Bots voter registration off to a slow start


Gabarone- swana’s voter registration exercise got off to a slow start, with most registration centres recording low turnout, as the southern African state readies for general elections next year.

Voter registration started on October 4 and ends on October 27. Botswana has scheduled the next round of registration for March 2014, followed by another one in June.

According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the target for the next general elections is 1.1 million registrations or 80 percent of the 1.4 million eligible voters. An IEC official, Dintle Rapoo, says the first days of registration “were not pleasing”, adding that some areas registered as little as 12 voters per day. However, Rapoo did not have full figures immediately available.

Rapoo is therefore calling on eligible voters to come in large numbers, and has warned that waiting for the last minute to flock to the voter registration centres could be hampered by technical glitches.

Botswana’s President, Lieutenant-General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, is yet to issue a writ of elections.

IEC Secretary, Gabriel Seeletso, has been quoted saying that the President had previously committed himself not to deviate from the norm of holding general elections in October.

As a result, Seeletso urged political parties and faith-based organisations to encourage Batswana to register for the 2014 elections in large numbers.

He also appealed to all parties to put aside their party colours and encourage eligible voters to register in large numbers. He encouraged parties to educate their members on the importance of voting.

Seeletso noted that since politicians are not guaranteed votes from those following them at the moment, it was important that they urged every eligible Motswana to register. He further encouraged Batswana to ensure that their national identity cards were valid.

Seeletso noted that about 1.4 million Batswana had identity cards and about one million were eligible to vote.

Therefore, Seeletso called on party members to encourage Batswana to renew their identity cards, highlighting that identity cards could be renewed even when left with 11 months.

Next year’s elections promise to be exciting with the public service union promising to bring change through the ballot. The deputy secretary-general of the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU), Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, says they will partly focus on trying to unify civil society and make their voices heard. He says their intention is to ensure that the politicians that they are going to vote for have the interests of the working class at heart. 

“We will ensure that workers register and vote. As unions, we have decided to work with the parties that have the interest of workers at heart,” he said.

October 2013
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