Botswana: 900, 000 voters to decide as polls open in general election
About 900,000 registered voters will today decide the contest between the ruling Bostwana Democratic Party (BDP) and a coalition of opposition parties under the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in a general election that is underway.
Polling stations have opened in a general election seen as the most closely fought since the country gained independence in 1966.
Botswana’s independent newspaper Mmegi has tweeted a photo of voters at a polling station in the capital Gaborone.
The country’s politics have been shaken up by former President Ian Khama, who has denounced his successor, Mokgweetsi Masisi, for reversing many of his policies – including a ban on elephant trophy hunting.
Mr Khama now supports the opposition coalition, which is considered to stand good a chance of unseating the BDP.
The opposition coalition, led by Gaborone lawyer Gideon Duma Boko, has a manifesto promising 100,000 jobs.
In a country where more than 20% of its 2.2 million population are unemployed, and which is also gripped with growing anxiety about migration from other African countries, the opposition coalition feels it can do well in the poll.
The southern African nation is rich in diamonds and seen as one the continent’s most stable countries.