Democracy and rights
Botswana is usually described as one of
Africa's most stable democracies. But freedom of speech
is circumscribed and several groups, including women,
are discriminated against.
Botswana is a democracy with multi-party systems. The
opposition can act freely, even though the same party
has been in power since independence in 1966. The
election result in 2019 was contested by the opposition
who considered that there were irregularities on a broad
front (see Calendar). Critics also point out that, at
all stages of the presidential post, the ruling party
let the vice-president take over during the current
term, which they believe is undemocratic (see Current
Offers a comprehensive list of airports in Botswana, including international airports with city located, size and abbreviation, as well as the biggest airlines.
Freedom of assembly is guaranteed in the Constitution
and is generally respected. Several human rights
organizations are active in the country and can work
mainly without hindrance.
In recent years, Botswana has been accused of
discrimination and marginalization of minority groups.
This applies not least to the Bushmen (see Current
Women have the same opportunity as men to engage
politically, but in practice their influence is limited
by cultural customs (See social conditions). The
percentage of women in Parliament was 10 percent in
2017. Violence against women is a widespread problem and
according to the law, rape in marriage is not a crime.
Women are discriminated against in divorce as they risk
losing custody of the children. Botswana is ranked 55th
in the World Economic Forum's Index of Gender Equality
in 149 Countries 2018.
Homosexuality is prohibited and can give up to seven
years in prison, even if the law is not applied in
practice. LGBTQ people are discriminated against and
especially when it comes to access to care. Botswana has
also received international criticism for economic and
political discrimination by a tribal people who are a
minority in the country.
Religious freedom prevails and is well respected even
though all religious organizations must register with
the authorities (see Religion).
Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa,
according to Transparency International, which places
the country at 34th place in its latest index of
perceived corruption in 180 countries (see ranking list
here). It is second best among African countries and on
a par with European countries such as Slovenia and
Lithuania. Botswana is considered to have good
anti-corruption legislation, but the authority that
investigates suspected crimes has been criticized for
inefficiency. In 2018, however, several senior
government officials were prosecuted in connection with
an investigation into corruption in the country's oil
fund. The same year, the head of the intelligence
service was fired after allegations of corruption (see
Media and freedom of speech
Freedom of speech is guaranteed in the Constitution,
but not in practice. Offending the president is illegal
and can result in fines. Public employees are also
prohibited from expressing political opinions. In recent
years, the security service has developed technology to
monitor e-mails and mobile traffic.
The state-owned media reports to the government's
favor and a ban on advertising in private media to some
extent shuts the legs for critical votes. However, the
country's new president has sent signals that he is more
favorably positioned for the free press than his
representative on the post was. This has led Reporters
Without Borders to place the country in 44th place in
its index of freedom of the press in 180 countries in
2019, a push upwards by four places compared to 2018.
Judiciary and legal security
Botswana's judicial system is considered to be one of
the most well-functioning and legally secure in Africa.
The courts are in principle independent and free from
political interference, although the judiciary as a
whole suffers from a lack of resources and competent
staff, which generates long waiting times. The World
Justice Project ranks Botswana 44th in its index of the
rule of law in 126 countries in 2019.
There are no reports of extrajudicial disappearances
or executions. Torture is prohibited, but reports
indicate that it may still occur within the police. The
country applies the death penalty for murder,
overthrowing activities and treason.
In 2007, a Security Service (DIS
(Directorate of Intelligence and Security)) was
established within the Ministry of Justice, Defense and
Security, which has been criticized for having too
far-reaching powers, such as arresting people without
Botswana applies capital punishment for murder,
overthrowing activities and treason. Some 40 people have
been executed by hanging since independence in 1966.
Increased state media control
A new media law is adopted after many years of
debate. According to critics, it poses a serious threat
to freedom of expression as the state increases its
control over the media.
Ex-president is rewarded for good leadership
Festus Mogae, who recently resigned from the
presidential post, wins a prize worth $ 5 million aimed
at encouraging good leadership in Africa.
Ian Khama will take over as President
Vice President Ian Khama takes over as President
since Festus Mogae resigned after 20 years in the post.
Mompati Merafhe becomes new vice president.
Diamond giant is investing in a new company
The state-owned company Debswana and diamond giant De
Beers form a new diamond trading company, Diamond
Trading Company Botswana, which will process gemstones