executed in line with the law.