Form of Government

Botswana has an active parliament, the National Assembly, which comprises 57 directly elected MPs, while a further five additional specially elected members are nominated by the President, subject to parliamentary approval.

Elections take place every five years, and the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has won successive elections since independence in 1966, with three other parties currently represented in parliament. The President is the Head of the Executive arm of government but is not directly elected in his/her own right instead holding office as the leader of the party with a majority of directly elected MPs. The President is also constitutionally limited to two five-year terms of office.

The House of Chiefs advises the government on matters of custom and tradition, including reviewing draft bills before their consideration by parliament, to which the eight Batswana paramount chiefs have automatic membership. A unique form of citizen engagement is the kgotla, a traditional communal assembly at which local and national policies can be discussed.

Botswana's constitution provides for the protection of fundamental rights and individual freedom. These include freedom of speech, association and the press, an independent judiciary and equal rights for all citizens. In the nearly 50 years since independence, amendments to the constitution have incorporated changes to ensure minority groups have equal status, promoting a spirit of unity in diversity.

Large scale political disturbances are largely unknown in Botswana, as demonstrations by political parties, trade unions and other groups are mostly peaceful.

The government's policies include strategies that maximize productivity and add value throughout the economy, increase flows of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to an attractive and transparent fiscal environment, and intensify marketing Botswana's products through coordinated export promotion.

Head of State

Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama (born February 27 1953), is the 4th President of Botswana and the Paramount Chief of the Bamangwato tribe. After serving as a commander of the Botswana Defence Force (BDF), he entered politics and served as Vice President of Botswana from 1998 to 2008, succeeding Mr Festus Mogae as President on 1 April 2008.