Botswana Government

The Republic of Botswana is a multi-party constitutional democracy. Unlike other African countries, the elections held in the country since it gained its independence in 1966, have been on schedule and have been deemed fair by both the people of Botswana and by international observers. Another feature of the politics in Botswana is that the small white minority and other minority groups in the country can freely participate in the political processes in the country.

The National   Assembly  and the President

In Botswana, the people vote directly for their representatives in the National  Assembly  every five years, which is a 40-seat national legislative body. Currently, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) holds 33 seats; the Botswana National Front (BNF), six seats; and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) has one seat in the National  Assembly . People appointed by the president hold an additional four seats in the National  Assembly  that are currently held by the BDP. The number of seats in the National  Assembly  can be expanded as representative districts may grow, as shown by a census that is done every 10 years.

The president, who has executive power and is chosen by the National  Assembly  right after national elections are held, heads the government in Botswana. The president?s cabinet is chosen directly from the National  Assembly . The cabinet consists of a vice president, 12 ministers for government agencies and three assistant ministers.

Advisory Council and the Judiciary

There is also a House of Chiefs in the government of Botswana, which comprises the eight subgroups of the country and four other members elected by subchiefs of four of the districts. The House of Chiefs can be compared with the House of Lords in Britain, as bills are passed to them by the National  Assembly  for advisory opinion. However, the House of Chiefs usually presides over traditional courts and other customary bodies.

The High Court of Botswana has general civil and criminal jurisdiction, and the president appoints judges to this court. Judges to the High Court can only be removed after just cause is established after a series of hearings.

Local Governments

Nine district councils and five town councils administer the local government units in Botswana. District commissioners that are appointed by the central government head the districts, and they have executive authority. Elected and nominated district councilors and district development committees assist these district commissioners in their duties.

The government of Botswana is characterized by democratic vibrancy not seen in most of its neighbors. Given the stable political situation and economy of the country as a result of such vibrancy, Botswana is well poised to be a frontrunner in economic development in the region.