n Journal of Public Administration - A democracy with weak oversight intitutions : an application to the "African miracle", Botswana

Volume 49, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0036-0767



Botswana has been variously praised as a "shining example of democracy" in Africa, the "African miracle" and a "deviant" case, among other celebratory descriptions. Apart from the high HIV and Aids prevalence rates, Botswana is acclaimed for its impressive economic, democratic and governance credentials. Scholarly works have tended to point at the positive traits of Botswana that are uncommon in Africa and less at the defects that exist within the country's system of governance. This paper seeks to fill this lacuna by arguing that Botswana's democracy is far from perfect because it is, among other things, characterised by weak oversight institutions. Botswana's Parliament and the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), in particular, are too weak to effectively carry out their mandate of providing checks and balances. The paper offers an analysis of the weaknesses of these institutions and concludes that they are appendages of the presidency and that this scenario militates against the consolidation of the country's democracy.

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