Inter-Party Relations and Democracy in Botswana
"This report is a study on Botswana’s political parties and their relations. Specifically, it seeks to examine inter-party relations in order to assess the prospects for opposition party cooperation that could enhance competition for the governing mandate. The background to this study is that after decades of single party rule throughout the African continent, there has been increasing demand to democratize political practice and to institutionalize accountable governance through, among other things, meaningful competitive elections. In this broad international reflection, concern has also been raised over the fact that even in Botswana where multiparty competition for the popular mandate has been unbroken for 4 decades under relatively free and fair competitive elections, this has not yet yielded alternations in government. Against a history of continent wide authoritarianism, the inability of Botswana’s seemingly competitive political system to provide a change of government in the context of increasing and persistent national income disparities, creeping corruption and declining public service delivery has raised questions about the strength and depth of its institutional and cultural base. This is a concern that has been raised by Western academics as well as by African scholars. It is against this background that the scientific analysis of inter-party relations in Botswana is provided. The report starts with a retrospective examination of the development of political parties from alien institutions to representative agents, and the challenges they had to overcome in developing towards national unity. The report also examines the electoral models that are feasible in Botswana’s legal and political context, and interrogates the potential impact of this context on the party system and on inter-party relations in Botswana ‘s multiparty democracy."