Staff members work on ballot counting in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana, Oct. 24, 2019. Botswana kicked off its 12th general election on Wednesday at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) with all the 2,296 polling stations opened on time across the 57 constituencies. (Photo by Tshekiso Tebalo/Xinhua)
GABORONE, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of thousands of Botswana citizens on Wednesday braved the extremely high temperatures across the southern African country to cast their vote in the general elections.
Queues snaked around most of the 2,296 polling stations on a day when temperatures were estimated at 38 to 40 degrees Celsius in almost all parts of this diamond-rich nation.
"Today is a historic day for me. So nothing could hold me back," 19-year-old Nametso Mpho told Xinhua as she voted at Masa Primary School in the capital city of Gaborone.
Mpho, who is studying community development at the University of Botswana, said it was the first time for her to exercise the democratic right of choosing the government.
"I have great feeling that I have done the right thing by partaking in an exercise that will result in the country being taken forward by a government chosen by the majority," she said.
Botswana kicked off its 12th general election on Wednesday at 7 a.m. local time (0500 GMT) across the 57 constituencies. Some 924,000 Botswanans out of a population of 2.1 million have registered to vote.
Most Botswanans say the extremely high temperature would not deter them from queuing for long hours.
"Elections come once every five years," Thato Sikwane, a radio personality, told Xinhua while clutching a bottle of water under the scorching sun. "My conscience could not allow me to be left out of this notable exercise."
Amogelang Nontle said the peace and tranquility that prevails in the country should motivate the people to exercise their right to vote.
President Mokgweetsi Masisi cast his vote in his home village of Moshupa, some 85 km west of Botswana's capital city, while his main rival Duma Boko of the Umbrella for Democratic Change voted at Masa Primary School in Gaborone.
Other presidential candidates include Ndaba Gaolatlhe of the Alliance for Progressives, and Biggie Butale of the newly formed Botswana Patriotic Front.