Colonization in Botswana

Topics: Law, Separation of powers, Judiciary Pages: 5 (1594 words) Published: April 24, 2014
The Impact of Colonization in the Country of Botswana
Botswana’s peaceful transition to independence was unique and historical on the continent of Africa; yet Botswana’s road to a stabilized government and economic success lack perfection. Unlike any other country in Africa, Botswana applied for their independence from the British and their request was accepted. Simultaneously the British became the protectorate over Botswana territory at the request of the Tswana chiefs. According to Gretchen Bauer and Scott Taylor, “an informal protectorate relationship was secured between the Tswana chiefs and the British government in Cape Town, and in 1885 this agreement was formalized and Bechuanaland made a ‘crown colony for the British” (Bauer and Scott 85). A peaceful colonization led to many benefits for the country of Botswana such as, a stabilized government, a prospering economy, a growing education system, and governmental assistance for the fight against HIV/AIDS. On the other hand, Botswana’s people have sacrificed their political voice within their own country as a result of this protectorate agreement. Although Botswana’s parallel political system allows the House of Chiefs to serve as an advisory board, and the indigenous to rule the local government, the ultimate power lies within the hands of the executive branch which is governed my modern laws.

Botswana’s independence led to the organization of the state and the country’s first President, Seretse Khama. The Constitution of Botswana awarded power over both state and government to the President, it appointed “a unicameral legislature, a National Assembly based on the Westminster parliamentary system” (Bauer and Scott 88), as well as, secured a place for the House of Chiefs in the executive branch of the government, yet the chiefs lacked ruling power. More importantly the Constitution asserted that the judiciary system in Botswana reserved the power to enforce and interpret the civil rights of the Botswana people. The Judiciary branch would also rule separately from the executive and legislative branch of the government. Botswana’s government was organized to keep both the natives and foreigners happy while limiting the power to the central government. Seretse Khama was a successful president due to his leadership skills, his ability to maintain a stabilized central government, and his reinvestments into the country’s economy. Khama successful presidency led to his popular reputation amongst the National Assembly members, the cabinet, the ministers, and the chiefs. Khama’s popular reputation earned him and his successors' dominance within Botwana’s political system for several decades.

The National Assembly is responsible for electing the president of Botswana and appointing the presidential cabinet opposed to the people by popular vote (Bauer and Taylor 88). Consequently the voice of the people is non-existence in regards to executive and legislative branch of the government. For many decades the ruling Democratic Party of Botswana avoided any opposing parties or opposition regarding their dominant rule of the country. Although Botswana’s government is characterized as a Democracy it lacks a check and balance system. Ultimately the ruling president holds the power to rule the country as he sees fits due to the lack of opposing powers. The traditional laws of Botswana and the voice of the native people are over shadowed by the central government. Monopolizing Botswana’s government is one of the ways leader of this country have failed the people of this country. The legislative government is not alone in regards to letting down the civil society of Botswana; the judicial branch of the government is weak, unorganized, and unreliable yet responsible for upholding the laws of human and civil rights. The judiciary system of Botswana was constructed to remain broken. “Botswana retained a dual legal system at independence in which customary laws, albeit in a clearly...

Cited: Bauer, Gretchen, and Taylor Scott D. Politics in Southern Africa: State & Society in Transition.
Boulder, CO: Rienner, 2005.
Molokomme, Athaliah. “Caught between Indigenous Law abs State Law: The Strategies of
Mothers in Maintenance Cases in Bangwakete Villiage.” Law and Anthropology: International Yearbook for Legal Anthropology Cambridge, MA vol7.7 (1994): 23-61. Print.
U.S. Department Of State. “2008 Human Rights Report: Botswana.” Bureau of
Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Febuary 25, 2009. web. April 29,2009.
Physicians for Human Right. Epidemic of Inequality:
Women’s Rights and HIV/AIDS in Botswana & Swaziland. Cambridge: Masschusetts, 2007.web.
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