The Big Governance Issues in Botswana: A Civil Society Submission to the African Peer Review Mechanism

Botswana is praised globally for its prudent economic management, good governance and multi-party democracy. Elections are held every five years, fundamental human rights and freedoms are protected, citizens have access to essential goods and services, and corruption levels remain low. The country’s Constitution is the supreme law of the land and protects all citizens against any form of abuse. It sets out the parameters of how public administrators and politicians can attain and exercise power on behalf of citizens. To this end, several oversight institutions have been established to ensure that activities, in both public and private spheres, are carried out according to the rule of law. Moving away from the centralised system of governance inherited from the traditional chiefs at independence in 1966, independent Botswana is grounded on and governed by democratic ideals, where political leaders are elected openly and public servants are appointed on merit. A concerted effort has been made to engage citizens in the decision-making process and to bring services closer to them through the establishment of local authorities. These include district and urban councils, land boards, tribal and district administration, and public enterprises or parastatals. These achievements have meant that Botswana is well respected globally. However, underlying issues continue to threaten the country’s reputation. This document will discuss 12 key good governance issues that have been identified by representatives of various civil society organisations (CSOs) participating in the Botswana APRM Popular Sensitisation (BAPS) Project