- BCP writes to the commission demanding answers - BNF escalate the matter to UDC

Opposition parties have expressed concern and condemned the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) over the stolen voter registration books.

IEC admitted this week that some voter registration books have been stolen from one of their clerks in Morobela village. Botswana National Front (BNF) Secretary General Ketlhalefile Motshegwa stated this week that this is a clear indication that the IEC is failing in its mandate to protect and run credible elections.

He said the IEC has failed even to deal with elementary issues such as stationery when voter registration started.

“The IEC doesn’t have the capacity at the level of leadership to deliver credible elections. We fear that we might have elections that are not free and fair. If there is one thing that can cause chaos and instability in a country it is the mishandling of elections, as we have seen in other countries. As the BNF we want free, fair and transparent elections. Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) will deal with this issue of stolen registration books,” Motshegwa said.

The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) also expressed concern and disappointment at the theft of election registration records. BCP Parliamentary candidate for Nkange Constituency Motlhaleemang Moalosi wrote a letter to the IEC challenging the commission to take immediate action to address this critical issue.

He stated that the secrecy surrounding the theft of election registration records has left them deeply troubled. He said it is imperative that the IEC provides transparency and clarity to the nation by disclosing the specific date ranges affected by the thefts, so that individuals who may have been impacted are able to come forward and re-register.

This information, Moalosi said, is crucial for safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process and ensuring that all eligible voters are given the opportunity to participate in the upcoming elections.

“Furthermore, the current vulnerability of hundreds of thousands of registration books is unacceptable. Allowing registration officers to take these books home, where their security cannot be guaranteed, poses a significant risk to the accuracy and security of voter registration.

“In this era of advanced technology, it is perplexing that the IEC continues to rely on a manual registration process that is susceptible to theft, damage, and vandalism. It is imperative that the IEC prioritises the implementation of secure and technologically-driven voter registration processes to prevent future incidents of theft and to ensure the safety and accuracy of voter records,” the letter reads.

Moalosi indicated that as a candidate and on behalf of the constituents, he is deeply disheartened by the theft of election registration records.

"Our commitment to encouraging voter participation and facilitating the democratic process extends to ensuring the security and integrity of voter registration," he said.

The BCP candidate emphasised that the theft of these records not only undermines the trust and confidence of the public, but it also jeopardises the efforts and resources invested in mobilising individuals to participate in the electoral process.

He added, “we strongly urge the IEC to take immediate and decisive action to address these critical concerns and to implement robust measures to secure and modernise the voter registration process. The casual approach to the security of voter registration records is unacceptable, and it is imperative that the IEC demonstrates a commitment to safeguarding the integrity of the electoral process and upholding the fundamental rights of voters.”