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BDP quash UDC election petitions

•UDC’s petitions do not incriminate our candidates- BDP

Botswana Democratic Party has moved swiftly to counter a petition lodged by the Umbrella for Democratic Change before the courts seeking nullification of election results in some of the constituencies that were won by the ruling party.

The Voice is in possession of the notices to oppose by the BDP and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) lawyers. The BDP has made known their intentions to have the UDC petitions quashed through points of law.

The BDP, through court papers served to the UDC this Wednesday, point out to certain irregularities and failure on the part of the UDC to meeting certain requirements to constitute a petition according to the Electoral Act.

In the court papers the BDP say that it is common knowledge that the UDC want the High Court to declare the constituencies void on the basis of corrupt practices, commission of illegal practices by the BDP, DISS and connivances of certain officers employed by the IEC.

“The petitions do not disclose facts necessary to enable the High Court to make a decision under Section (105) 1 of the Electoral Act. Without these material facts the High Court cannot void the election. The remedy is therefore not available to the petitioners,” read the court papers.

The BDP through their lawyers further state that the petitioners attribute the commission of the corrupt illegal practices to certain officers from the BDP being President Mokgweetsi Masisi, Satar Dada, Mpho Balopi, Dr Comma Serema, Banks Kentse and Moemedi Baikalafi aided by the DISS and certain officers from the IEC.

The BDP argues that the UDC failed to prove that the candidates in the disputed constituencies were engaged in “the commission of corrupt and illegal practices of BDP candidates or with the knowledge and or consent of any of their election or polling agents. The candidates have not been put on notice that the corrupt and illegal practices are attributed to them or their polling agents,”

The BDP also dismiss other petitioners citing that in other constituencies the UDC failed to give the other candidates including those of the Alliance for Progressives (AP) the chance to participate in the election petition. “They say they consulted Ndaba Gaolathe but he was not the candidate of the constituencies in question,” the BDP argue.

Turning to the affidavits made by Baikalafi, which the UDC heavily rely on, the BDP have also quashed his claims citing that they are not lawfully authenticated.

“Without a verifying affidavit, the petition in so far as they relate to ascertation attributed to Moemedi Baikalafi are a nulidity,” the papers read.

The main respondents, the IEC which is the body responsible for the running of the electoral process, on the other hand argue that their part in the petitions is not clearly stated by the UDC- as the law dictates.

They further argue that the IEC is not properly before court in respect that all remedies and reliefs that the petitioner seeks against the commission are incompetent. “This is more so the Petitioner challenges the elections that were conducted by the 1st respondent (the IEC).”

The UDC and its candidates are expected to respond to the BDP and thereafter a date will be set for arguments. The judges have said that the cases are a matter of urgency and should be dealt with and disposed of in 90 days (by next year February).

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