Botswana general election, 2009

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Botswana general election, 2009
2004 ←
October 9, 2009 (2009-10-09)
→ 2014

All 57 seats to the National Assembly
  First party Second party Third party
Leader Ian Khama Otsweletse Moupo Gilson Saleshando
Leader since 1 April 2008 25 November 2001[1] 2005
Leader's seat not running not running Selebi-Phikwe West
Last election 44 seats, 51.73% 12 seats, 26.06% 1 seat, 16.62%
Seats won 45 6 4
Seat change +1 -6 +3
Popular vote 290,099 119,509 104,302
Percentage 53.26% 21.94% 19.15%
Swing +1.53% -4.12% +2.53%

President before election

Ian Khama

Elected President

Ian Khama

Coat of arms of Botswana.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

General elections were held in Botswana on 16 October 2009.[2] They were the 10th general elections held since Botswana's independence in 1966. Botswana's parliament has 61 seats, of which 57 are elected using a single-member district plurality system, meaning there are 57 constituencies, each electing a single MP. Four more seats are co-opted: elected MPs vote on who will occupy them. Besides parliament, Batswana also voted for local councils.

The Botswana Democratic Party won the majority of seats and will form the next government of Botswana.[3]


All parties represented after the 2004 General Election in Botswana's parliament contested the 2009 election: the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), the Botswana National Front (BNF) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP). Several smaller parties also took part, as well as 15 independent candidates (in 13 constituencies).

The BDP fielded a candidate in each of the 57 constituencies. Its leader, President of Botswana Ian Khama, was not a candidate, but Vice-President of Botswana Mompati Merafhe defended his seat in Mahalapye West.[4] The BDP has won every election in Botswana since independence.

BNF leader Otsweletse Moupo did not run as a candidate. He had intended to defend his parliamentary seat for Gaborone West North, but lost the BNF primary election there. It was speculated that he would try to get his party's nomination in Gaborone South, but ultimately Moupo declined to contest the election. In the 2004 election, Moupo stood for election in Selebi-Phikwe West, but lost to BDP candidate Kavis Kario. He was elected into parliament for Gaborone West North in a 2005 by-election, held after the death of BNF MP Paul Rantao.[5]

The BCP is allied with the Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM), and they support each other's candidates. BCP–BAM fielded candidates in 46 constituencies,[6] even though only 36 are mentioned on their website.[7] BCP leader Gilson Saleshando stood for election in Selebi-Phikwe West, a constituency held prior to the election by BDP candidate Kavis Kario.

Opinion polls[edit]

Very few scientific opinion polls were taken prior to the election, preventing accurate measures of public sentiment.

Date of poll Institute BDP BNF BCP Other/none
Sept 28 – Oct 16 2008 University of Botswana Faculty / Afrobarometer 63% 13% 8% 10%

Before the election[edit]

Problems within the BDP[edit]

The BDP is currently experiencing significant internal problems, with President Khama threatening to expel party leader and former cabinet minister Daniel Kwelagobe, leader of the Barata-Phathi faction within the BDP. While Khama and Kwelagobe made amends, stability within the BDP remains open to question.[8]

Problems with voting by police and polling officers[edit]

Because police officers and polling officers have to conduct the elections on 16 October, early voting was planned for these people. This was to be done on September 29. However, because of a printing error at the Johannesburg based printer, this could not proceed as planned. Ballot numbers, which should be unique to counter election fraud, sometimes repeated on the ballots for local elections. Police officers and polling officers now had to vote on 16 October, along with the general public. For officers stationed far away from the place they are registered to vote, this could present serious problems.[9] The BCP has threatened legal action against the IEC.[10]

Voting abroad[edit]

Early voting in polling stations abroad took place on 3 October in 26 external polling stations across the world.[10]


e • d  Summary of the 16 October 2009 Botswana National Assembly election results
Parties Votes  % Seats +/–
Botswana Democratic Party 290,099 53.26 45 +1
Botswana National Front 119,509 21.94 6 –6
Botswana Congress Party 104,302 19.15 4 +3
Botswana Alliance Movement 12,387 2.27 1 +1
Independents 10,464 1.92 1 +1
Botswana People's Party 7,554 1.39 0
Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin Movement 292 0.05 0
Tlhoko Tiro Organisation 40 0.00 0
Valid votes 544,647 98.12
Invalid votes 10,431 1.88
Totals 555,078 100.00 57
Electorate and voter turnout 723,617 76.71
Source: Independent Electoral Commission

Election turnout was reported to be high with polling station opening times being extending to cope with large queues.[11] Election observers stated that the overall process ran smoothly, although in some instance people had been unable to vote.[11] The BDP improved on its 2004 results, securing this time an extra seat to take it to 45 of 57 seats in the assembly.[12] The opposition Botswana National Front (BNF) dropped from twelve seats to six.[12] The Botswana Congress Party, a splinter of the BNF, increased its representation from one seat to four with their allies in the Alliance Movement also gaining a seat.[12][13] Nehemiah Modubule, MP for Lobatse, won re-election running as an independent, having been elected in 2004 for the BNF. Despite winning a vast majority of seats the BDP benefited from the first past the post election system with the combined vote of the two main opposition parties being enough to beat the BDP in many constituencies.[12] BDP party targets were to increase their representation to at least 50 seats but a spokesman said the party was happy with the result.[12]

The Botswana Democratic Party won a majority of the votes, with the BNF narrowly defeating the BCP-BAM coalition for second place.

The result gave Khama another five years in power as president.[12] He was inaugurated soon after the election, and a victory rally took place in Gaborone on 18 October.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Net News Publisher: Botswana General Elections Set for October 16th
  3. ^ "Independent Electoral Commission". Retrieved 2009-10-09. [dead link]
  4. ^ BDP candidate Mompati Merafhe
  5. ^ Botswana: Moupo Says He is Down And Out (10 August 2009)
  6. ^ "2009 Nominated parliamentary candidates". Botswana Independent Electoral Commission. Retrieved 2009-10-17. [dead link]
  7. ^ BCP Parliamentary Candidates
  8. ^ Gabathuse, Ryder (16 September 2009). "Khama employs divide-and-rule tactic?". Mmegi. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  9. ^ "IEC election dilemma". Botswana Gazette. 7 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  10. ^ a b Keoreng, Ephraim (8 October 2009). "BCP to take IEC to court?". Mmegi. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  11. ^ a b "Botswana ruling party wins poll". BBC. 18 October 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2009. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Khama's ruling party savours Botswana polls win". AFP. 18 October 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2009. 
  13. ^ BAM/BCP election pact announced

External links[edit]