Botswana: Country and Foreign Investment
This page was last updated on 11 Apr 2019.
The Republic of Botswana is a fully participatory democracy and has a strong presidential system of government, i.e. the president is both head of state and head of government. In April 2018, after Ian Khama (son of founding father Seretse Khama) retired on reaching his full two five-year terms, then Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi was sworn in as president. The Cabinet is appointed by the president.
The Botswanan legislature, known as the Parliament, is unicameral. The sole house with full legislative powers is the National Assembly, which is composed of 57 voting members elected from constituencies by means of universal suffrage using the ‘first past the post’ system. A party that gains 29 or more seats forms the government and then – unusually – its MPs elect the president. There are also six non-voting members of parliament, four of whom are co-opted; the other two are the president and attorney-general.
The House of Chiefs (Tswana: Ntlo ya Dikgosi) is not a formal part of the legislature. It acts purely in an advisory capacity, especially with regard to tribal matters. The House consists of 15 members: the chiefs of the eight principal tribes, four elected subchiefs and three members selected by the other twelve.
In the last National Assembly elections, held in 2014, the Botswana Democratic Party won 37 seats; the next largest party, the Umbrella for Democratic Change, won 17 seats. This represented the eleventh straight victory for the BDP – note however that all these elections have been free and fair. The next elections are due to be held in October 2019.
There is a well-developed legal system based on a mixture of civil (Roman-Dutch) and common law, as well as African tribal customary law. There is a High Court and a Court of Appeal. There are magistrates' courts in administrative districts.