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Elections: Botswana and Zimbabwe

Volume 714: debated on Wednesday 4 November 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the elections held in Botswana on 16 October 2009; and how these elections compare with the last elections held in Zimbabwe. [HL5809]

The Commons supports the preliminary report of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which stated that the general election held in Botswana on 16 October 2009 was “credible, peaceful, free and fair”.

The election process was overseen by observers from SADC, the African Union (AU), the SADC Parliamentary Forum and the Botswana Election Support Network. Various diplomatic missions, including our high commission, acted as local observers. Observers agreed that despite election procedures being initially slow, they were meticulously followed. The pre-election phase was characterised by a peaceful political atmosphere and all political parties were free to hold rallies and meetings without hindrance. The Independent Electoral Commission conducted its work in a transparent and professional manner.

The election in Botswana was significantly different from the 2008 Zimbabwean elections which did not meet African standards and did not reflect the will of the people, with widespread state-sponsored violence and intimidation. This view was made clear by African observers from SADC, the AU and the Pan-African Parliament.