General Election called for 24th October
President Ian Khama has announced that a general election will be held in Botswana on 24th October. The announcement was made to Parliament yesterday and follows the death of a key opposition leader last week.
In the 2009 general elections the President’s right-wing Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won 45 of the 57 seats in the National Assembly. Three other parties and one independent also won seats with turnout being 76.71%.
In 2010 the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) was established by a splinter group from the BDP which has ruled the country since independence in 1966.
The full statement of the President’s address as published on the Government website is as follows:
“HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT’S STATEMENT TO PARLIAMENT
1. As the final session of this the 10th Parliament draws to a close, and as the 7th of August is the last day of its sitting, I considered it appropriate to join you this afternoon in order to announce the date of dissolution, as well as the date for the holding of General and Local Elections. I believe it to be most fitting to do so in this House, as it is primarily to this Assembly that this Constitutional process directly applies.
2. Before I do so Madame Speaker, let me observe that whether we sit as part of the Executive in the front benches of this Assembly, or in the back benches as the Government of the day, or in the opposition benches, our presence in this chamber is derived from the mandate that this Parliament collectively received from Batswana at the polls in 2009. It is the electorate alone who, by casting of their ballots, give our governmental institutions their life and legitimacy.
3. Soon it will once more be the voters time to decide who shall be representing them in this House, as they exercise their right to elect their representatives.
4. Madame Speaker, looking back at the past five years, I believe that the members of this House can take pride in both the quality and quantity of the 111 Bills they have passed into law, which is your primary constitutional mandate. In addition, this House considered 14 policies, adopted 45 private members’ motions, 4018 questions from MPs were answered by Ministers, and Ministers responded to 68 Ministers’ question times.
5. In so doing, the membership of this House as a whole, like those before it, have faithfully discharged its core mandate as the legislative branch of Government. Allow me therefore to congratulate all of you Honourable Members on this noble achievement.
6. By its very nature, the end of any Parliament is a bittersweet moment. On the one hand, we welcome the opportunity to seek a renewed mandate from the people. On the other hand, we know that whatever may be the outcome of the upcoming election, there will be those who will not be returning here either because they are retiring, not standing and in some cases, those who may not be elected.
7. It is with this in mind that I take the opportunity to pay special tribute to the Leader of this House, His Honour the Vice President, Dr. Ponatshego Kedikilwe, who after nearly five decades as a civil servant, politician, and leader, will be retiring from public office. I am sure all of you will agree that his energy, experience and selfless devotion to service shall be missed within these walls and beyond.
8. Your Honour, please accept our sincere gratitude to you and your family for having given so much of your time to serving this nation.
9. We hope and trust that even in retirement, you will still be available to share with us your wisdom as one of our nation’s true statesmen.
10. Madame Speaker, let me also take this opportunity to also thank the other Honourable members of this house, the front bench and backbench of my own party for their contribution and the same also goes to the Honourable members of the opposition for playing their part in the manner they thought appropriate in the democratic processes that unfolded in this House.
11. Madame Speaker, the record of this Parliament is also a tribute to how ably you guided the proceedings of this House and the dedication displayed by the Parliamentary staff in the management of its affairs. Here again I am confident that I speak for this entire House in expressing our collective gratitude to all of them.
12. Madam Speaker, I am aware that as I speak there is a memorial service being held for the late BMD leader Mr. Motswaledi that some members of this Parliament are attending.
13. It has been and should continue to be our culture of compassion that when any of our fellow citizens passes on, family and friends show solidarity and support in mourning with the affected families and give them strength during their time of sadness.
14. We have all experienced this pain in trying to come to terms with the passing of a loved one, and appreciate such support that allows a dignified send off for the departed.
15. What is not acceptable is when there are those who strive to cause scandal and take advantage over anyone’s death. Misinformation, untruths and scare mongering add to the families’ grief. Such people who do so abandon their morals and culture. This is shameful and outrageous and must be condemned by the rest of society.
16. Madame Speaker, Honourable Members, let me conclude by observing that even as we have from time to time opposed one another as political parties, we have also played our respective roles in upholding the quality of our country’s democratic institutions, which have been recognised and applauded around the world.
17. By putting the interests of Botswana first, we shall continue to appreciate that what might appear to divide us will always be less than that which joins us as citizens of a nation that remains proudly united in its diversity.
18. Finally, it now remains for me to announce that this 10th Parliament will be dissolved on Friday the 29th of August 2014, and the General Elections will be held on Friday 24th October which I will declare a public holiday. I thank you Madame Speaker.”