The newly appointed Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) consultant Gabriel Seeletso has refuted suggestions that he is the reason behind the ruling Botswana Democratic Party’s (BDP) prolonged grip on power. Opposition has labeled Seeletso, who has been at helm of the IEC for almost three decades, a BDP agent who ensures that the BDP wins election by hook or crook. For many years, opposition parties have been pointing accusing finger at Seeletso for their failure to wrestle power from the political grouping that has been at helm since the country’s independence in 1966. At an Electoral (Amendments) Act consultative meeting held at the Francistown civic centre on Wednesday evening, former Francistown West Member of Parliament (MP) Dr. Habaudi Hobona accused Seeletso of being biased towards the ruling party.
Despite praising Seeletso for presiding over peaceful and successful but unfair elections for almost 28 years, Hobona chastised the IEC consultant for acting “as a BDP stooge” before, during and after every election. “How could you select another politician to welcome us and urged to accept the amendments sought in the Electoral Act?” rhetorically asked the pintsized politician. Hobona was against having the Francistown mayor, Sylvia Muzila offer welcome remarks. According to Hobona, Muzila was expected to join the rest of the politicians in the gallery and be consulted on the proposed amendments in the Electoral Act. The amendments will pave way for the introduction of the much-maligned Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). However, an overt attack by the opposition cadre resulted in Seeletso coming out guns blazing to vindicate himself from being viewed as a “stooge of the BDP.” From the look of the things, Seeletso did not take it lightly.
“I am nobody’s boy!” exclaimed the gravel voiced Seeletso in direct response to the allegations of being an agent of the ruling party leveled against him by Hobona. He added: “Nobody tosses me around. It has never happened before and it will never happen in the future. Since 1978 after graduating from school in the United States of America, I have been executing my duties with due diligence.” Seeletso said he is fully aware of the fact that some are not happy about the proposed amendment and its consequences. However, he was quick to point out that there are more advantages to the introduction of the EVM than disadvantages.