Opposition Politics and the Challenges of Fragmentation in Botswana

It has become an article of faith that in modern political life political parties are the legitimate and logical instruments through which the diverse interests of groups within any societal polity should be mobilised to negotiate peaceful coexistence and democratic governance. The failure of these instruments to perform this role in that manner in societies outside the Anglo-Saxon cultures in which they were born is too often glossed over as a reflection of certain persisting innate inabilities on the part of the non-Anglo-Saxon people on which they were imposed. However, it is the contention of this paper that it is not always very helpful to study political institutions born in one culture and grafted onto another by simple reference to their characteristics in the culture of their birth. Rather, it is more useful to acknowledge the historical specificity of their transfer and examine how this has inter-phased with the new cultural milieu to redefine their characteristics and define future directions for change. This paper is a study of Botswana’s political parties and their relations. Specifically it seeks to examine inter-party relations to assess prospects for opposition party cooperation for effective competition for the governing mandate.

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Categories: Journal of African Elections