‘BDP will win elections without outright majority’

Koobonye Ramokopelwa - BG reporter
Wednesday, 20 February 2019
‘BDP will win elections without outright majority’

The country’s long time rulling party, Botswana Democratic Party is expected to win the upcoming general elections albeit without an outright majority. This is according to a fresh report coming from Africa’s leading bank by assets, Standard Bank.

The report, which covers politics and economics of countries where the banking group has operations such as Botswana, was made public last week.  BDP, which has ruled the landlocked country since independence more than 50 years ago, is likely to enter the general elections a highly divided lot.  This is largely due to the standoff between President Dr. Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor, Dr Ian Khama. A former army commander, Khama is backing Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi for the BDP Presidency ahead of the party’s elective congress expected in July.

“Despite the dispute between Ian Khama and Masisi, we still expect BDP to win the general elections in October 19, though perhaps not by an outright majority. “Chances of the UDC (Umbrella for Democratic Change) coalition strengthening before the 2019 general elections are slim, not while tensions about the constituencies persist,” said the report titled African Markets Revealed.  BDP won 37 of the total 57 constituencies in the last general elections held in October 2014. Following the results of the 2014 general election the BDP leadership was concerned by its declining popular vote as the party only managed 47 per cent of the popular vote, the party’s weakest performance since 1966.

The report further noted that, ‘lack of cooperation between the main opposition parties may provide some safe haven for the ruling party’. ‘Hence, if UDC coalition was to unite amid BDP weakness, it may lead to the ruling party losing the general election to UDC’. However, it appears the opposition parties are also divided post the 2014 general election where they made inroads into BDP constituencies. Botswana Guardian last month reported that Alliance for Progressives, a splinter party from Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), has outrightly rejected advances from UDC to join them ahead of the highly anticipated elections.  

AP is led by Ndaba Gaolathe, son to former finance minister, Baledzi Gaolathe, who was a BDP member. Previously, there were reports that BDP is courting Gaolathe junior. Meanwhile, Standard Bank which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has made it clear the current political turbulence as impermanent.  “We view the current political turmoil as temporary; we expect no significant deviation from the current economic policy, even if the BDP lost the election,” said the report in part.

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