Wednesday, February 1, 2023

A Canadian academic pours water on Botswana’s democratic credentials

In a critical analysis that pours scorn on Botswana’s democratic credentials, Assistant Professor Amy Poteete of Concordia University has put question marks over President Ian Khama’s claims that he is a democrat.

Professor Poteete, who frequently visits Botswana, presented her paper at the University of Ottawa on the 28th-January-2010 to an audience of international students and community.

The academic paper made critical observations on the Botswana ruling party former Secretary General, Gomolemo Motswaledi, who had challenged President Ian Khama’s leadership style.
Professor Poteete’s paper titled: Botswana’s 2009 Elections and Political Development: Unfinished Stories illustrated to the keen audience that Botswana’s perceived role as a model of democracy to Africa is a false hyperbole.

She said it is mythical heroic idealism based on a misrepresented pragmatism orchestrated by a corrupt oligarchy.
The professor highlighted the issue of lack of political funding in Botswana.
She cited recent newspaper headlines which show decades of financial support for the ruling Botswana Democratic party by diamonds mining giants, De-beers and its appendage – the government owned Debswana mining company.

“The opposition party representatives in Botswana have to toil and squander their own personal resources in order to finance their election campaigns while the ruling party representatives are overly resourced,” she elaborated.

The paper also commented on extra-judicial executions of civilians by government security agents, the purging of dissidents as well as the concerns on President Lt. Gen Ian Khama’s undemocratic automatic ascendance to Presidency without any allowance for presidential contest.

Professor Poteete also hinted on protests of security spying on innocent people that has increased.

“People who often hold divergent values from the establishment, including the ruling party factions, trade unionists and journalists maintain reports of being spied upon,” she said.

Based on ordinary peoples view whom she allegedly interviewed, the professor noted that a majority of them felt that Botswana is not the angel that is being portrayed by international organizations. “In Botswana it is common knowledge that the ruling party leaders unequivocally refuse to establish a law that would oblige them to declare their assets to the public; the ruling class also refuses to create a Freedom of Information Act which would accord ordinary citizens their “right to know,” she remarked.


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