Botswana general election, 2009

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Botswana general election, 2009
2004 ←
16 October 2009 (2009-10-16) → 2014

All 57 seats to the National Assembly
  First party Second party Third party
  Ian Khama.jpg
Leader Ian Khama Otsweletse Moupo Dumelang 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 Increase 1 Decrease 6 Increase 3
Popular vote 290,099 119,509 104,302
Percentage 53.26% 21.94% 19.15%
Swing Increase 1.53% Decrease 4.12% Increase 2.53%

President before election

Ian Khama

Elected President

Ian Khama

Coat of arms of Botswana.svg
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General elections were held in Botswana on 16 October 2009, alongside local elections, with early voting in 26 polling stations abroad taking place 3 October.[2] The result was a tenth successive victory for the Botswana Democratic Party, which won 45 of the 57 elected seats in the National Assembly.

Electoral system[edit]

The 57 directly-elected members of the National Assembly were elected in single-member constituencies. A further four members were elected from a list nominated by the President, whilst the President and Attorney General became ex officio members.


The ruling BDP was suffering from internal problems in the build up to the election, with President Ian Khama threatening to expel party leader and former cabinet minister Daniel Kwelagobe, leader of the Barata-Phathi faction within the BDP. Although Khama and Kwelagobe made amends, stability within the BDP remained open to question.[3] The BDP campaign focussed on its record in government, including education, training and economic development.[4]

Botswana National Front leader Otsweletse Moupo did not contest the elections after losing the party's primary elections for his Gaborone West North seat. It was speculated that he would try to get his party's nomination in Gaborone South, but ultimately Moupo declined to run. Its campaign centred on creating a strong civil society and improving social welfare and housing.[4]

The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) and the Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM) formed an electoral alliance and supported each other's candidates. BCP leader Dumelang Saleshando stood for election in Selebi-Phikwe West, a constituency held prior to the election by BDP candidate Kavis Kario. The alliance's campaign included a pledge to stop the economic downturn.[4]

The Botswana People's Party (BPP) campaign focussed on agricultural development and manufacturing, whilst the MELS Movement of Botswana (MELS) promised to fight the exploitation of the population.[4]

A total of 177 candidates contested the elections; 57 from the BDP, 48 from the BNF, 46 from the BCP-BAM alliance (42 from the BCP and 4 from the BAM), 6 from the BPP, 4 from MELS, one from the Botswana Tlhoko Tiro Organisation and 15 independents.[5]

Opinion polls[edit]

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

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


Early voting was planned for police and polling officers on 29 September, as they would be unable to vote on election day. However, because of a printing error at the Johannesburg-based printer that was responsible for printing the ballot papers, early voting could not proceed as planned; ballot numbers, which should be unique to counter election fraud, were sometimes repeated on the ballots for local elections. As a result Police officers and polling officers 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 presented serious problems.[6] The BCP threatened legal action against the Independent Electoral Commission.[2]

Election turnout was reported to be high with polling station opening times being extending to cope with large queues.[7] Election observers stated that the overall process ran smoothly, although in some instance people had been unable to vote.[7] The Southern African Development Community noted that the elections were "credible, peaceful, free and fair", but raised concerns about the "slow polling process".[4]


Party 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
Botswana People's Party 7,554 1.39 0 0
MELS Movement of Botswana 292 0.05 0 0
Tlhoko Tiro Organisation 40 0.00 0 New
Independents 10,464 1.92 1 +1
Indirectly-elected seats 6
Invalid/blank votes 10,431
Total 555,078 100 63 0
Registered voters/turnout 723,617 76.71

Nehemiah Modubule, MP for Lobatse, won re-election running as an independent, having been elected in 2004 as a BNF candidate.


President Khama was sworn in for a second term on 20 October,[4] and a victory rally took place in Gaborone on 18 October.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BOTSWANA: New leader of the oppositional Botswana National Front SADOCC, 26 November 2001
  2. ^ a b Keoreng, Ephraim (8 October 2009). "BCP to take IEC to court?". Mmegi. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  3. ^ Gabathuse, Ryder (16 September 2009). "Khama employs divide-and-rule tactic?". Mmegi. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Last Elections IPU
  5. ^ Election Results IEC
  6. ^ "IEC election dilemma". Botswana Gazette. 7 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-09. 
  7. ^ a b "Botswana ruling party wins poll". BBC. 18 October 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2009. 
  8. ^ "Khama's ruling party savours Botswana polls win". AFP. 18 October 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2009.