- President Festus Mogae of Botswana today received national and international congratulations on his re-election. The elections in Botswana were also globally hailed as democratic and fair. President Mogae, on the other hand, used the occasion to promise stronger education efforts for the country's indigenous San people.
President Thabo Mbeki of neighbouring South Africa, today telephonically extended South Africa's congratulations to President Mogae on his re-election as President of Botswana following weekend elections. President Mbeki said, "Please accept, on behalf of the government and people of South Africa, our congratulations on your re-election as the President of the Republic of Botswana."
President Mbeki described his Batswana counterpart as "a strong supporter of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the new partnership for Africa's development." He added that Mr Mogae's re-election "bodes well for the further implementation and consolidation of both the African agenda through AU institutions and NEPAD, as Africa's socio-economic development programme, in your country and region."
President Mbeki continued, "In line with the decisions of SADC and AU we are encouraged by the continuously strengthening institutions of democracy throughout the continent. The close fraternal relations between the people and governments of South Africa and Botswana finds expression in the Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation, which was signed by both our Ministers of Foreign Affairs in March 2003."
Also South Africa's ruling African National Congress (ANC) party today congratulated Mr Mogae and the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) on their victory in this weekend's parliamentary elections. The ANC further extended congratulations to all parties contesting the election and to the people of Botswana "for the peaceful and orderly manner in which the elections were conducted," the party said in a statement.
- These elections confirm Botswana's status as one of Africa's most enduring democracies, and are a victory for efforts to deepen democracy in Southern Africa and across the continent, the ANC statement added.
The statement was in line with other reflections on the high democratic standards of the poll. Earlier concerns over limited media access for the Batswana opposition were rejected by an analysis presented by the Botswana Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA). A survey of 115 election related news stories broadcast over 'Radio Botswana' showed that the ruling BDP had been given 38 percent coverage while the combined opposition had been 62 percent coverage.
The President-elect, on his behalf, used the occasion to announce even stronger efforts in Botswana's Remote Area Development Programme. "By 2003 educational enrolment among Basarwa [San] and other Remote Area Dwellers already stood at over 16,500 at Primary, 3500 at Secondary and 300 at Tertiary level, meaning that these communities too are also now beginning to truly enjoy the benefits of our national development," President Mogae announced.
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