Gaborone — As Botswana heads to the polls next Wednesday, the four presidential candidates have assured the nation that they will accept the outcome of the elections.
In a debate that pitted the candidates against each other on Wednesday, two of them, Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Mr Ndaba Gaolathe of Alliance for Progressives (AP) indicated that they would accept the results of the elections whether they favoured their respective parties or not.
Dr Masisi said the BDP, which has held power since independence, was a party that had an established track record of respect for the rule of law, hence there was no doubt that the it would accept the outcome of the polls.
He expressed confidence that the BDP would win the elections convincingly, particularly because the party had already started to deliver on the promises it had made to the nation in its election manifesto.
On the question on foreign policy, he said when given a fresh mandate, the BDP government would pursue a foreign policy that safeguarded the interests of Batswana.
Dr Masisi said in forging relations with other countries, the party’s government would put the interests of the nation in the forefront, and ensure that the relations helped push forward the country’s development agenda.
Mr Gaolathe similarly stated that the AP would respect the laws of the country and accept the results regardless of how the party fared.
The AP president assured the nation that the party, though generally regarded as having slim chances of taking over state power, would put up a spirited fight and a remarkable showing at the polls and thereby entrench its position as a key feature in Botswana’s political landscape.
On foreign policy, Mr Gaolathe said it was paramount to be aware that there was a shift in global power, and that in establishing relations with other countries, Botswana must realise her position as a small country and guard against being an aggressor.
He said under AP rule, Botswana would establish relations with advanced economies that would help the country to develop further.
Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) candidate, Mr Biggie Butale said the party would accept the outcome of the polls provided they were conducted in a free and fair manner.
Mr Butale said the BPF, when elected into office, would establish relations with countries with a culture as a well as a good track record of democracy, justice and the rule of law as well as the respect for human rights.
For the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) Advocate Duma Boko shared the BPF candidate’ sentiments and stated that the coalition would accept the results if the elections were held in a transparent, free and fair manner, free of any rigging.
He however accused state security agencies such as the Directorate of Intelligence and Security Services (DISS) and Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) of having a hand in trying to help the BDP rig the elections.
He said if the agencies would cease interfering in the elections process, the UDC would accept the results of the polls.
The UDC candidate, like others, said under the party’s rule, Botswana would pursue a foreign policy that benefitted Batswana.
He said the UDC government would be guided by whether or not the relations with a particular country were in the best interest of Botswana.