Republic, Parliamentary Democracy
18 years of age; universal
The executive arm of government is headed by the President. The President is both Head of State and Head of Government. He/she is indirectly elected for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term). Elections last held in October 2014, next to be held in 2019. In addition to the President and the Vice President, the executive comprises Ministers or Cabinet, who are responsible for the administration of various Ministries or national affairs in general. All Cabinet Ministers are also members of the National Assembly. The Cabinet also includes the Permanent Secretary to the President and the Attorney General as ex officio members. Cabinet is appointed by the President.
Current President: H.E. Lieutenant-General Seretse Khama Dr. Ian KHAMA (since 1 April 2008)
Former Presidents: Sir Seretse KHAMA (1966 – 1980)
Sir Ketumile MASIRE (1980 – 1998)
Festus G. MOGAE (1998 - 2008)
Parliament consists of the President and the National Assembly. The National Assembly consists of members who are directly elected (currently 57) and four specially elected members and the Attorney General, who are ex-officio; members serve five-year terms).
The Speaker of the National Assembly presides over all the proceedings of the body, and is elected by the members. The Attorney General is the principal legal advisor to the National Assembly. The main functions of Parliament are to pass laws, scrutinise or monitor government policies and activities. National Assembly election was last held in October 2009. The next ones are to be held in 2014. Results of the last election were as follows:
Political Party Percentage vote by Party Seats by Party
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) 46.46% 41 (ruling party)
Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) 30.01% 20
Botswana Congress Party (BCP) 20.43% 3
Independent Candidates 3.11% 1
There is also the Ntlo ya Dikgosi (House of Chiefs) - a largely advisory 35-member body on tribal and customary matters. Eight (8) ex-officio members consisting of the chiefs of the principal tribes, and 27 non-permanent members serving 5-year terms, of which 22 are indirectly elected with the remaining 5 appointed by the President.
Justice in Botswana is primarily administered by the Administration of Justice, which comprises the Court of Appeal, the High Court, and the Magistrates' Courts. There are also Customary Courts (dikgotla) which deal with matters of tribal nature and minor criminal and civil cases. Appeals against the decisions of the Customary Courts are taken to the Customary Court of Appeal, and if need be, from there to the High Court. The High Court is the pivot on which the administration of justice turns, and has unlimited jurisdiction to try all cases, civil and criminal, and to exercise review powers over the administration of justice in all subordinate courts, while itself being subject to appeals against its decisions to the Court of Appeal.
The Law of Botswana has been developed over the years through Statutes passed by Parliament (statute law) and through judicial decisions (case law). The Criminal Law is codified in the Penal Code. Capital punishment still exists in Botswana, but only for the most serious crimes such as murder. The President has the prerogative of mercy.
The Constitution enshrines all fundamental freedoms. The independence of the courts is guaranteed by the Constitution.
Other Key Institutions
The government has established the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC). This is an independent Department, to prevent and investigate suspected cases of corruption and economic crime, to educate the public against the evils of corruption, and also to seek their support in the fight against corrupt practices. As a further measure to prevent mal-administration in the affairs of Government, the Office of the Ombudsman has been established to investigate any improper conduct by persons performing a public function and, where necessary, recommend remedial action.