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Botswana voting results trickle in after slight delays

The country’s Independent Electoral Commission said it only started verifying ballot papers around midnight due to the high volumes of voters.

Hundreds of people still hadn’t voted when stations closed at 7 pm on Wednesday but those already in queues were allowed to cast their votes. Picture: Nthakoana Ngatane/EWN.

GAROBONE - Results have started trickling in Botswana after a slight delay.

The country’s Independent Electoral Commission said it only started verifying ballot papers around midnight due to the high volumes of voters.

Hundreds of people still hadn’t voted when stations closed at 7 pm on Wednesday but those already in queues were allowed to cast their votes.

Opposition party Umbrella for Democratic Change has already complained about irregularities, but the IEC hopes there won’t be any need to recount ballots.

IEC spokesperson Osupile Maroba: “Sometimes we are saved by margins… if the margins are of hundreds, then a recount won’t make any logic and may discourage calls for a recount.”

Maroba said vote counting was moving at a good pace: “We’re about to reach half of the 490 local government polling results. By this afternoon, we will have two National Assembly districts. Some started verification around 12 midnight; we believe they started counting soon after.”

The full results of the vote are expected by midday on Friday and the voter turnout will also be announced then.

VOTING NOT CREDIBLE, SAYS UDC

The UDC said the election process was not credible.

It alleged that the governing Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) paid for votes and used intelligence services to undermine the process.

The UDC said the BDP colluded with intelligence to compromise-free, fair and transparent elections in Botswana.

The IEC’s Osupile Marobahas responded to this: "We had noticed that some voters were not on the roll that was destined for a particular polling station but upon query in the system these names were found to be somewhere else within the constituency and if that name appeared valid then the arrangement was made to take the page of that particular voter to where she had a card for voting."

Maroba said voters that were turned away from voting stations on Wednesday were found to be registered elsewhere, while others didn’t want to admit that they were registered more than once.

"If they were honest to admit that they registered twice we would ask them to locate a registration card consistent with the record and they would be able to vote, there is no way you can have two records in one voters roll."

Political parties have 30 days after the announcement of the results to appeal.

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