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Botswana election contenders take swipes at each other ahead of voting

President Mokgweetsi Masisi said unlike his predecessor Ian Khama, if he lost in Wednesday elections he would accept the outcome and would not return to destabilise the government.

FILE: Former Botswana President Ian Khama. Picture: United Nations Photo.

GAROBONE - Botswana's leading election contenders have laid into each other in their last-ditch debate to woo voters.

President Mokgweetsi Masisi said unlike his predecessor Ian Khama, if he lost in Wednesday's elections, he would accept the outcome and would not return to destabilise the government.

But Khama, who left the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), said he wanted the party that has governed the country since independence to lose because Masisi was undermining democracy.

Masisi and three other presidential hopefuls took part in a public debate and Khama made an appearance at the final rally of the Botswana Patriotic Front.

Khama and his successor Masisi have been at each other's throats throughout the campaigning season.

Khama's departure has analysts predicting, for the first time, that a new party could govern Africa’s most stable democracy.

After a fall out with his anointed successor, Khama vowed to support all candidates that would ensure the BDP loses the elections.

He accused Masisi of being dictator: “Those in charge of BDP are undermining democracy…”

Masisi said unlike Khama, he would accept the outcome of the elections and stay out of politics if he lost.

“BDP and I respect the constitution, so we will accept the outcome and I won't come back like some people who look like they forgot something.”

The other four main political parties said they too would accept the outcome but have accused intelligence agencies of meddling in the election.

This is seen as the most fiercely contested poll yet for Botswana.

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