Thursday, July 18, 2024

Farmers, unemployed keeping BDP in power

Given what has happened during the past five elections, it would certainly not be in the interests of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party to create more jobs.

Going back to at least 1999, the greater share of votes received by BDP by employment status has always been from the unemployed. The greatest beneficiary of this vote was Festus Mogae who, a year earlier, had replaced Sir Ketumile Masire as president. In that year, the BDP received 66 percent of the unemployed vote while the share of the vote from the employed for the party stood at 54 percent. While the share would plummet five years later (to 54 percent) it was still the unemployed that propped up the BDP compared to the employed (46 percent). The trend continued under Ian Khama with a two percent increase in 2009. A steep decline in 2014 (50 percent) marked the lowest share the party had garnered amongst the unemployed. The situation changed dramatically in 2019 when the unemployed’s share of the vote rose to 62 percent, marking the first time since 1999 that this voter constituency had breached the 60 percent mark.

the share of votes received by BDP by occupation show that in a 30-year period between 1999 and 2019, the support of farmers has been critical for the party. The share of votes from farmers has consistently outstripped that of traders/workers and professional/employer. In 1999, the share of votes received by BDP from farmers was 76 percent. While the share would decline in 2004 and 2014, it shot back up (to 74 percent) in 2019. Interestingly, except for 2014 when the trader/worker slightly edged up, the unemployed have always tailed farmers as the most loyal support for BDP by occupation.

Of any other religious group, the BDP also enjoys the most loyal support from African Traditional Religion adherents. Possibly because of Ian Khama’s personal touch, the share of votes received by BDP in 2009 was a historic 82 percent – the figure was 74 percent in 2019.  The second highest share of the vote for the party comes from “Other Christian”, which is distinguished from Catholics, which has consistently been the third highest share of the vote. Atheists are also an important voter constituency for the BDP and in 2019, reached 50 percent for the first time. 


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