RUSTENBURG, South Africa
Voting began in Botswana on Wednesday morning, to elect the president and the parliament, to rule the country over next five years.
Polling started in the landlocked comparatively wealthy Southern African nation at 6:30 a.m. (0530 GMT). It will close at 7 p.m (0600 GMT).
Trends suggest that the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is facing stiff competition for the first time in the 50 years of its political dominance.
In the twist of events, former President Ian Khama, who handpicked current President Mokhweetsi Masisi, as his successor has extended his support to the opposition coalition.
Khama fell out with Masisi in May and has endorsed the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) – an opposition alliance — giving stiff competition to the ruling party.
Like any other African countries, unemployment, inequality and a call for improved service delivery, were the main issues that dominated the election campaigns.
Over 900,000 people had registered to vote, to choose legislators and also the local government representatives.
Botswana, home to 2.1 million people, is considered comparatively a rich African nation, with a large middle-income group with stable economy and democratic system. The country has enjoyed rapid economic growth, largely due to resources, including diamonds, uranium and copper.
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