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UDC appeal to be decided by mid February

Sharon Mathala

• Five-man bench for UDC appeal case

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) members will have to wait until January 29th for the Court of Appeal to listen to their appeal of the High court’s ruling on the coalition’s election rigging petition.

UDC’s hopes to have their petition for the disputed results of 15 constituencies heard in court were dashed last year when they lost their case on a technicality as the court dismissed their them on the basis that they did not meet legal requirements to file.

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The High court in each of the petitions, which were split in four groups held majority decision and one dissenting ruling, prompting the blue party to file appeals as a matter of urgency.

Court of Appeal Judge, Lakhvinder Singh Walia during the case’s first hearing this week ruled that the appeals be consolidated as they were similar in nature.

“These appeals are all similar in nature, rise from similar decisions, grounds of appeal are by and large similar. My prema-facie view is that the matter is of national importance. I will grant an expedited appeal,” Walia said.

Judge Walia also revealed that a full bench of five judges of the CoA was assembled to hear the appeal.

“By middle of February the whole thing can be put to bed. We have put up a panel of five judges to hear the matter,” Walia said.

The appeals will be heard on January 29th for arguments.

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Botswana went to the polls last year October in one of the historic electoral contests between two major parties, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and the UDC, as well as minority parties the Alliance for Progressives (AP), Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and newly formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).

UDC managed to garner only 15 seats out of the 54 constituencies with the heaviest blow being the loss suffered by its leader, Duma Boko to the BDP’s Annah Mokgethi.

They have now approached the courts in what they believe were some electoral irregularities and election rigging.

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