Direct election of president 'rejected'


The Presidential Commission of inquiry into the Review of the Constitution has rejected some Batswana’s submissions for direct election of the President.

Instead, the Commission recommended that the current system of electing the President should be retained. The current system is that a person becomes President if supported by the majority of the elected members of the National Assembly. According to the report there were submissions that advocated for direct election of the President, as is the case with Members of Parliament (MPs) and councillors. “The reason advanced was that direct election of the President will enhance the democratic dispensation in Botswana by essentially transferring power to electorate,” reads the report in part.

However, the Commission opted to take the views of some Batswana who believed that the current system of election of the President by MPs has preserved the stability and peace since independence. Those supporting the current system underscored that the people should respect, protect and uphold the practice which has worked well for the country thus far. “They submitted that the direct election of the President has not worked in some countries. Supporters of this view further submitted that the President leads with the cooperation of MPs, especially from his or her party. To this extent, difficulties will be encountered where the President would be forced to work with an opposition dominated Parliament. This they argued, was a recipe for chaotic governance that would delay decision making,” further reads the report. In terms of the Vice President (VP) the Commission revealed that some Batswana wanted the automatic succession of the vice president be abolished and that elections should be conducted to fill the vacancy when the President ceases to hold office.

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