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Botswana presidential hopeful vows to defeat combined opposition challenge

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Botswana President Ian Khama steps down in April 2018, and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) newly-elected chairman and current vice president Mokgweetsi Masisi is hopeful of succeeding Ian Khama.

Masisi on Tuesday vowed to beat any challenge from the opposition coalition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), as preparations for the 2019 general elections heat up.
He spoke to journalists after beating his competitor, Infrastructure and Science minister Nonofo Molefhi during the party’s elective congress, polling 769 votes against Molefhi’s 269 votes.

Masisi said his major assignment is to ensure that the combined opposition is crippled before the general elections.
Masisi who retained his position as the BDP chairman said he contested because he wanted to consolidate power and deal with opposition parties’ threat, when President Ian Khama steps down next year.

A combined opposition is expected to give the ruling BDP a stiff challenge, if we go by the last general elections, when the BDP registered a 45 percent decline of popular vote due to the combined opposition.

In the parliamentary contests during 2014 general elections , the ruling BDP had garnered a total 320,665 votes or 46.7 percent, which shows a decline in popular vote of about 6.56 percent from the 2009 general elections performance.
In the 2009 general elections, the BDP emerged victorious with 53.26 percent and after 290,099 people voted for the party.

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