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A Fine Balance

Assessing the Quality of Governance in Botswana

Alexander Karin, Gape Kaboyakgosi

Publication Year: 2012

This inaugural Democracy Index for Botswana is intended to set a benchmark for democracy to be measured against. The tool, developed and honed by Idasa over many years, assesses the depth of democracy in a country through five focus areas: participation, elections, accountability, political rights, and human dignity. The research relies on expert analysis to answer a set of questions that interrogate how closely, in practice, democracy meets the broad ideal of self-representative government. More specifically, to what extent can citizens control elected officials and government appointees who make decisions about public affairs? And how equal are citizens to one another in this accountability process? The purpose of the scores is to assist citizens in making their own judgements, based on the information made available, to stimulate national debate and to provide democracy promoters with a tool for identifying issues and needs that can be addressed by education, advocacy, training, institution building and policy revision. Idasaís Democracy Index ñ initially developed for South Africa ñ is being expanded into Southern Africa in an effort to broaden the capacity of individuals and organisations monitoring and supporting democratic governance efforts in the region.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title page

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Copyright page

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Acronyms and Abbreviations

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pp. v-vi

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pp. 1

Idasa developed the Democracy Index to assess the depth of democracy in South Africa. In its initial iteration, designed by Robert Mattes and Richard Calland, the Index comprised 150 questions. These were honed to a list of 100 questions in 2005 and the same questions were used for Idasa’s most recent South Africa Democracy Index in 2010. ...

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pp. 2-13

This Introduction has several aims, the first of which is to set out evidence affirming Botswana’s credentials as a democracy. It goes on to demonstrate that Botswana is actually a minimalist democracy: a system that does as little as possible to engender participation, transparency, access to social support, accountability and human rights, among other things. It then notes emerging calls for change based on persistent signs of disagreement ...

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pp. 14-23

Though hailed as one of the oldest democracies in Africa, Botswana still needs to strengthen its democratic dispensation, specifically to ensure that it has an active citizenry. Education and engagement in political life are two ways in which that can be achieved. In this volume, Moatlhaping and Moletsane assess participation in terms of nationhood, participation and involvement, government legitimacy, citizenship obligations and duties, as well as tolerance. ...

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pp. 24-33

This section addresses participation and democracy in Botswana. In an effort to unravel the relationship between the two, it focuses on five elements: nationhood; participation and involvement; government legitimacy; citizenship obligations and duties; and tolerance. ...

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pp. 34-52

In any democracy, elections are mechanisms through which citizens participate directly in the political process and elect their fellow citizens into office for restricted periods of time (Democracy Research Project 2002:76). While such fair political competition is the hallmark of liberal democratic practice, democracy is not only about holding free and fair elections, but also about having a fair electoral system in place. When Botswana gained ...

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pp. 53-64

Accountability is one of the key tenets of democracy and operates on two levels: the political and the administrative. Accountability comports with democracy in the sense that the governed need to know what is done in their name. In addition, it is a key requirement of good governance (Corkery 1999; Kaul 2000; UNESCAP 2010). Hence, accountability should enhance democracy and good governance. ...

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pp. 65-82

Botswana is one of the most politically stable countries in Africa. On gaining independence in 1966, the country immediately adopted the multiparty system, against the trend of one-party States prevailing across the continent. ...

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pp. 83-99

‘Democracy’ is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. A basic feature of democracy is the capacity of individuals to participate freely and fully in the life of their society. In order to apply the twofold test of democracy – ‘firstly, do the people rule, and secondly, do the people rule ...


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pp. 100-101


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pp. 102-110

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9781920409852
Print-ISBN-13: 9781920409777

Page Count: 118
Publication Year: 2012