Mokgweetsi Masisi has been sworn in as Botswana’s new president after the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won the country’s parliamentary elections last week.
The mood was upbeat at the University of Botswana venue were about 3,000 guests attended the inauguration of the country’s fifth democratically elected president. The 58-year-old took the oath of office at the University of Botswana Indoor Sports Arena in the capital, Gaborone.
The swearing-in was Botswana’s first to be held away from the Parliament building. Masisi has vowed to prioritise job creation during his tenure, to curb the country’s increasing unemployment rate.
The diamond-rich southern African country has long been considered one of Africa’s most stable democracies; however, it has also struggled with high unemployment, which official records peg at 17 percent. Some opposition parties have suggested that it is higher. Masisi also reiterated his government’s commitment to wildlife conservation in the country.
“My government will continue to seek an outcome that will set the tone for conserving our wildlife and elephants in particular,” Masisi said.
The BDP has ruled Botswana since independence from Britain in 1966, overseeing its rise from one of the world’s poorest nations to a middle-income country thanks to diamond production.
Other African countries were represented at the ceremony with President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, President Edgar Lungu of Zambia and President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique in attendance. Former Botswana president Festus Mogae was also there, but Khama was notable by his absence.