Mmegi Online :: Botswana faces key democratic challenges Afrobarometer
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Last Updated
Friday 08 December 2017, 17:25 pm.
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Botswana faces key democratic challenges Afrobarometer

Although Botswana has successfully institutionalised many of the rules and procedures of electoral democracy, the country still faces several key democratic challenges.
By Oarabile Mosikare Fri 22 Apr 2016, 10:25 am (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Botswana faces key democratic challenges Afrobarometer








This is according to the Afrobarometer report titled: “Botswana’s democratic consolidation: What will it take?” dated January 2016 complied by Rorisang Lekalake. “One of its longstanding weaknesses has been low levels of civic engagement. Voter turnout as a proportion of the eligible population has failed to exceed 50 percent in seven of the country’s 11 elections, and voter apathy is a particular challenge among the nation’s youth. The country’s Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) has struggled to increase voter registration since its creation in 1997. Weak electoral participation is exacerbated by the absence of a strong civil society sector to promote civic education and participation between elections,” reads the report

The report says political opposition in Botswana has also been relatively weak, and opposition parties have struggled to present themselves as an alternative to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), which subtitled

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its 2004 election manifesto, “There is still no alternative.” “According to the June/July 2014 Afrobarometer survey, however, a plurality (44 percent) of Batswana agree (vs 38 percent who disagree) that the opposition does provide a viable alternative to the ruling party.  “Furthermore, the combined strength of the Umbrella for Democratic Change  coalition resulted in a highly competitive election in October 2014. For the first time in the country’s history, the BDP won less than a two-thirds majority of parliamentary seats in contention, and its share of the popular vote dipped below half.”

It further says this unprecedented opposition success may point toward further gains in 2019. But similar advances by the Botswana National Front (BNF) in the 1994 elections were lost after infighting led to the creation of a breakaway party in 1998, further splitting the opposition vote.

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