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Botswana launches voter registration drive ahead of 2024 poll

FRANCISTOWN, BOTSWANA - OCTOBER 24: Polling officers count ballot boxes at Francistown College of Training and Vocational Education after the ending of Botswana General Elections, in Francistown, Botswana on October 24, 2014. (Photo by Keoagile Bonang/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Agency

Botswana’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) will for the next three months conduct a supplementary voter registration exercise.

The electoral body said the supplementary phase would accommodate people who had not registered ahead of the 2019 general elections, and those that “had registered but do not have a valid entry in the roll for whatever reason”, as well as those that turned 18 after the cut-off date of 28 April 2019.

After registration, the targeted demographic would appear on the voters’ roll in June next year.

“It is anticipated that the supplementary roll resulting from this registration phase will become operational in June 2022,” said Idah Seoforeng, the IEC’s acting spokesperson.

On December 11 last year, Botswana held by-elections for 11 vacant council seats.

The ruling party Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won Tumasera, Metsimotlhabe and Moshupa East, wards while opposition parties won the Nkange, Tamasane, Khwee, Motokwe, Lentsweletau, Mochudi East, Lorolwane and Ga Molopo wards.

If there are any by-elections before June 2022, those registered during the three-month phase, which runs from 17 January to 31 March this year, will not be eligible to vote.

“Should there be any by-election in any constituency/polling district after June 2022, the voters who registered during this phase will only then be eligible to participate in the electoral process,” Seoforeng said.

At the 2019 general elections, there were 925 478 registered voters in Botswana.

The turnout was 84.15%, a decrease of 0.6% from the previous elections.

The general elections were widely regarded as free and fair.

Since Botswana obtained its independence in 1963, there has been a smooth transition of five presidents, all from the BDP.

The Global Happiness Index of 2021 said Botswana was the happiest country in southern Africa.

The index by the Institute for Economics and Peace measures the relative position of nations and regions’ peacefulness in terms of rule of law and democracy.

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