State and politics
Since independence, Botswana has been a multi-party state
and one of the most stable and functioning democracies in
Africa. Also see AbbreviationFinder for abbreviation of BC and its meanings of Botswana. However, the opposition has been divided and weak
and the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has been in
power since independence in 1966.
The Constitution is from 1966, with an addition from
1997. According to the Constitution, the President holds the
executive power, but may, according to the 1999 supplement,
be re-elected only once. The president is elected for five
years by the elected members of the National Assembly.
Together with the President, the National Assembly has the
legislative power. All presidents have been men.
The National Assembly, for which the government is
responsible, has 65 members, of which 57 are elected
directly for five years in a majority election in one-man
constituencies. Six members are elected by Parliament, and
two, the President and the Chancellor of Justice, are
members by virtue of their respective offices. The number of
members is adjusted after each census. In addition, there is
an advisory upper house that has 35 members, which includes
the chiefs of the eight most important people groups. Of the
other members, 22 are elected at regional level and five are
elected by the president.
All presidents have come from the Botswana Democratic
Party (BDP), which has dominated the country's
political life. For long periods, critical voices have come
from the BDP's own ranks rather than from the weak
opposition. High unemployment, growing income gaps and the
AIDS epidemic have created some dissatisfaction with BDP.
However, the opposition is disadvantaged by the one-man
election circuit; In 1999, for example, the BDP received 57
percent of the vote but over 80 percent of the seats in the
The first president, Seretse Khama, made Botswana known
for a distinct policy of reconciliation. Diamond deposits
made it possible to reduce dependence on South Africa. After
Kama's death in 1980, Ketumile Masire became president. He
resigned in 1998 and was succeeded by Vice President Festus
Mogae, who was then elected by Parliament in October 1999.
Mogae remained as president until 2008, when he resigned in
favor of Vice President Ian Khama, son of Seretse Khama.
After the 2009 and 2014 elections, Ian Khama was elected by
Parliament. In April 2018, Khama and his representatives
resigned in favor of their Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi,
who could remain after BDP's 2019 election victory.
The most important opposition party over the years has
been the Botswana National Front (BNF), which
usually gathers about 25 percent of the vote and has the
strongest support in the cities. After cutting the number of
mandates from twelve to six in the 2009 election, BNF 2012
formed the Alliance Umbrella for Democratic Change
(UDC) together with the Botswana Movement for Democracy
(BMD), which was formed in 2010 by defectors from BDP
critical of Ian Khama's authoritarian leadership style, and
Botswana. People's Party (BPP), which has not
reached parliamentary representation since 1984.
The Botswana Congress Party (BCP) is described
as social democratic and is the only other party that has
more than exceptionally managed to get into Parliament in
recent decades. In 2017, BCP announced that the party had
joined the UDC ahead of the 2019 elections.
Because of a conflict with President and Party leader
Masisi, Ian Khama left the BDP in 2019 and instead gave his
support to the newly formed party Botswana Patriotic
Front, which after the election in the same year got
three parliamentary seats. The Alliance for Progressives,
formed by politicians excluded from the BMD, also managed to
get into parliament. Of the members who took office in 2019,
seven (11 percent) were women.
Botswana actively participates in the cooperation in
Southern Africa, especially within the Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC).
The legal system in Botswana is mainly based on Roman law
imported from South Africa in Dutch vintage (Roman-Dutch
law), English law and local customary law. In addition
to magistrates' courts, the High Court and
the Court of Appeal, Botswana also operates
traditional courts, which apply customary law. The death
penalty is punished for some serious crimes.
Violence and sexual violence against women are widespread
and there is no law against rape in marriage. Sexual
harassment against women is a widespread problem and occurs
in schools as well as in government, where men generally
have higher positions than women.
Despite stricter legislation, the indigenous people are
discriminated against . The group, which had previously been
forced to move from their traditional lands, now has legal
support in being able to return, but few are aware of these
rights and thus do not return. The San people are
economically and politically marginalized and have very
limited access to education.
In 2019, homosexual acts were decriminalized through a
court decision in the High Court.
The country is relatively free from corruption.
Heads of State