BNF bans 'illegal' facebook groups

SHARE   |   Thursday, 25 August 2016   |   By Staff Writer
BNF bans 'illegal' facebook groups

The newly elected Botswana National Front (BNF) Central Committee has hit the ground running, immediately banning proliferation of uncoordinated social media platforms bearing the party name and threatening to punish offenders. The Committee said the social media platforms used in the build-up to the congress for purposes of campaigning for positions should be immediately disbanded. Incoming Secretary General, Moeti Mohwasa, made the announcement on Monday following the Central Committee's first-ever meeting on Saturday. "Failure to do so will be in breach of the Code of Conduct and Constitution of the party as it will be an act of factionalism, which is a punishable offence. All social medium platforms operating under the name of the party should be supervised and administered by the publicity secretary," reads part of the resolutions. 

Mohwasa said the party will take stern action against administrators of unauthorised accounts if they do not close them, adding further that all communication will be done through the publicity secretary. He revealed that the CC has already adopted names proposed for sub-committees and the members will soon take office. Meanwhile BNF President Duma Boko will soon decide on names proposed by members recently elected in Francistown for consideration as additional members to the CC. The CC has also resolved that constituency registers be used as voter’s rolls in the party primary elections.  “Constituency secretaries have since been advised to update and reconcile those registers with those from the party office,” Mohwasa said.

Mohwasa will lead a team of party leaders to visit all regions, ahead of a national tour by the central committee in 2017. Meanwhile, the BNF rejects the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in any elections unless its use is accompanied by safeguards and an audit trail. BNF delegates to the IEC workshop on EVM in July, made up of incoming Secretary for International Relations Nelson Ramaotwana, University of Botswana academic Professor Monageng Mogalakwe and Gloria Batlang submitted their recommendations to the Central Committee on Saturday. They propose an amendment to the Electoral Act for purposes of causing the inclusion of a Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) into the EVM. “Counting of votes be conducted at each polling station and results be transmitted to the counting centres after the candidates or their counting agents have appended their signatures confirming the authenticity of the results.

If the VVPAT produces the opposite results from what the voter has chosen, such machine should be set aside as corrupt and be replaced with the corrupt-free EVM,”  reads part of the recommendations. In the event the BDP refuses to embrace the proposed amendments the opposition bloc should stage frequent mass action to force the ruling party to adopt them, the Central Committee resolved. Mohwasa said opposition parties under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) are planning a march on September 17 to protest against the use of EVM, the crisis in Ministry of Education and Skills Development and the abuse of Btv by the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) government.