Masisi wins Botswana presidency

Mokgweetsi Masisi, the incumbent casting his vote


The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has won the general election after securing 29 national assembly seats, representing 51% of the vote, the chief justice announced on Friday.

Botswana voted on Wednesday to elect 57 national assembly and 490 local government representatives, with the candidate of the winning party set to become president.

“Although vote counting is still ongoing, the numbers of parliament seats attained so far by the BDP obliges me to declare Mokgweetsi Masisi as the elected president of Botswana,” said Chief Justice Terrence Rannowane.

The main opposition, the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), secured 13 seats while the Botswana Patriotic Front won three and the Alliance for Progressive only one, with 73% of the voting districts counted so far.

Results collation by private media outlet

Privately-owned outlet, The Voice, has been collating results from the October 23 vote. As widely expected, the ruling Botswana Democratic Party, BDP, have taken a big lead with about a third of votes counted.

As at midnight of Thursday (October 24), four parties had secured seats in parliament. BDP, Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) coalition, Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and the Alliance for Progressives (AP).

Percentage of votes counted: 29%
Total number of votes: 263, 730
Total registered voters: 924, 709

  • BDP = 16 constituencies = 124, 786 votes
  • UDC = 5 = 90, 692
  • BPF = 2 = 21, 757
  • AP = 1 = 16, 812

According to the Independent Electoral Commission, IEC, the winner is declared once a party attains 29 parliamentary seats – the minimum requirement to form a government.

The government’s Twitter handle has also been posting updates on the constituency results as they trickle in. See more here

Why I voted for opposition: Khama

Ex-president Ina Khama on Wednesday revealed he had voted for the newly formed opposition party, the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).

In an interview with South African news portal, Eyewitness News, Khama said he voted for BPF because he is extremely disappointed in the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

“I voted for the Botswana Patriotic Front, both parliament and council,” Khama said.

“We’ve just seen somebody who became drunk on power, falling into that power trap that we’ve seen happen in other African countries.’‘

President Mokgweetsi Masisi was Khama’s vice president, and succeeded him last year. The two have since fallen out as Masisi has reversed some of Khama’s key policies and prosecuted his allies implicated in corruption scandals.

Masisi, Boko hope for victory

Masisi is standing on his record on tackling corruption, such as making a declaration of assets obligatory for public sector officials, and slashing bureaucracy for small businesses.

“We are going to … tackle the challenges that the country is facing … improving the value chain of our national products whether it’s in tourism or minerals,” Masisi said after voting in his home village of Moshupa.

“This will help us achieve our goal of migrating towards a high-income country.”

Duma Boko, the main opposition challenger, who is also backed by former president Ian Khama, voted in the capital Gaborone.

“I hope the people of Botswana … will rewrite the history of this country, will write a different script for the economy,” Boko said after voting. “It is an epic moment.”

In the run up to the poll, Boko warned he would reject any results tainted by fraud, raising the spectre that Botswana, which has only known one-sided elections, could witness its first rancorous dispute over a tight result.

The main concerns for the Batswana are unemployment hovering at around 20% and stark inequalities despite equitable state spending on health and education. To tackle either, the winner will need to do more to diversify the economy.

Mbakisi Gopolang, 25, waiting in line to cast his vote at a primary school in the capital Gaborone, said he was disappointed by the last decade under the governing BDP.

“The last ten years have been regressive, so I don’t want continuation of that. I am voting for a party that will drive economic growth, empower citizens and get rid of corruption and bring about transparency.”

Unprecedented polls

The polls have been described by analysts as unprecedented especially against the backdrop that the former president Ian Khama has thrown his weight behind two opposition presidential candidates.