Court award UDC temporary relief
11 Nov 2023
Francistown High Court on Friday has ruled that the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) must be allowed to have its clerks observe and monitor the general election registration process.
The verdict, by Justice Gaolapelwe Ketlogetswe, also means that the respondent, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) will shoulder the legal costs of the interlocutory application including those of the legal counsel.
The ruling follows a gridlock between UDC and IEC on the constitutionality or none therefore of the matter, which resulted in the former approaching the court for intervention.
A rule nisi was issued on October 31, calling upon the respondent in the matter, being IEC and any other interested parties to show cause why an order that allows the UDC registration agents or clerks to observe and monitor the egistration process should not be upheld.
The order also directed and ordered the IEC to allow UDC to observe and monitor the national elections registration exercise, including having its agents or clerks record the names and national identity card numbers of the people registering to vote and recording the serial numbers of the registration booklets for each and every registration day at the opening and closing thereof.
The two parties met on November 04, at the Francistown High Court where they argued their case and based on those deliberations Justice Ketlogetswe on Friday ruled that UDC was entitled to the confirmation of the rule nisi issued on October 31, albeit with a few amendments.
“Pending the final determination of an application determining the extent of the applicant’s constitutional right to observe and monitor national election registration, which application was filed on the 3rd November 2023, the respondent or anyone acting through the respondent or any other party at all, is interdicted and restrained from preventing the applicant’s agents, whose full particulars the applicant shall provide to the respondent, from observing and monitoring the national registration process scheduled to start on November 13,” said Justice Ketlogetswe.
Furthermore, Justice Ketlogetswe directed and ordered IEC to allow UDC to observe and monitor the national elections registration exercise, including having UDC’s agents record the names and national identity card numbers of the people registering to vote and record the serial numbers of the registration booklets for each and every registration day.
“The applicant shall deploy no more than two of such agents per polling station,“ he instructed. The orders according to Justice Ketlogetswe shall operate as final orders with immediate effect.
Meanwhile, the high court is scheduled to reconvene next Wednesday for the substantive application hearing on whether or not the Constitution has a provision that allows clerks at the registration stage of the electoral cycle. ENDS
Source : BOPA
Author : Mooketsi Mojalemotho
Location : FRANCISTOWN
Event : COURT
Date : 11 Nov 2023