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65. Botswana (1966-present)

 

Pre-Crisis Phase (September 30, 1966-present):  Botswana formally achieved its independence from Britain on September 30, 1966.  Sir Seretse Khama of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) was elected by the National Assembly as the first president (head of state and head of government) of Botswana.  Parliamentary elections were held on October 18, 1969, and the BDP won 24 out of 31 seats in the National Assembly.  The Botswana National Front (BNF) won three seats in the National Assembly.  President Seretse Khama of the BDP was elected to a second five-year term by the National Assembly.  Parliamentary elections were held on October 26, 1974, and the BDP won 27 out of 32 seats in the National Assembly.  The BNF won two seats in the National Assembly.  President Seretse Khama of the BDP was elected to a third five-year term by the National Assembly.  Parliamentary elections were held on October 20, 1979, and the BDP won 29 out of 32 seats in the National Assembly.  The BNF won two seats in the National Assembly.

President Seretse Khama was elected to a fourth five-term by the National Assembly.  President Seretse Khama died on July 13, 1980, and Vice-President Quett Masire of the BDP was elected president by the National Assembly on July 18, 1980.  Parliamentary elections were held on September 8, 1984, and the BDP won 29 out of 34 seats in the National Assembly.  The BNF won four seats in the National Assembly.  President Quett Masire was elected to second five-year term by the National Assembly.  The government began a program to relocate Basarwa Bushmen from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) in central Botswana.  Electoral reforms were approved in a referendum held on October 27, 1987.  Parliamentary elections were held on October 7, 1989, and the BDP won 31 out of 34 seats in the National Assembly.  The BNF won three seats in the National Assembly.  President Quett Masire was elected to a third five-year term by the National Assembly, and he was sworn in as president on October 10, 1989.  Parliamentary elections were held on October 15, 1994, and the BDP won 27 out of 40 seats in the National Assembly.  The BNF won 13 seats in the National Assembly.  President Quett Masire was re-elected to a fourth five-year term by the National Assembly on October 17, 1994.  The government relocated some 1,500 Basarwa Bushmen from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) in central Botswana between July 1997 and February 1998.  Electoral reforms were approved in a referendum held on October 4, 1997.  President Quett Masire resigned on March 31, 1998, and he was succeeded  by Vice-President Festus Mogae of the BDP on April 1, 1998.  The National Assembly was dissolved on July 26, 1999.  After it appeared that some 60,000 registered voters would be ineligible to vote in the upcoming election, President Festus Mogae declared a state of emergency on September 2, 1999, and recalled the National Assembly.  The National Assembly amended the Electoral Act in order to allow the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to update the registered voters list.  President Festus Mogae lifted the state of emergency on September 7, 1999.  Parliamentary elections were held on October 16, 1999, and the BDP won 33 out of 40 seats in the National Assembly.  The BNF won 6 seats in the National Assembly.  Festus Mogae of the BDP was elected to a five-year term as president by the National Assembly on October 20, 1999.  Judicial reforms were approved in a referendum held on November 3, 2001.  Parliamentary elections were held on October 30, 2004, and the BDP won 44 out of 57 seats in the National Assembly.  The BNF won 12 seats in the National Assembly. The Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) sent 22 observers from ten countries led by Hon. Ntlhoi Motsamai of Lesotho to monitor the parliamentary elections from October 23 to October 31, 2004.  Festus Mogae of the BDP was elected president by the National Assembly, and he was sworn in for a second five-year term on November 2, 2004.  Due to a disease outbreak, the government closed the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) from September 1, 2005 to May 22, 2006.  On September 24, 2005, the government arrested 20 Basarwa Bushmen, including Roy Sesana, who illegally attempted to enter the CKGR.  The British non-governmental organization, Survival International, accused the Botswana government of ethnic cleansing on October 9, 2005.  President Festus Mogae resigned on April 1, 2008, and he was succeeded by Vice-President Seretse Khama Ian Khama of the BDP.  Parliamentary elections were held on October 16, 2009, and the BDP won 45 out of 57 seats in the National Assembly.  The BNF won six seats in the National Assembly.  The African Union (AU) sent 25 observers led by Brigalia Bam of South Africa to monitor the parliamentary elections.  The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) sent 119 observers led by Hon. Henrique Banze of Mozambique to monitor the parliamentary elections from October 8 to October 26, 2009.  On January 27, 2011, an appeals court in Botswana ruled that Basarwa Bushmen could drill wells for water in the CKGR.  Some 100,000 public service workers went on strike, demanding a 16 percent pay increase from the government.  The government fired doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and other health care workers after they join the public service workers strike, and the government closed most clinics and hospitals in the country on May 19, 2011.  The Botswana Federation of Public Section Unions (BFPSU) suspended its eight-week strike against the government on June 10, 2011.  Parliamentary elections were held on October 24, 2014, and the BDP won 37 out of 57 seats in the National Assembly.  The Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), including the BNF, won 17 seats in the National Assembly.  President Ian Kharma, leader of the BDP, was sworn in for a second term on October 28, 2014.  The African Union (AU) sent 35 observers from 21 countries led by former President Joyce Banda of Malawi to monitor the parliamentary elections from October 14 to October 30, 2014.  The Commonwealth of Nations (CON) sent two observers and two staff members to monitor the parliamentary elections.  The Southern African Development Community (SADC) sent 86 observers from nine countries led by Maite Nkoana-Mashabane of South Africa to monitor the parliamentary elections.  The South Africa-based NGO, SADC Lawyers’ Association, sent twelve observers from seven countries to monitor the parliamentary elections.

[Sources: African Union (AU) statement, October 16, 2014, October 26, 2014; Agence France Presse (AFP), October 28, 2014; Al Jazeera, October 26, 2014; British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), November 10, 1997, March 31, 1998, April 1, 1998, September 2, 1999, September 3, 1999, September 7, 1999, October 16, 1999, October 17, 1999, October 20, 1999, March 18, 2002, March 27, 2002, July 5, 2004, July 12, 2004, October 29, 2004, November 1, 2004, September 27, 2005, October 9, 2005, November 24, 2005, October 16, 2009, October 18, 2009, January 27, 2011, May 19, 2011, October 25, 2014, October 26, 2014; Reuters, April 18, 2011, May 25, 2011, June 10, 2011, October 24, 2014, October 25, 2014; Southern African Development Community (SADC) statement, October 10, 2014.]