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Report reveals how the UDC won and lost 2019 General Elections

Opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) was poised to win the 2019 General Elections until a month before the polls.

According to the African report, In On Africa (ION), an African-focused research and consulting firm based in Johannesburg, South Africa, which researched and compiled a review of the General Elections of Botswana held in October 2019, dubbed ‘Botswana Elections review 2019’ – UDC lost at the eleventh hour. “At the conclusion of the fieldwork research, early in September 2019, it seemed as though UDC was poised to win the elections when considering respondents more positive view of the opposition,” the contentious report released this week posits.  


The study found that the UDC edged past the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) in both how positively the public perceives the parties as well as the extent to which the electorate was willing to trust these parties. Though it was bound to be an extremely close contest, it continues to highlight that the results of the study “raised questions as to what might have tilted the balance” to end up being in favour of the BDP rather than the UDC.

However, it highlights that one must equally remain cognisant of the electoral system, where the seats in parliament fail to effectively capture the true nature of the contest even though BDP triumphed. “The outcome once again showed that Botswana’s ruling party remains the preferred political entity. What might not be as striking is that the change within the BDP and UDC signify the evolution of Botswana politics,” it further says.   


It also acknowledges that the new face of BDP President Mokgweetsi Masisi coupled with the full force of the opposition has fostered an electorate that appears to be divided between these two main contenders. “Overall, the pre-election sentiment saw the UDC edging past the BDP, although voting patterns in which a portion of the electorate would vote according to the 50-year-old status quo remains an additional layer of consideration that holds the potential to render the UDC’s edge moot,” ION report states.

Considering the outcome of the 2019 elections, it further observes that one might be inclined to disagree with the preceding section’s argument that the elections were truly tight. However the study contends that there proved to be a higher impetus on keeping the BDP in power than there was to remove the BDP from power which, in turn, could be seen as a potential factor edging the BDP above UDC, despite the latter’s relatively positive public image.  

Then again, the option of ‘building a better government and stronger country’ might also be seen as a positive indication on the UDC’s support. This, however, is a sentiment shared by the opposition as well as Masisi due to the latter being seen as a force of change within the BDP, the African report asserts. “On the side of voting de-motivators, further detriment is directed at the UDC. Despite their pursuit to cater for the interests and needs of all Batswana, a noteworthy portion of the electorate were discouraged due to ‘none of the parties representing their interests’ and the sentiment that ‘all parties are equally bad,’ ION states.

The study also observes that the presence of these sentiments suggests that the UDC is not the all-inclusive party they were thought to be, or that their campaigns proved not to have appealed as wholly as was the goal. “A key consideration is also the President of the UDC’s controversial conduct during the 2019 Presidential Debate. It can be argued that Boko’s actions, among other factors, during this debate might have been enough to slightly tip the scales in the BDP’s favour,” the research study points out.

2019 elections presented a departure from a strong personality cult

According to the report, more than 50 years after its independence, Botswana politics is finally showing true transformation, slowly edging itself into contemporary domestic politics. It explains that “whether Masisi’s appointment was coincidental or the result of some grand scheme by BDP stalwarts such as the late Sir Ketumile Masire and the former President Festus Mogae, or even a ploy between Khama and Masisi, the key takeaway from this event is that Botswana’s 2019 election has initiated a departure from strong personality politics vested in the Khama legacy, towards a higher emphasis on service delivery and policy discourse.”

Purpose of the Botswana elections review 2019 report

The report is a culmination of in-depth research that IOA has conducted over the past six months focusing on Botswana’s 2019 General Elections. The report has two primary objectives: 1) to provide the readers with expert insight into the developments leading up to and directly following the elections that took place in October 2019; 2) to serve as a sample of IOA’s political analysis that IOA’s team regularly conducts across the African continent.

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BDP decides Balopi’s fate

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The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee (CC) meeting, chaired by President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi late last month, resolved that the party’s next Secretary-General (SG) should be a full-time employee based at Tsholetsa House and not active in politics.

The resolution by the CC, which Masisi proposed, is viewed as a ploy to deflate the incumbent, Mpho Balopi’s political ambitions and send him into political obscurity. The two have not been on good terms since the 2019 elections, and the fallout has been widening despite attempts to reconcile them. In essence, the BDP says that Balopi, who is currently a Member of Parliament, Minister of Employment, Labour Productivity and Skills Development, and a businessman, is overwhelmed by the role.

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The Botswana Defence Force (BDF)-Namibians fatal shooting tragedy Inquest has revealed through autopsy report that the BDF carried over 800 bullets for the mission, 32 of which were discharged towards the targets, and 19 of which hit the targets.

This would mean that 13 bullets missed the targets-in what would be a 60 percent precision rate for the BDF operation target shooting. The Autopsy report shows that Martin Nchindo was shot with five (4) bullets, Ernst Nchindo five (5) bullets, Tommy Nchindo five (5) bullets and Sinvula Munyeme five (5) bullets. From the seven (7) BDF soldiers that left the BDF camp in two boats, four (4) fired the shots that killed the Namibians.

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Gov’t confused over Moitoi’s UN job application

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The former Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s decision to apply for the positions of United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and their deputies (DSRSG), has left the government confused over whether to lend her support or not, WeekendPost has established.

Moitoi’s application follows the Secretary-General’s launch of the third edition of the Global Call for Heads and Deputy Heads of United Nations Field Missions, which aims to expand the pool of candidates for the positions of SRSG) and their deputies to advance gender parity and geographical diversity at the most senior leadership level in the field. These mission leadership positions are graded at the Under-Secretary-General and Assistant Secretary-General levels.

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