Botswana Congress Party (BCP) have finally filed their founding affidavits against the use of the contentious electronic voting machine.
In his affidavit the party’s Secretary General, Kentse Rammidi, has appealed to the high court to grant them condonation for late filling of their court papers.
The BCP were able to file on the 23rd of April this year which was 9 days out of time.
“After receiving the appearance to defend, it became necessary for the party to secure expert opinion through advice particularly regarding the security and vulnerability to hacking of the EVM which machines are not commonly used in Africa. Apparently in the Southern African region they are only used in Namibia. Therefore it was not possible for the party to secure such expert advice and opinion within the limited time given by the rules of court. This issue involved the identification of competent experts, seeking their consent to give expert opinion,” Rammidi’s papers stated that.
The papers show that the delay was also due to limited resources as the state does not fund political parties and as such the party had to rely on donations from its members.
Rammidi added that the issue of the security and hacking of the EVM is a real and live matter which is to be addressed by the party.
“This matter is very important to the continued sustainability of the democracy of Botswana in that it involves the important and sacred issue of elections. The manner in which elections are held and by the extension, the manner in which the citizens of Botswana choose their government cannot be downplayed by any serious and patriotic citizen of this country,” highlighted the BCP Secretary General.
Rammidi stated that on the 4th of May the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) invited them to a demonstration of the EVM by a team of experts from the Bharat Electronics Limited, the company that was contracted to supply the machines.
“In the letter the party was invited to bring experts with the technical capabilities to hack or disrupt and compromise the secure performance of the EVM. The party did not attend the same demonstration on account of the fact that it felt that the invitation was improper in view of the pending litigation and further because it was not able to secure an expert to honor the invitation by the IEC to hack and compromise the said machines,” closed Rammidi.
The Attorney General has since filed papers opposing the BCP’s application for condonation of the late filing of declaration.
The case will continue at the Francistown High Court on the 23rd of August this year before Justice Lot Moroka.