Urban, Elite and Professional Bias in Public Policy Formulation in Botswana: The Case of Tribal Grazing Land Policy

Latang Sechele


Drawing on documentary sources, and taking Tribal Grazing Land Policy formulation as a case study, this article attempts to investigate the consultative processes in public policy making in Botswana and the extent to which such takes into account the views of the masses that policies would affect and benefit. This is based on the general consensus that a holistic and therefore relevant policy should take into account the views of the beneficiaries. This research reveals that although in Botswana there are structures, such as the kgotla system, where the masses are consulted, the consultative process itself is flawed. It is meant to impose the views of the professionals and the elite (politicians and urban based professionals) on the general populace. Public policies are adopted despite protest by masses or those who closely work with them. This challenges the generally held view that Botswana is the most democratic country in Africa.

Full Text:



Acquah B. (1995). Environmental degradation in Botswana: The dynamics and implications for Rural development. In: Report of the National Rural Development Workshop, 20-24 March. Gaborone: Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, 161-181

Botlhale, M (2013). Extending budgetary participation beyond budget Pitsos in Botswana. Development Policy Review, 31 (6), 717-735.

Bhuiyan, M. (1987). Selected papers on the economy of Botswana. Gaborone: Bank of Botswana.

Chambers, R. and Feldman, M. (1973). Report on Rural Development. Gaborone: Ministry of Finance & Development Planning.

Chambers, R. (1983). Rural Development: Putting the last first. New York: Longman

Good, K. (1993). The end of the Ladder: Radical inequalities in Botswana. Journal of Modern African Studies, 31, 203-30.

Government of Botswana (1977) Lefhatshe la rona-our land: Report of government of Botswana on its consultation of Tribal Grazing Land Policy. Gaborone: Ministry of Local Government and Lands.

Hitchcock R. (1982). Tradition, Social Justice and Land Reform in Central Botswana. In: Webner, R. (ed.) Land reform in the making: Tradition, ideology and public policy in Botswana, pp. 1-34.

Jones D. (1977). Aid and Development in Southern Africa: British Aid to Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland. London: Croom Helm

Manatsha, B.T. (2010). Land Reform in the North East District of Botswana: An elite-hijacked project? Botswana Notes and Records, 42, 90 -99.

Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.(1991). National Development Plan 1991-1997.Gaborone: Government Printer.

Mogalakwe, M. (2006). How Britain underdeveloped Bechuanaland Protectorate: A brief critique of the political economy of colonial Botswana. Africa Development, XXXI (1), 66-88.

Mogwe A. (1994). Will Basic Human rights and individual freedoms continue to be protected, promoted and respected? In: Botswana in the 21st Century. Gaborone: Botswana Society,pp. 49-64.

Molomo, G.M. (1989). The Bureaucracy and Democracy in Botswana in Holm J.D. and Molutsi P.P (eds.) Democracy in Botswana. Gaborone: Macmillan, pp. 237-243

Molutsi P. (1988). The State, Environment and Peasant Consciousness in Botswana. Review of African Political Economy, 42, 40-47

Molutsi, P. (1989). The ruling Class and Democracy in Botswana. In: Holm J. and Molutsi P.P. Democracy in Botswana. Gaborone: Macmillan, pp. 103-115

Molutsi, P. and Holm P. (1990). Developing Democracy when civil society is weak. African Affairs, 89( 356), 323-340

Mompati, T. and Prinsen, G. (2000). Ethnicity and participatory development methods in Botswana: Some participants are to be seen and not heard. Development in Practice, 10 (5), 625-637.

Murray, A. (1989). The Rights of minorities and subject peoples in Botswana: A historical evaluation, in Holm J. and Molutsi P (Eds.) Democracy in Botswana. Gaborone: Botswana Society and University of Botswana, 58-61.

Obasi, I. and Lekorwe, M.H. (2014). Citizen engagement in public policy making in Africa: The case of Botswana. Public Policy and Administration Research, 3(4), 1-14.

Osei-Hwedie, K. (1998). The dynamics of social policy practice in Eastern and Southern Africa. Journal of Social Development in Africa, 13 (2), 5-20.

Poteete, A.R. (2002). Who seeks participation and why? The adoption of participatory policy making techniques in Botswana. Downloaded from: ostromworkshop.indiana.edu/papers/poteete_120202. On 23/5/2016.

Parson, J. (1984). Botswana: Liberal Democracy and the Labour Reserve in Southern Africa. London: Westview Press.

Parson, J. (1981). Cattle, Class and the Rural State in Botswana. Journal of Southern African Studies, 7 (2), 236-55

Reynolds, N. (1977). Rural Development in Botswana. Saldru Working paper No. 13, Southern Africa Labour and Development Unit, Capetown

Sebudubudu, D. and Molutsi, P. (2011). The Elite as a critical factor in national development: The case of Botswana. NORDISKA Afrikaninstitutet. Discussion Paper 58.

Sechele, L. (2015). In their own words: Unemployed young people on tackling youth labour market entry constraints in Botswana. Journal of Sociological Research, 6 (2), 56-67.

Sechele, L. (2016). Urban bias, economic resource allocation and national development planning in Botswana. International Journal of Social Science Research, 4(1), 44-60.

Somolekae, G. (1998). Democracy, civil society and governance in Africa: The case of Botswana.Downloaded : unpan1.un.org/groups/public/documents/CAFRAD/UNPAN009287.pdf (google scholer). 30/05/2016.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijssr.v6i2.12347


  • There are currently no refbacks.

International Journal of Social Science Research (Online ISSN: 2327-5510) E-mail: ijssr@macrothink.org

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the 'macrothink.org' domain to your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.

Copyright © Macrothink Institute   ISSN 2327-5510