interim statement
EISA Observer Mission 2004 Botswana parliamentary and local government elections (continued)

2 Findings of the Mission

The EISA Election Observer Mission, basing itself on the PEMMO as a guideline, made the following findings:

2.1 Legal framework of elections

The Mission found that the electoral legal framework in Botswana is generally conducive to the holding of democratic elections. This framework guarantees fundamental freedoms and human rights.

2.2 Voter registration and voters' roll

The Mission is pleased that the registration of voters in Botswana is a continuous and accessible process. In all the areas where the Mission teams were deployed, reports of cases of voters failing to vote owing to the state of the voters' roll were minimal, if not negligible.

2.3 Atmosphere of elections

The campaign process was free of political violence and intimidation. The mission congratulates the people of Botswana, security forces and political parties for the peaceful atmosphere maintained throughout the election process.

2.4 Accreditation of observers

The participation of both international and domestic observers was facilitated by the smooth accreditation process put in place by the IEC.

2.5 Logistical arrangements

The voting process in the areas visited by the EISA teams was smooth. The increase in the number of polling stations and the efficient distribution of voting material by the IEC allowed the process to run smoothly.

2.6 The conduct of the poll

The Mission notes the professionalism of the polling staff in the conduct of the voting process. This is a reflection of the adequate training that the IEC gave to them.

3 Areas of improvement

The mission analysed the legal framework of elections in Botswana and came to the conclusion that although it generally provided for the conduct of democratic elections, there are provisions or lack thereof which are inconsistent with universal and regional trends. Therefore the Botswana nation should consider undertaking some reforms with a view to enhancing political representation, ensuring fair electoral competition and improving political accountability.

The mission therefore recommends the following:

3.1. Access to media and public resources

PEMMO proposes that access to and use of public media and other public resources during an election period should be equitable. It proposes that Botswana abide by these principles.