Botswana elections declared 'free and fair'

By Drum Digital
27 October 2014

Botswana's general elections were free and fair, the Southern African Development Community's electoral observer mission said on Sunday.

"While concerns were raised by some stakeholders regarding the electoral process, it was observed that those concerns did not hamper full and free participation in the elections," head of the mission, international relations minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said in a statement.

"Based on its observation, the mission has concluded that the general elections held in Botswana on 24 October were peaceful, free and fair, transparent, and credible, thus reflecting the will of the people of Botswana."

The southern African country's newly elected parliament voted for Khama Sunday after his party, the Botswana Democratic Party, won a majority of seats in the national election.

Khama, who was first voted into to office in the 2009 election and who is the son of independence leader Seretse Khama, will be sworn in on Tuesday, according to state media.

The BDP, which has been in power since the country's independence from Britain in 1966, won 36 seats in the peaceful general election on Friday according to an announcement in the Botswana Daily News.

An opposition group, the Umbrella for Democratic Change, won fifteen seats and another group, the Botswana Congress Party, secured three seats.

Nkoana-Mashabane said prior to the elections, concerns were raised ranging from insufficient funds for Botswana's electoral body, alleged utilisation of state funds by the ruling party to biased reporting in favour of the ruling party by state media.

"These concerns were discussed with [Botswana's] IEC, political parties, civil society and other relevant stakeholders and the explanations were provided," she said.

Source : Sapa

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