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Court to determine IEC’s objection to inspection of ballot boxes

The High Court will on Wednesday hear arguments on why the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has moved to object to the inspection of election material.

After seemingly to be in agreement in open court for an inspection of election material to be done in the presence of lawyers of the parties, initially set for Saturday morning, the IEC last Friday turned around and objected to the inspection.

The notice of objection reads in part; “the first respondent (the IEC) objects to the inspection of the cast ballots, spoiled ballots, unused ballots, ballot paper verification account, statistic and all papers issued per polling station and ballot envelope account;”

The IEC further says it objects to the inspection on the basis that “the petitioners have failed to demonstrate good and sufficient cause to inspect the documents above. Further the documents are irrelevant to proving and or disapproving any fact in issue, as identified in pleadings before court.”

The inspection of the ballot have since been halted pending the Wednesday decision after the registrar of the high court noted that he was constrained to allow for an inspection after the objection.

Speaking to Voice Online, UDC lawyer Boingotlo Bogopa explained the move by the IEC as nonsensical.

Six of the disputed election petition cases have proceeded to trial including that of former member of Parliament of Gantsi North, Noah Salakae, while others are before the Court of Appeal after being turned down by the High Court in a majority ruling.

Meanwhile the BDP this morning (Monday 13th) issued a statement questioning the Court of Appeal’s jurisdiction over election petitions of MP candidates that were thrown out by the High Court.

“The Court of Appeal will on the 29th January 2019 listen to the appeals of 15 MP Candidates and one Council Candidate that were recently dismissed by the High Court. The BDP has through its attorneys raised a preliminary point that the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction on appeals from decisions of the High Court on election petitions of MP candidates. The Court of Appeal may only hear appeals from decisions of the High Court concerning Council Candidates and thus may only listen to the Ramatsebanyana Appeal,”

The party says it has obliged to the request of the Court that the fifteen (15) appeal cases be consolidated into one (1) as arguments are similar in all. “As the Party in government, we call for an expedited verdict to allow for efficient conduct of the business of government and ensuring calm to the nation as we move on past the 2019 general elections. The BDP reiterates its firm believes in the rule of law, an independent judiciary and free and fair elections for our continued legacy as a beacon of democracy in Africa.”

@sharonmathala
sharonm@thevoicebw.com

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