Botswana: The September 1984 General Election

Extracted from: "Botswana" IN Compendium of Elections in Southern Africa (2002), edited by Tom Lodge, Denis Kadima and David Pottie, EISA, 44-45.

This was the first election under the presidency of Sir Ketumile Masire. After the 1981 census a new delimitation of constituencies took place. Gaborone, which already had more than 50 000 voters, was subdivided into two constituencies.

The percentage poll was the highest ever recorded (the 1989 and 1994 elections included) and the ruling BDP once again demonstrated its dominance (see 1984 National Assembly results for details). However, the BNF made a come-back by winning both the Gaborone seats and increasing its share of the total vote to 20.5%, compared with 12.9% in 1979. The election produced a dramatic turn of events for both the BDP and the BNF in the Gaborone South constituency where BNF co-leader Kenneth Korna originally lost against Vice-President Peter Mmusi. Koma took the matter to court following the discovery of an unopened ballot box after the final count. The High Court annulled the election and ordered a by-election which was held in December that year. This time Mmusi was defeated by Koma who was thus elected to the National Assembly for the first time. An additional pointer to what could happen in the future was the fact that in the local government elections the BNF gained control of all the urban councils, except the town council of Selebi-Phikwe.

Contesting parties: In addition to the usual four parties [Botswana Democratic party (BDP), Botswana People's Party (BPP), Botswana Independence Party (BIP), Botswana National Front (BNF)], the Botswana Progressive Union (RPU) participated.
Leaders: Masire (BJ)P), Bathoen (BNF), Motsamai Mpho (BIP), and Knight Maripe, who had succeeded Philip Matante after his death (in 1979) as leader of the BPP, and Daniel Kwele, formerly a BNF leader, who led the BPU until his death in 1991 (he was succeeded by Tabulawa Mokgethi).
Constituencies contested: BDP 34, BNF 27, BPP 13, BIP 4, BPU 4
Uncontested constituencies: None