Politics of Botswana

Politics of Botswana takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Botswana is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Botswana. Since independence the party system is dominated by the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). The Judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Botswana is formally a multiparty constitutional democracy. Each of the elections since independence in September 1966 has been freely and fairly contested and has been held on schedule. The country's small white minority and other minorities participate freely in the political process. There are two main rival parties and a number of smaller parties. However, Botswana is also a dominant-party state in that the BDP has never lost power since independence. Some argue that the openness of the country's political system has been a significant factor in Botswana's stability and economic growth. General elections are held at least every 5 years.

Legislative branch

The National Assembly has 53 elected and 4 appointed members; it is expanded following each census (every 10 years).

The advisory House of Chiefs represents the eight principal subgroups of the Batswana people, and four other members are elected by the subchiefs of four of the districts. A draft of any National Assembly bill of tribal concern must be referred to the House of Chiefs for advisory opinion. Chiefs and other leaders preside over customary, traditional courts, though all persons have the right to request that their case be considered under the formal British-based legal system.

A possible cultural explanation for Botswana's democracy lies in Setswana traditions, exemplified by the Kgotla, or village council, in which the powers of traditional leaders are limited by custom and law.

Local government

Local government is administered by nine district councils and five town councils. District commissioners have executive authority and are appointed by the central government and assisted by elected and nominated district councilors and district development committees. There has been ongoing debate about the political, social, and economic marginalization of the San (indigenous tribal population). The government's policies for remote area dwellers continue to spark controversy and to be revised in response to domestic and donor concerns.Fact|date=April 2008

Political parties and elections

Judicial branch

Botswana's High Court has general civil and criminal jurisdiction. Judges are appointed by the president and may be removed only for cause and after a hearing. The constitution has a code of fundamental human rights enforced by the courts, and Botswana has a good human rights recordFact|date=April 2008.

[http://www.saflii.org/bw/cases/BWCA/ Judgments of the Botswana Court of Appeal]

[http://www.saflii.org/bw/cases/BWHC/ Judgments of the Botswana High Court]

International organization participation

ACP, AfDB, C, ECA, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, ISO, ITU, NAM, OAU, OPCW, SACU, SADC, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO, WT


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