Botswana: The October 1969 General Election

Extracted from: "Botswana" IN Compendium of Elections in Southern Africa (2002), edited by Tom Lodge, Denis Kadima and David Pottie, EISA, 43.

Having been founded after the 1965 election, the Botswana National Front (BNF) was now campaigning. Its left-leaning founder/leader, Dr Kenneth Koma, was overshadowed by the dynamic paramount chief of the Ngwaketse, Bathoen II, who had abdicated from this post to become president of the BNF - the first traditional leader to contest an election. Bathoen's disappointment with the impotence of the House of Chiefs, from which he also resigned, contributed in no small way to his move into modem politics.

Apart from the fact that there had been a substantial drop in the number of registered voters, those who could vote did so in proportionally smaller numbers (see 1974 election). As could be expected, the BNF won its three seats in the Ngwaketse area, including the one won by Bathoen (see 1969 National Assembly results for more detail). Koma failed to win a seat. The BDP candidate who lost his seat against Bathoen was future president Ketumile Masire, also a Ngwaketse. President Khama then had him installed as one of the non-elected members of parliament.The BIP gained its first parliamentary seat in the far northwest (Okavango constituency) where Motsamai Mpho was elected on less than 50% of the vote.

Contesting parties: Botswana Democratic party (BDP), Botswana People's Party (BPP), Botswana Independence Party (BIP) and the BNF.
Leaders: Seretse Khama (BDP), Philip Matante (BPP), Motsamai Mpho (BIP), Bathoen and Koma (BNF).
Constituencies contested: BDP 31, BNF 21, BPP 15, BIP 9, one independent candidate.
Uncontested constituencies: The BDP was unopposed in three constituencies.