‘Feel free to go to court!’Mogae tells Opposition

Sharon Mathala

Although he believes last week’s general elections were ‘free and fair’, former President, Festus Mogae has encouraged those who feel otherwise to take their grievances to the courts of law.

In a brief interview with The Voice this week, when askedfor his views on a potential court battle between opposition parties and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Mogae responded, “Any contender from the just ended elections, who feels they have a strong enough case to contest the results, should be free to approach the courts.”

The country’s third President, who ruled from 1998 to 2008, went on to say,“The polls have been hailed by International Election Observers as free and fair. Botswana is a democracy and also subscribes fully to the rule of law and The Electoral act has clear provisions for any possible electoral petition.”

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In the build-up to the elections, with the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) seemingly gaining momentum, many predicted the opposition might wrestle power away from the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

However, BDP once again proved their superiority at the polls, romping to victory to claim 38 of the 57 constituencies available.

When asked for his views on the election, Mogae, who turned 80 in August, reiterated, “The elections confirmed our long standing democratic tradition and reputation, since independence, of conducting elections peacefully, freely and fairly. The elections were observed by international partners, including SADC and the African Union. Their preliminary statements are public information, and confirmed that the polls were indeed free and fair.”

When asked if he was aware of the rumours that President MokgweetsiMasisi allegedly intends to initiate criminal charges against his predecessor, Ian Khama, Mogae insisted this was news to him.

“I am not aware of such reports so I will not speculate,” he said.

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