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BOTSWANA; 5O YEARS OF PEACE & STABLE DEMOCRACY IN THE WORLD’S CORE OF DIAMONDS

Pre-Independence History

Botswana on the Map of Africa

BOTSWANA was known as BECHUANALAND during the British Rule between March 1885 up until September 1966 when it gained its Independence.

Sir Seretse Khama born in a powerful African Royal Family in Bechuanaland known as Bamangwato rose to be the King of Bamangwato at the Age of 4 with his Uncle as the Regent in 1925 when his Father Sekgoma 2 who was the King died. While schooling in London Khama married a White Lady known as Ruth Williams. This sparked Anger among his Bamangwato People with which the neighboring South Africa Apartheid Regime used to influenced his Ouster as King of Bamangwato in 1950 and his subsequent Exile in London.After a series of Protests by his People who refused to replace him; He Khama and his Wife Ruth were allowed to return to Bechuanaland as private Citizens in1956.

In November 1961 Khama made a comeback to the Political Scene with a New Party which he Named ‘Bechuanaland Democratic Party’ with which he alongside other Pro-Independence Nationalists used to further push for Independence. Being an organized idealistic Party; BDP won the 1965 Legislative Elections with a Landslide which saw Seretse Khama rise to become Bechuanaland’s Prime Minister with his Party Secretary-general Quett Masire as his Deputy.

With their Positions, the Two made the final Negotiation for Independence and on 30th September 1966 Bechuanaland was gained its Independence from the British Rule. It was upon this renamed as the Republic of Botswana with Seretse Khama as its first President and Quett Masire as his Vice President as per the 1965 Self-Government Constitution.

Post-Independence Botswana

January 1967 Diamond Rocks known as Kimberlite were discovered at Orapa Central Botswana by a British Diamond Exploration Company known as ‘De Beers’.

The first Multi-Party Democratic General Elections in Botswana were held on October 1969. 77 Candidates in 4 Political Parties contesting to Govern this budding Democracy. The reigning Independence Party that had been renamed to ‘Botswana Democratic Party’ won this Election with a Landslide Victory winning 24/31 Elective Positions. Khama under Parliamentary Democracy was smoothly Re-elected back into Office by the National Assembly. BDP went on to win the 1974 and 1979 Elections with Landslide Victory giving Khama an easy way back to Office.

On 13th July 1980 President Seretse Khama who was 59-years old succumbed to Pancreatic Cancer while in Office. Quett Masire his Vice President immediately took over in acting capacity as per the Constitution; Five Days later Masire was confirmed as the new President in a National Assembly Vote of 18th July1980 with Festus Mogae, Peter Mmusi and Lenyeletse Seretse.

The BDP went on to win the 1984, 1989 and 1994 Elections with Landslide Victory giving President Quett Masire and easy hop from one Term to another. President Masire voluntarily resigned towards the end of his Third Term on April 1998 to engage in Diplomatic Initiatives leaving his Vice President Festus Mogae to take over ahead of the 1999 Elections. Quett Masire an esteemed Statesman and Diplomat died on 22nd June 2017 at the Age of 92-years. Again BDP won the 1999 Elections with a Landslide Victory and Festus Mogae was elected by the National Assembly as the new President. Mogae was Re-elected for his Second Term upon BDP’s Victory in the 2004 Elections.

18 Months to the end of his Second Term Festus Mogae who is now 80-years old  stepped down to allow for Transition leaving his Vice President Lt.Gen Ian Khama the Son of Botswana’s first President to steer the Country ahead of the 2009 Elections.

Again BDP won the 2009 Elections with a Landslide Victory and Ian Khama was confirmed as the new President. It went ahead to win the 2014 Elections this time losing the Popular Vote to the collective Opposition. It nonetheless maintained the National Assembly Majority thus securing President Ian Khama’s Second Term. President Ian who is now 66-Years old also stepped down on April 2018 a Year+ towards the end of his Second Term like his Predecessor to give time for Transition. He chose his 56-Years old Deputy Mokgweetsi Masisi to take over ahead of the October 2019 Elections.

Botswana October 2019 General Election

For the first time since 1969 when BDP took Power it is in this Election slated for 23rd October 2019 going to face a serious Challenge from the Opposition. With its Strongholds weakening since the 2014 Election; BDP is going into this Competitive High-stakes Election without its Significant Strongholds. Former President Ian Khama who still has Influence especially in Central Botswana broke ranks with his former Vice President and Successor President Mokgweetsi on April 2019 over bitter Policy and Ideology differences that have seen President Masisi overturn Key Policies of Ian’s Adminstration. Ian has as a result  quit and left BDP his Father’s Party that made him President and registered his own Breakaway Party known as ‘Botswana Patriotic Front’ on June 2019 which he is now seriously campaigning for alongside UDC (an Alliance of different Parties) which is the main Opposition in a bid to defeat the 50-years old BDP. He recently in a Campaign Rally went on record saying BDP is now a dead Party.

Six Political Parties will contest in this Election with Four of them fielding Presidential Candidates. President Mokgweetsi’s Long-ruling BDP Party is hoping to get confirmed by the Electorate, Mr. Duma Boko via UDC (Umbrella for Democratic Change) which is the main Opposition, Mr. Biggie Butale via the BPF (Botswana Democratic Front) and Mr. Ndaba Gaolathe via the AP (Alliance for Progressives). The Party that will win 29/57 Constituencies which is the Majority in the National Assembly will produce the 6th President of Botswana. Out of 1.6 Eligible Voters only 925,000 have been registered to vote in this Election.

The 4 Presidential Candidates in Botswana 2019 Election
L-R: Duma Boko, Biggie Butale, Incumbent President Mokgweetsi Masisi and Ndaba Gaolathe

Botswana Fact File

  • Botswana is the World’s largest producer and exporter of Diamonds in terms of Value. A recent discovery on April 2019 by a Canadian Diamond Mining Company in Botswana found a 1758 Carat-Diamond which is the Second largest Diamond to be discovered in History
  • Botswana is the Second most peaceful Country in Africa after Mauritius. It is the most Stable Democracy in Africa now flourishing with 50-years of Free and Fair Multi-Party Electoral Democracy often regarded as the epitome of Democracy
  • Despite being among Africa’s Top 25 biggest Countries in Area Size; Botswana is one of Africa’s most sparsely populated Countries now with a Total Population of 2.3 Million People. Kenya which is almost the same Size as Botswana has a Total Population of 50 Million People.
  • Botswana’s GDP currently stands at about 18 Billion U$D with Botswana Pula as the Country’s Currency
  • English is the Official Language while Setswana is the National Language with Christianity being the main Religion
  • Gaborone is the Capital City of Botswana.

Botswana’s Governing Party BDP;in Power since Independence in 1966 was again on October 26,2019 declared the Winner of this Election having Won 38/57 Seats in Parliament (66%) thereby guaranteeing President Mokgweetsi Masisi a smooth sail to a fresh Five-years Mandate. Coming Second was the Main Opposition Party UDC which managed to Win 15/57 Seats. The newly formed Opposition Party BPF Won 3 Seats with AP coming last with 1 Seat at the Country’s Parliament.

(Photos Courtesy)

MOZAMBIQUE; Independence, Rocky Political Journey Strained By Historical Political Antagonism

Mozambique Location on the African Map

Struggle for Independence

MOZAMBIQUE or MOCAMBIQUE in Portuguese was a Colony of Portugal since 1752 up until June 1975. Mozambique’s Struggle for Independence gained momentum on June 1962 when Three Mozambican Nationalist Organizations/Parties MANU, UDENAMO & UNAMI converged at Dar Es Salaam merged to form One Party in a bid to intensify the push for Independence. The “Mozambique Liberation Front” famously known as FRELIMO was formed under the Tutelage of Tanzania’s Founding President Mwalimu Julius Nyerere who was their Host since the Portuguese State in Mozambique could not allow such to take place. Sir Eduardo Mondlane was elected as FRELIMO’s first President with Uria Simango as his Vice President. Together with Marcelino Dos Santos, Joaquim Chissano and Samora Machel and the Central Committee returned to Mozambique guided by the spirit of Marxism and demanded Political Independence from Portuguese, an End to Economic Exploitation by the Western Nations and the formation of an all-inclusive Socialist Society of Mozambique.

FRELIMO’s second Congress of July 1968 adopted Marxist-Socialist Policies with Mondlane and Simango being re-elected as Party Leaders. Mondlane would later be Assassinated 7-Months later on February 3, 1969 through a packaged Bomb sent to him as a Gift at FRELIMO Headquarters in Tanzania in what is believed to have been a Conspiracy of Portuguese Agents with the help of some FRELIMO insiders. Simango his deputy took over with assistance from Marcelino and Machel who later on November 1969 ousted him and took control. The duo Marcelino and Machel who had received Military Training intensified Guerilla War against the Portuguese. A Military Coup in Portugal on April 1974 overthrew the Autocratic Regime of Estado Novo. The New Regime in Portugal started Negotiations to terminate the draining Portuguese War in Africa.

Portugal and FRELIMO started Negotiations for Mozambique’s Independence which culminated in the Lusaka Accord of September 1974 that created a Transitional Mozambique Government ahead of Official Independence Proclamation that happened on the 25th Day of June 1975 which was the 13th Anniversary of FRELIMO.

Independent Mozambique

FRELIMO established a One-Party State with its then President Samora Machel becoming the first President of the Newly-Independent People’s Republic of Mozambique. Lourenco Marques is renamed Maputo after Maputo River to become the Capital City of Mozambique.

With the FRELIMO Government facing a huge demanding Task of lifting the New Republic from Poverty, Illiteracy and general Lack of Key Infrastructure and Capacity; a Counter-Revolutionary Movement RENAMO (Mozambique National Resistance) funded by Colonial Prime Minister of Rhodesia (Modern-day Zimbabwe) Ian Smith and the Apartheid South African Regime begins to directly Confront FRELIMO. The Confrontations intensified to become a Fully-fledged Civil War that plagued the Young Nation of Mozambique for 15-Years between (1977-1992) . Characterized by Marxist FRELIMO led by President Samora Machel against  the Rebellious Anti-Communist RENAMO led by Andre Matsangaissa ; This War led to the Deaths of over 1-Million Mozambicans with RENAMO’s Rebel Leader also Killed in the fighting by Government Forces on October 17,1979.

Amid the War; President Samora Machel together with 33 FRELIMO Comrades died in a Mysterious Plane Crash at Mbuzini Hills of Mpumalanga in South Africa on October 19,1986 in what is believed to have been plotted by South Africa’s Anti-FRELIMO Apartheid Regime that was then being led by P.W Botha. No One has been held to account up to this day. Two Weeks after Machel’s death FRELIMO Central Committee elected Samora Machel’s close ally and Minister of Foreign Affairs Joaquim Chissano to take over; Chissano was sworn in on November 1986.

President Chissano introduced drastic changes Key among them changing from Marxism to Capitalism and the start of Peace-Talks with RENAMO in an attempt to end the Civil War. Chissano announced direct Talks with RENAMO on March 1990 and the Negotiations began on July 1990 at Rome-Italy. The Negotiations started bearing Fruits on November 1990 when a New Constitution was enacted. The New Constitution ushered in Democracy and Multi-Party Politics and a Bill of Human Rights. The Talks went on for Two Years and the Leaders of the Two Warring Parties President Chissano and the then RENAMO Rebel Leader Afonso Dhlakama finally met on August1992. The Two signed the ‘General Peace Agreement’ on October 1992 with 7-Protocols in it key among them being  the Ceasefire that brought the 15-Years Civil War to an End.

The first Democratic Multi-Party General Elections were held on October 1994. FRELIMO’s Joaquim Chissano won with 53% followed by RENAMO’s Afonso Dhlakama with 33%. FRELIMO also Won the Majority in the National Assembly. The 2nd General Election was held on December 1999 and FRELIMO Won again.Chissano was re-elected with 52% with RENAMO’s Dhlakama coming a Strong-Second with 47%.RENAMO Protested and Contested this Election at the Supreme Court but their Petition was thrown out. The 3rd  General Election was held on December 2004.President Chissano was not on the Ballot like he had earlier promised to Step down while criticizing his Neighboring Counterparts President Chiluba of Zambia and Mugabe of Zimbabwe  for overstaying in Power. Again FRELIMO’s Candidate in this Election Armando Guebuza won with 63% followed by RENAMO’s Dhlakama with 31%. President Guebuza was again in the 4th General Elections of October 2009 Re-elected with a Landslide Victory of 75% with RENAMO’s obvious Candidate Dhlakama nose-diving with 16%.

The 5th General Election was held on October 2014 with a New FRELIMO Candidate Filipe Nyusi winning with 57% against RENAMO’s obvious Candidate Dhlakama who got 36% in his 5th Unsuccessful attempt to get the Top Job. RENAMO’s insurgency had began in 2013 but it was mildly stopped by a Cessation Accord between Outgoing President Guebuza and RENAMO’s Dhlakama. It intensified after the 2014 General Elections Results that were rejected by RENAMO who demanded Control of 6 out of 11 Provinces of Mozambique which it claimed to have won.

RENAMO’s Longtime Leader and FRELIMO’s Arch-Rival died on May 3,2018 Aged 65-Years in what was reported to have been a Heart Attack.He died in Gorongosa Mountains his Hideout. RENAMO chose Ossufo Momade who was its Secretary General between 2007-2012 as its interim Leader who it would later Confirm as its Presidential Flag-bearer on January 2019 at its National Congress ahead of the October 2019 General Elections. A Military faction within RENAMO led by General Mariano Nhongo rejected his Election claiming it was influenced by FRELIMO and that  Momade was FRELIMO’s Project in the oncoming Election.

On August 1, 2019 President Nyusi signed a New Peace Accord with Momade in a bid to end armed hostilities between Government Forces and RENAMO but RENAMO’s Junta led by Gen.Nhongo have refused to drop their Weapons. Nhongo who claims to Command over 500 Armed RENAMO Junta has vowed to totally disrupt the oncoming Elections if the Nyusi Government will not have negotiated with them directly saying they do not recognize the August Peace Treaty. The Junta heavily concentrated in the Northern Part of Mozambique that is Rich in Natural Gas has actually claimed responsibility on some Acts of Violence being witnessed in the Country in the ongoing Election Campaign Caravans. The Northern Part has been experiencing deadly Conflict Since the discovery of huge Natural Gas Deposits in 2010. Since the start of 2019 Election Campaigns at least 30 People including one Senior Election Observer identified as Mr.Matavel have been reported dead with little intervention from the Government. The Amnesty International has named Civil Society Leaders, Human Rights Activists and the Press as endangered groups in the looming Electoral Crisis.

Mozambique’s Historical Political Arch-Rival Parties To Date

MOZAMBIQUE October 15, 2019 General Election

Mozambique October 15,2019 General Elections

This 6th Multi-Party General Election will again largely be pitting Mozambique’s Independence Party FRELIMO that has been in Power for 44-Years Now against its familiar obvious Opposition Party RENAMO; The Two have been competing for 25-Years since 1994. President Filipe Nyusi will be seeking his 2nd and last Term in Office under FRELIMO; a Party whose Credibility and Influence is fast-waning against a disjointed RENAMO’s disputed Candidate Ossufo Momade. The other Two Presidential Candidates in this Election are Beira City Mayor since 2003 Daviz Simango of the MDM Party; an offshoot of RENAMO. Simango was a RENAMO Member from 1997 until March 2009 when he bolted out to form his own party the MDM (Democratic Movement of Mozambique). The other Presidential Candidate is Mario Albino with his AMUSI Party.

  • There are a Total of 26 Political Parties in this Election
  • 12.9 Million out of Mozambique’s 30.5 Million People have been Registered to Vote in this Election
  • There are over 20,000 Polling Stations spread out across the 11 Provinces of Mozambique
  • This will be the first Presidential Election without RENAMO’s Five-times Candidate the late Afonso Dhlakama who has been FRELIMO’s Arch-rival since 1994
  • Mozambique’s Independence Party FRELIMO that has been in Power since Mozambique’s Independence 44-Years is still the Front-runner in this Election
  • For the first time courtesy of the Maputo August 2019 Peace Accord; Provincial Governors will be directly Elected not Appointed by Executive Decrees
  • In Terms of GDP; Mozambique whose Economy is highly dependent on Agriculture is among the 10 Poorest Nations in Africa with a GDP of 14 Billion USD; This is expected to change for the better with the 2010 Discovery of over 75-Trillion Cubic Feet of Natural Gas in Mozambique’s Northern Coast of Cabo Delgado Province. This according to Italian and American Companies at the Center of this Discovery makes Mozambique one of the World’s Top Liquefied Natural Gas Hubs. Commercial Production and Export is set to start in 2024
  • The Country’s Official Currency is known as Mozambican  Metical while the Official Language is Portuguese (Inherited from the Colonial Master) although Native Languages like Swahili, Makhuwa, Sena and Ndau  are also widely Spoken
  • Mozambique’s Main Religion is Christianity although there is also a good number of Muslim Faithfuls

On October 27,2019 Mozambique’s Electoral Commission CNE declared incumbent President Filipe Nyusi of the Long-ruling Party FRELIMO as the Winner of this October 15th Election with 73% giving him a fresh Five-years Mandate.Main Opposition RENAMO’s Candidate Ossufo Momade garnered 21.88% of the Vote. In an Election that saw a Turnout of 50.74% the other Two Presidential Candidates MDM’s Daviz Simango garnered 4.38% with AMUSI’s Mario Albino garnering 0.73% of the Total Valid Votes. The main Opposition totally rejected the final Results of what they termed as the “most fraudulent Election ever” challenging it all the way to the Constitutional Council of the Supreme Court where their Petition was dismissed on November 15,2019. RENAMO said FRELIMO has again violated Mozambique’s Third ‘Peace Accord’ signed on August 2019 between FRELIMO Leader President Filipe Nyusi and Ossufo Momade the Leader of RENAMO by manipulating this Election with Violence, Intimidation and Massive Electoral Fraud thereby putting the Fragile Peace and Calm of this Country at Stake.