Botswana: Monitoring Elections Using Blogs, SMS and Twitter

Parliamentary and council representative elections are taking place in Botswana today, October 16, 2009.

A number of journalists are using new media tools to report and monitor the elections. The team attended a two-day workshop organised by African Elections Project and Media Institute of Southern Africa (Botswana Chapter) in Gaborone on 28-29 September 2009.

All African Elections Project bloggers are first time bloggers. Blogging has not yet become popular in Botswana as in other African countries such as Nigeria, Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Liberia and South Africa.

Filling The Gap is an interactive blog by Ephraim Keoreng, a Botswana based socio-political journalist.

His latest post is titled, Five Foreign Judges Sit On Motswaledi Appeal:

Five judges from South Africa today sat over an appeal by suspended ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) secretary general Gomolemo Motswaledi.

Motswaledi had sought the courts to seek redress over the president's decision to suspend him from the party. the 60 day suspension has made it impossible for the secretary geenral who was expected to represent the party at the Gaborone Central constituency as MP candidate, to be nominated to IEC as the deadline has since passed (whilst he was still under suspension).

Kutlwano Tina Mosime blogs at Free & Fair is Straight Up!

We believe in a free and fair electoral system and don't condone vote rigging. We are Watching: Botswana General Elections, 16 October 2009.

Kutlwano posts a press release from the Botswana Team of the African Elections Project:

The African Elections Project (AEP) will be covering Botswana’s 10th general election, taking place on October 16 2009, to elect parliamentary and council representatives. AEP in conjunction with its partners, Media Institute For Southern Africa (MISA) held a two-day workshop aimed at equipping journalists with cutting edge Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) skills in elections coverage in Gaborone on 28-29 September 2009.

Keeping an Eye on 2009 Botswana General Elections is written by Tshiamo Tabane:

This blog will give readers such as reseachers, analysts and other interested readers imperative information concerning, Botswana 2009 General elections. This blog will also highlight on controversial issues associated with elections.

His latest entry is about election related court cases:

The 2009 Botswana General elections are surronded by court cases including the president of the president of the ruling party Ian Khama suspending the seccretary general of the party Gomolemo Motswaledi.

Kaombona is a senior reporter with Echo Newspaper. He blogs at Talking Elections 2009.

He writes about financial problems facing local observers:

Local election observer mission Botswana Electoral Support Network (BESnet) which is made up of non governmental organisations say they are faced with financial limitations which will compel them not to observe elections in all the polling stations around the country.

The Elections Bug blog is written by Jowawa Mothusi, a 2nd year Journalism student at Limkokwing University and a freelance journalist for Mmegi Youth News as well as Inner City News.

Soldiers encouraged to vote, he writes:

The Commander of the Botswana Defence Force Army Commander General Tebogo Masire has taken to the road on an end of year mission aimed at addressing all the army officers in the country…The address to the soldiers encouraged them to go out and exercise their democratic right by voting for their preferred representatives. He however cautioned the army officers against taking any political affiliation and instead remain as neutral as they could possibly be. The soldiers are expected to be among the security eyes during and after the election process to guard against any infiltration of the Electoral Act.

Patricia Maganu blogs at The Observer 2009.

While she was attending ICT training, she wrote about the importance of using new technologies to monitor elections in Africa:

I am about to complete the course on elections using ICTs and i muct say that i appreciate what PenPlusBytes and Africa Elections Project (AEP)is doing for African countries as far as this issue is concerned. God knows for how long African countries have been missing such tools to get information as instantly as possible to the people on the ground who really need it.

Bontle Tshukudu blogs at Battle Ground Open: Elections 2009. She writes about herself and her desire to see a free and fair elections in Botswana:

My name is Bontle Tshukudu, a reporter for UB Horizon newspaper.It covers news affecting students and staff in university of Botswana.Its a practice ground for young writers to polish their writing skills hence gain confidence.

i will be covering election process in Botswana and ensuring that they are free and fair. For the first time in history young Batswana have registered to vote in large numbers. Some may wonder what really urged them to register in large numbers? Is it the pintch of unempolyment, under or misemployment, lack of sponsership to further their studies, or is it that now they know its important to vote?

You can see the full list of bloggers expected to report and monitor the Botswana 2009 Elections here.

The bloggers are also sending text messages of what is happening in polling stations around the country. The messages are posted on African Elections Project Twitter page for Botswana.

They are also posting videos of events and incidents related to Elections 2009.

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