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Botswana - 2019 Election

Botswana is a constitutional, multiparty, republican democracy. Its constitution provides for the indirect election of a president and the popular election of a National Assembly. In October 2014 the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won the majority of parliamentary seats in an election deemed generally free and fair. President Ian Khama retained his position. The BDP has held the presidency and a majority of National Assembly seats since independence in 1966.

President Ian Khama stepped down 31 March 2018 to make way for his vice president, exactly a decade - to the day - after he became president of the diamond-rich Southern African nation. Current Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi took his place. Botswana law restricts the president to serving two five-year terms, and provides for the vice president to automatically fill the post should it become vacant. The National Assembly will elect a new president after elections scheduled for October 2019.

While the constitution formally recognizes eight principal tribes of the Tswana nation, amendments to the constitution also allow minority tribes to be represented in the House of Chiefs. The law provides that members from all groups enjoy equal rights, and minority tribes have representation in the House of Chiefs in equal standing to that of the eight principal tribes.

By August 2018 growing instability within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has forced President Mokgweetsi Masisi to reshuffle his cabinet in the process to address poor performance. Highly placed sources within the party and at the Office of the President (OP) revealed that President Masisi was unhappy with the conduct and performance of some cabinet ministers and so redeployed them. continued interference by former President Ian Khama in the party and government operations seems to be taking its toll on the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) leadership. Such instability was said to have forced President Mokgweetsi Masisi to take steps against internal strife and revamp both the party and government ahead of the 2019 General Elections.

Masisi shot the first warning by suspending parliamentary candidate for Mogoditshane, Tshepang Mabaila, for influencing BDP MPs to vote with the opposition on the motion of no confidence against the President. "We don't see him survive the disciplinary hearing and immediately after the suspension Masisi is going to expel him from the party," revealed a member of the central Committee.

Not only was Mabaila alleged to have influenced BDP MPs he is allegedly to have promised some of them resources for their campaign. It was suspected that Mabaila was just a hired gun shooting on behalf of some high ranking party members as the internal fights within the ruling party intensified. "The guy promised MPs that he will fund their primary election campaigns and that former president will endorse their candidacy," it was revealed.

A surprise decision by Government 05 September 2018 to withdraw amendments to the Electoral Act, which introduced electronic voting, increased nomination fees and fines, and cancelled supplementary registration has sparked wild speculation with many suggesting that the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) fears infiltration by rogue elements in 2019.

Recent reports of hacking and manipulation of voters rolls, which led to the postponement of Bulela Ditswe following a tip off from the Directorate of Intelligence and security Services (DISS) are alleged to have forced the BDP government to finally bow to pressure to abandon plans to use Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in 2019 general elections.

The opposition Botswana Congress Party (BCP) welcomed government's intention to abandon EVM use and reinstate supplementary voter registratio. The party had serious security, privacy and reliability as well as efficiency and effectiveness concerns about the EVMs.


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