The constitution of Botswana is the rule of law, which protects the citizens of Botswana and represents their rights. The politics of Botswana take place in a framework of a representative democratic republic, whereby the President of Botswana is both head of state and head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and the Parliament of Botswana. The most recent election, its eleventh, was held on 24 October 2014. Since independence was declared, the party system has been dominated by the Botswana Democratic Party.
The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Botswana ranks 30th out of 167 states in the 2012 Democracy Index. According to Transparency International, Botswana is the least corrupt country in Africa and ranks close to Portugal and South Korea.
It consists of a typical court system of local Magistrates Courts, a High Court and a Court of Appeal. The High Court is a superior court of record with unlimited original jurisdiction to hear and determine any criminal, civil or constitutional cases under any law. Appeals can be heard by the Court of Appeal. The Head of the High Court is the Chief Justice.
The Court of Appeal is the highest and final court in the country and deals with appeals from the High Court and the Industrial Court. The Head of the Court of Appeal is the Judge President.
Judges are appointed by the President of Botswana on the recommendation of the Judicial Services Commission.
1968–1971 John Richard Dendy-Young
1972–1975 Akinola Aguda
1975–1977 George O.L. Dyke
1977–1981 Hayfron Benjamin
1981–1987 O’Brien Quinn
1987–1992 Livesey Luke
1992–1997 Moleleki Didwell Mokama
1997–2010 Julian Mukwesu Nganunu
2010–present Maruping Dibotelo
With regard to the legal profession, although the Law Society of Botswana has been in existence since 1997, there is still no clear indication in their registry of attorneys as to how certain demographics, such as women, have fared in the legal field.
Foreign relations and military
At the time of independence, Botswana had no armed forces. It was only after the Rhodesian and South African militaries struck respectively against the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army and Umkhonto we Sizwe bases that the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) was formed in 1977. The President is commander-in-chief of the armed forces and appoints a defence council and the BDF currently consists of roughly 60,000 servicemen.
Following political changes in South Africa and the region, the BDF’s missions have increasingly focused on prevention of poaching, preparing for disasters, and foreign peacekeeping. The United States has been the largest single foreign contributor to the development of the BDF, and a large segment of its officer corps has received U.S. training. The Botswana government gave the United States permission to explore the possibility of establishing an Africa Command (AFRICOM) base in the country.