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Ex-President Mogae: Elections shift better than disenfranchising voters

Former President of Botswana, Mr. Festus Mogae.
Former President of Botswana, Mr. Festus Mogae.

Former President of Botswana Mr. Festus Mogae yesterday said it was better the 2019 general elections were postponed than for it to be conducted in such a way that some voters would be left out.

Mr. Mogae who is heading the international election observation mission in Nigeria for the National Democratic Institute/International Republican Institute (NDI\IRI) said this during a visit to the head office of Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust titles.

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Mr. Mogae said the last-minute postponement of the election came as a surprise and disappointment but urged Nigerians to exercise patience and understanding with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

“I understand that it was better rather than conduct an imperfect election in which some voters would have been left out or disenfranchised,” the former Botswana leader said.

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“We think that what they should have done is to have stated that they are ready but then explain that there are a few logistical challenges that they were facing. Instead of doing that they kept on up to the time we were going to bed to say they were ready.

“I don’t think they intended to deceive but unfortunately that is what has happened. They have increased criticisms on themselves by not being sufficiently transparent,” he said.

He said the NDI\IRI had in three previous reports recommended for INEC to be more transparent by taking the electorate into confidence and telling them whatever challenges they are facing.

“If they had done that there will be less disappointment because we would all have been aware of the possibility that for technical reasons they may be or may not (go ahead with the elections). Had they done so there would have been fewer criticisms,” Mogae said.

On the new date fixed by INEC for the presidential poll, he said, “I hope that the new target date is sufficiently realistic. I fear they may have set it too close to the last one because they are fearful people will lose patience. But if they keep to it that will be good but if something happens and there is further delay it will be most unfortunate and the people will be very angry.”


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