n Journal of African Elections - Electoral competition in Botswana - is the playing field level?

Volume 12, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1609-4700



The central thesis of this article is that the electoral process in Botswana belies the oft-cited claim that the country is a haven of democracy. Botswana has held ten successive elections since 1965, yet the same party, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), has been returned to power without fail. At a glance, and taking these elections into consideration, Botswana would appear to be an extraordinary country in the African context - one where democracy is in the process of consolidation. Far from it. A closer assessment shows that Botswana's electoral competition is deceptive and that there is a deficit of competitive elections, a key requisite for the consolidation of democracy. The article examines the factors that contribute to the flawed electoral competition and concludes that the country's electoral process does not satisfy international standards of free and fair elections.

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