Botswana court grants opposition access to poll material

APA-Gaborone (Botswana)

Botswana's High court has granted the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) permission to inspect materials used in last year’s disputed elections.

The court on Wednesday threw out an application by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) to block a request by the UDC to be allowed to inspect the material as part of the evidence gathering process in its ongoing challenge of the outcome of parliamentary elections in certain constituencies.

In its ruling, the court said all political parties that participated in the October 2019 general elections are entitled to inspect materials used in the polls, which is kept by the Court Registrar.

The High Court ordered the UDC to complete the inspection by 21 January.

The UDC has lodged 16 petitions with the High Court in which it accuses the BDP, IEC and other state agencies of rigging the elections.

However, only seven of the petitions have been allowed to go to trial while the remainder were dismissed on the grounds that they lacked merit.

The UDC candidates whose petitions have been thrown out have lodged appeals with the Court of Appeal and their cases are expected to be heard on 29 January.


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