Botswana’s opposition coalition, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), is appealing against a High Court judgment that dismissed petitions in which it was challenging the outcome of last year’s general elections. According to papers seen by APA on Monday, the UDC has petitioned the Court of Appeal for an order declaring the High Court ruling null and void on the grounds that the lower court had erred in dismissing the petitions before they could be heard in the form of a trial.
Late last year the majority of judges who were part of a panel of High Court judges dismissed 16 UDC petitions, citing the opposition coalition’s failure to comply with the Electoral Petitions procedures.
But other judges agreed with the UDC lawyers suggesting that petitions should have gone to trial.
In the High Court petitions, the UDC had alleged there was massive vote rigging by the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in the October 2019 polls.
The UDC complained of irregularities in the election of BDP legislators in the 16 constituencies, mostly in the capital Gaborone – an opposition stronghold.
It accused the BDP of conniving with the Independent Electoral Commission and the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services to rig the election.