The Botswana Congress Party participated in most of the by-elections held over the past weekend. As with past elections, the results show that the BCP continues to register growth in a number of areas. It will be recalled that the BCP first contested elections in 1999 and garnered 11% of the total votes cast at a national level.
In the subsequent general elections, we increased our share of the popular vote by 5%, the highest growth rate ever achieved in the recent political history of Botswana.
The Palapye results show that, for the first time ever, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won the Palapye constituency with the smallest margin compared to the past results. Though we did not win the constituency, we scooped 41% of the total votes cast in Palapye.
In 2004, the BCP was only voted for by 33% of the voters who turned out to vote. We are convinced that if the current growth rate is maintained, we should be able to win the Palapye constituency in 2009.
Developments in Gaborone also indicate that the BCP is well positioned to make a major impact within the capital city. The Marulamantsi by-election results show that our party has become more attractive to residents of Gaborone. During the 2004 general elections, the BCP was voted for by 14% of the voters in Marulamantsi, which has now increased to 37%. We believe that the good performance in the ward reflects the general mood of the voters in Gaborone who are attracted towards the politics of the BCP in growing numbers.
By-elections are the best indicators of party growth or decline in between general elections. The past weekend results, together with the results of recent by-elections held since the general elections, confirm that the BCP continues to be the fastest growing political party in Botswana. We may not have won any of the seats that were contested for over the past weekend, but there is reason to celebrate the fact that the future continues to look very bright for the BCP.
As we prepare to celebrate the BCP tenth anniversary later this year, we shall be celebrating the impact that BCP has had in the Botswana political landscape. Our vision of building a vibrant opposition party that can offer credible alternatives to the BDP policies has not been in vain.
We wish to most heartily thank all Batswana who turned out to vote for our party. We are aware that this show of growing confidence compels us to strive for excellence and to act responsibly at all times. We also wish to thank all party members who volunteered their time and resources to campaign for the party. Their continued hard work continues to propel the party to greater heights and strengthen our democracy.
Information & Publicity Secretary