Botswana Ruling Party Member Claims 'vote Rigging' In October Election
Faizan Hashmi 2 months ago Thu 12th December 2019 | 10:40 AM
Gaborone, Botswana, (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 12th Dec, 2019 ) :A Botswana ruling party member has claimed to have taken part in vote rigging during the October election that allowed President Mokgweetsi Masisi to win a five-year term.
The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won 38 out of 57 seats in the October 23 parliamentary elections, leaving runner-up Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) with just 15 seats and prompting opposition outcry.
The UDC filed a legal challenge against the outcome of the polls last month, citing "irregularities in some of the constituencies".
In an affidavit filed in court and seen by AFP on Wednesday, BDP member Emmanuel Mohalodi admitted that he and "other BDP trusted activists" allegedly carried out a "vote rigging operation" before and during the polls.
Hundreds were also dispatched to other areas.
He added that Masisi -- who secured his first elected five-year term as president after the BDP was declared winner -- was "coordinating" the operation.
Masisi has dismissed UDC claims of irregularities.
"These elections were... conducted on the basis of the Electoral Act," Masisi said during a press conference on Tuesday.
"Where do they get that incredible ridiculousness of questioning the legitimacy of our electoral law?" he asked, outraged.
BDP spokesman Banks Kentse refused to comment on the allegations of vote rigging.
BDP lawyers are calling for the case to be dismissed on the basis of technicalities.
"There is enough evidence to prove that these elections were rigged," said UDC spokesman Moeti Mohwasa in a statement on Tuesday.
"The state of affairs" is "bad for our country," he added.
But the party suffered a seismic jolt in May when former president Ian Khama renounced his hand-picked successor Masisi and backed a new party.
Instead it secured a sweeping victory.
Botswana's election "was fraudulently rigged to favour the BDP", said a South Africa-based anti-corruption organisation, Forensics for Justice, in a report last week.
The group cited Mohalodi's affidavit and sworn statements by two other BDP members, Dikanela Selaledi and Dennis Baikalafi.
Selaledi admitted he was lent a laptop by the electoral commission (IEC) on which he loaded around 10,000 duplicate voters, and created the same number of voter cards, said Forensics for Justice.
Baikalafi recalled a meeting with Masisi during which the president allegedly said the elections should be won "by all means".
- Electoral commission - Mohalodi alleges a 15 million Pula slush fund (around $1.4 million) was used to finance the vote-rigging exercise. He claims the fund was coordinated by Botswana's intelligence services.
Mohalodi said the BDP worked closely with several members of the IEC to rig the ballot.
He named one IEC official, Dintle Rapoo, as a "contact person".
BDP candidates and campaign managers allegedly gave the official memory cards with voter Names to be inserted in the IEC database.
The aim was to stuff more voters onto the electoral roll.
Rapoo declined to comment on the accusations. "It is an issue before court," he told AFP.