Democracy and Botswana’s Electoral System

This paper underscores the fact that Botswana has the longest-serving democracy in sub-Saharan Africa and yet remains deficient in the application of democratic norms. The electoral system that Botswana uses, the simple majority first-past-the-post (FPTP) system, is one of the elements held accountable for the limited extent of democracy in the country. It is widely recognised that the political stability and accountability the country enjoys is a result of the FPTP system. Nevertheless, the system is considered to be wanting in many important indicators of democracy such as popular representation, inclusiveness, and consensus building. In the light of this the paper recommends electoral reform that would not throw away the positive attributes of the FPTP system but build on them to introduce more inclusive processes. The paper recommends that instead of taking the extreme position of introducing proportional representation, which also has its fair share of problem, leading to government instability and lack of accountability and effective links between politicians and the electorate, it recommends a middle of the road solution – the mixed member proportionality system – which strives to include the best elements of the other two electoral systems.

File Type: pdf
Categories: Journal of African Elections
Tags: Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), First-Pass-the-Post (FPTP), Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), mixed member proportionality system (MMP), Southern African Development Community (SADC)