President Mokgweetsi Masisi has comfortably won what was expected to be a tightly contested general election. Following this week’s much-anticipated elections, President Masisi with his Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) claimed the necessary seats in parliament to secure his next five-year term.
The BDP won 38 of 57 seats, giving it 66.66% of the vote. The official opposition, the UDC, a coalition of parties led by Duma Boko, only managed to garner 15 seats, while the Ian Khama-backed Botswana Patriotic Front, led by Biggie Butale gained 3 seats, and the Alliance of Progressives, steered by Ndaba Goalathe won one seat.
The country’s chief justice, Terrence Rannowane, made the announcement Friday morning after verifying that the BDP had met the threshold with 38 of the country’s 57 parliamentary seats.
“I’m humbled and honoured that you again entrusted the BDP,” said Masisi in a celebratory message. “As the President of Botswana for the next five years, I’m blessed and privileged to serve you and promise that I’ll continue to do so with integrity, compassion, humility and honesty.”
The opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change party (UDC), led by Duma Boko, also thanked supporters although he made clear earlier in the week that the UDC was concerned about the potential for fraud. Those concerns prompted a response from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) assuring Batswana of a fair and credible process.
Masisi was inaugurated in April 2018 after he became the chosen successor of former President Ian Khama, but the two saw a bitter parting of ways during the transitional year of continuity built into Botswana’s electoral system. That falling out with Khama led to the departure of key BDP leaders, chiselling away at party unity and leaving a historic but ultimately unrealised opportunity for UDC to challenge decades of BDP power.
Trend analysis shows that the BDP’s victory was built on voters in Botswana’s southern regions, who traditionally were opposition strongholds. The ruling party also retained key constituencies in the West and North, while the opposition UDC was able to power into the Central District, previously the exclusive domain of the ruling party.
A resounding victory for the BDP
Botswana’s ruling party, the BDP has won the country’s 12th general election, since its independence in 1966, giving President Mokgweetsi Masisi the mandate to make good on the BDP’s manifesto promises to improve Batswana lives and grow the economy.
The decisive win means that the BDP, which has been in power for 53 years, has been given the green light for another five years to implement major constitutional, economic and developmental changes which President Masisi has promised will change Botswana for the better and propel it on a new growth path.
Voters have resonated well with the rebirth of the BDP, which started under President Masisi’s leadership 18 months ago when he was appointed as Botswana’s head of state.
“When we created our 15-point manifesto more than a year ago, it was in consultation with you to discuss your fears and concerns but more so your hopes and dreams. Our manifesto addresses all your concerns in a sensible, practical and efficient manner that takes into account our current economic conditions but also considers future economic development and prosperity.
I can assure you that my team and I are unabated in our commitment to you and will work relentlessly to ensure that every goal listed in our declaration is achieved and importantly, that you attain financial freedom,” President Masisi said of the BDP’s victory.
President Masisi had reiterated earlier that the BDP would always uphold the rule of the law and that eradicating corruption and poverty will remain top of the ruling party’s priority.
“The BDP-led government will lead the country on a renewed path of economic transformation and create jobs that will roll back the scourge of poverty, through various initiatives as outlined in our growth strategy, which will focus on increasing employment opportunities and creating suitable jobs for our young people, particularly our graduates,” he continued.
He further appealed to opposition leaders to accept the Botswana Independent Electoral Committee’s (BIEC) decision, which clearly saw the BDP as the nation’s preferred political party of choice.
“As the Leader of State, I appeal to the opposition leaders and their supporters to accept the BIEC ruling and to bear in mind that Botswana is a peaceful, non-violent, respectful and humble nation and that political interference to change our culture for political gain will not be tolerated,” President Masisi added.
“I appreciate that it is vital for any country to have strong political opposition to ensure the ruling party is kept on its toes to ensure that Botswana and her people are always the government’s main priority. Under my leadership, I appeal to government, as a multi-party collective, to play a far greater role in supporting, developing and uplifting Batswana. By putting our people first, Botswana will soon claim its rightful position as the gem of Africa,” concluded President Masisi.
To view a more detailed list of the results, visit The Voice website.
The BDP manifesto, which will continue to be seen as a blueprint for Botswana’s development, includes:
- Creating meaningful and sustainable jobs
- Fighting corruption
- Nurturing inclusive government
- Guaranteeing free media
- Reviewing our constitution and policies
- Improving education and training
- Driving knowledge-based economy
- Growing the private sector
- Empowering SMEs
- Updating land tenure laws
- Improving working conditions
- Ensuring robust services delivery
- Providing quality healthcare
- Revamping social development
- Attracting local and international investors
SADC, AU observer missions hail Botswana elections as free and fair
Continental and regional observer missions to the 2019 Botswana general elections have hailed this year’s polls as credible and a fair reflection of the will of the people.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and African Union (AU) observers made the observation when briefing the members of the press and other stakeholders during the release of the preliminary statements by the international electoral observer missions in Gaborone on Friday.
Addressing the gathering, Sibusiso Moyo, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, who is the head of the SADC Electoral Observer Mission, lauded the election process for being transparent.
“The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) managed the elections efficiently and delivered on the establishment of 2,296 polling stations ahead of the elections. These included 36 polling stations outside Botswana, to cater for the diaspora vote in 20 countries in Africa, Europe, the Americas and Australia,” he said.
He added that the atmosphere on election day was ‘orderly, calm and peaceful’ at all polling stations and that IEC officers were professional in the execution of their duties.
“The SADC Electoral Observer Mission observed that the pre-election and voting processes of the 2019 general elections were well organised and conducted in a peaceful and free atmosphere, and the environment enabled the voters to express themselves in a transparent manner,” Moyo said.
For his part, head of the AU Electoral Observer Mission to the Botswana general elections, former vice president of Gambia, Jallow Fatoumata, also said her team had observed that the electoral process had been credible and fair.
Botswana went to polls on Oct. 23, which process saw the ruling party, the Botswana Democratic Party emerging winner after gaining 38 parliamentary seats out of 57, and its leader automatically becoming the president of the country.
Sources: HE MEK Masisi Facebook page, africatimes.com, xinhuanet.com