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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

MPs call for lifting of voting ban on prisoners

MPs call for lifting of voting ban on prisoners

Staff Writer, Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Politicians across the political divide have called on the government to lift the voting ban imposed on serving prisoners.

Botswana Movement for Democracy's (BMD) Nehemiah Modubule yesterday renewed calls for the government to allow prisoners to vote, when debating budget proposal for the Independent Electoral Commission. Modubule said it is high time government allows prisoners to vote as the current situation tramples on their rights.

"Yes they might be incarcerated for whatever charges they face. Some of their rights are limited while in prison, however those rights do not include the right to vote", Modubule said.

He further said voting is the fundamental right of a person hence a prisoner not facing election related crime should be allowed to vote. Further, Botswana Democratic Party member and Assistant Minister of Local Government, Botlhogile Tshireletso said the time has come for prisoners to be allowed to vote just like other Batswana. Tshireletso said the fact that someone is serving time does not take away their nationality.

Tshireletso also called for political funding stating that the cost of running for a political office in this country is very high. She stressed that under the current situation, aspiring politicians are funding democracy that the country is neglecting.

She pointed out that the current situation impoverishes politicians as they leave office with nothing to their name after having used their own money. "The situation is so bad that when they leave office they have nothing. Some will still be paying debt that they incurred during their election campaign", Tshireletso said.

She said she felt for those who lost elections after investing all their savings campaigning for political office, stating that only political party funding can save them.

Others who joined calls for political funding were Member of Parliament (MP) for Kgatleng East Isaac Mabiletsa, Maxwell Motowane for Letlhakeng West, and Olebile Gaborone MP for South East South. The Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Mokgweetsi Masisi had requested forty four million one hundred and ninety three thousand one hundred and eighty Pula (P44,193,180) under recurrent budget and the sum of one million eight hundred thousand Pula (P1,800,000) under development budget.

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