Election Results Show Botswanan President Mogae’s Party Wins Majority in National Assembly
The ruling Botswana Democratic Party, which has won "praise" for its progress in fighting HIV/AIDS, over the weekend won a majority of seats in the country's National Assembly elections, securing a second term for President Festus Mogae, Reuters reports (Reuters, 11/1). Some voters said they feared that a BDP loss might "undermine" the country's HIV/AIDS treatment programs, even expressing concern that the programs might be "scrapped," the Orlando Sentinel reports (Orlando Sentinel, 10/31). In 2002, Botswana launched a national program to provide antiretroviral medications to HIV-positive residents with the help of a $100 million, five-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and drug maker Merck. Botswana has established 17 HIV/AIDS treatment centers, with 15 additional facilities planned. HIV prevalence in Botswana is 37.4% -- the second highest in the world after Swaziland -- and life expectancy in the nation has dropped to age 37. Mogae seized on the HIV/AIDS epidemic as the most pressing challenge facing his country after taking over the presidency in 1998. He openly talks about the need for safe sex and awareness of one's HIV status in order to fight the disease (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/26). Mogae was declared the winner of the presidency late on Sunday after it became clear that the BDP had won a majority in the 57-seat National Assembly, which appoints the president (AFP/Business Day, 11/1). The BDP has been the ruling party in Botswana since the country obtained independence in 1966 (Orlando Sentinel, 10/31).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.