News and Information

Botswana gripped in election fever
October 29, 2004
29 October, 2004

GABORONE They call it an election fever and for today, the last day of of electioneering, makes everyone catch a strain.

Political temperatures have reached a boiling point as parties are working against time to make final efforts to net more votes from the 552 890 registered voters.

Although officials of different parties have never ceased to preach their gospel through rallies and launch of manifestos, political campaigns reached fever pitch after October 30 was declared election day. In Gaborone, posters of candidates immediately littered the city's streets while billboards and televised advertisements added a new dimension to the campaign.

As is the tradition, parties embarked on motorcades on the eve of the election as a final showdown and today will be no different as all the parties contesting tomorrow's general election embark on what some of them call "the grand finale." Eight political parties are contesting this year's election, which is the ninth since the country gained independence in 1966.

They are: New Democratic Front (NDF), Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Botswana Congress Party (BCP), MELS, Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the tripartite pact of Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM).

There are 57 constituencies, which are being contested by 178 parliamentary candidates and 490 wards contested by 1 359 council nominees. BDP is fielding candidates in all the 57 constituencies while the tripatite pact is fielding 54 followed by BCP with 50, NDF 11, MELS (four). There are two independent candidates. The SDP is fielding two council candidates.

Presidential nominees are incumbent President Festus Mogae (BDP), Otsweletse Moupo (BNF), Otlaadisa Koosalatse (BCP) and Dick Bayford (NDF).

BDP executive secretary Botsalo Ntuane told BOPA that his party would embark on what he called a " mother of all political rallies" this afternoon at Notwane Freedom Square in Gaborone.

President Mogae will deliver his final message at the rally, which will be preceded by a "massive motorcade" of all the five Gaborone constituencies starting from 11a.m. till lunch hour.

Ntuane said local kwasa-kwasa king Franco, Vee, Scar, Puna Gabasiane and other local artists are expected to spice the occasion with their music.

He added that Franco and Vee are expected to shuttle and alternate between Gaborone and Molepolole where there will be another big rally. Other constituencies are also expected to organise their final rallies, which are expected to last until 7p.m. to give the electorate enough time to prepare for election day, Ntuane said.

BNF held its last major events on Sunday and Wednesday, which were characterised by a motorcade of the five Gaborone constituencies; and political rallies addressed by Moupo at Kanye, Mochudi, Gaborone Bus Rank and the University of Botswana (UB).

However, the campaign continues today with motorcades and rallies that will last until midnight, according to BNF's Paul Rantao.

On the other hand, BCP's publicity secretary Dumelang Saleshando told BOPA that they would conclude their campaigns with motorcades and rallies in different parts of the country.

He said the BCP would have motorcade around the capital city, starting at 2p.m. at Old Naledi and end at Gaborone West at 6p.m. today.

According to NDF Secretary General Phillip Monowe, the party will also embark on a motorcade of the five Gaborone constituencies culminating in rallies and night vigils around the city. BOPA


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