Party capacity building: Botswana


Women and youth participation in parties

In 2015 a workshop was held based on the "Understanding the Youth and Youth Sensitive Budgeting" training manual developed by EISA and the NGO Youth Lab in 2014.

From 23 to 25 March 2015, a training workshop for a cross section of political parties was conducted in Botswana and attended by 16 participants representing four opposition political parties. Amongst the participants were three elected councillors, two MPs and a significant number of young people with nine participants under the age of 35 and 3 of the participants being women. A subsequent workshop was attended by 15 participants from the four opposition political parties in Botswana and attracted the participation of the former Deputy Speaker of Parliament. In this session, six participants were women and nine out of the 15 were below the age of 35. Notable to mention was the absence of the ruling party at both of these training sessions.

Political Party benchmarking

A dialogue was held on 11 November 2015 in Gaborone Botswana with the aim of dealing with the matters of electoral and constitutional reform, political parties' relationships with EMB's, the National legislature and the media. One underlying reason for this dialogue was to identify and solve the issues that impede a competitive party-system to thrive. The five major parties in Botswana the BDP. BCP, BMD, BNF and BPP gave 2 participants each for this conference. Five of the ten participants were women and two were below the age of thirty five. Notable attendees were the Secretary General of the governing BDP, two Councillors and the Secretary for Health along with the President of the youth league of the BPP. The workshop facilitated discussions on important constitutional and legal provisions by both sides of the governing divide that could be reformed to improve the democratic merits of the party system more broadly. Although productive, heated interactions were noticed at the dialogue between opposition parties.


Political party training

Botswana developed training materials in response to the need expressed by political party agents and poll-watchers for resources to help them in fulfilling their roles and functions. The manuals were designed in line with the country's electoral system, electoral process and relevant legislation. EISA conducted a two-day training, case study and role-play simulation workshop for political parties in Gaborone, Botswana, on election poll-watching, from 2-3 October 2014. Additionally, partnering with the Department of Political Science of the University of Botswana to conduct context briefing and explanatory sessions on the legal framework for elections, this intervention strengthened the relationship between the two institutions. All five political parties contesting the Botswana elections attended the training workshop.


EISA implemented a follow-up project called Supporting Political Parties' Internal Organisation and Capacity in the SADC Region in Botswana based on the achievement of previous political party support projects in the country.

Political party benchmarks

EISA adopted two complementary methods in the process of formulating standards for political parties.

  1. Establishing an expert reference group comprised of party representatives, academics and other stakeholders to act as an advisory body in guiding the development of the benchmarks.
  2. Running in-country workshops and dialogues with political parties.

The benchmarks reflected the role which political parties ought to play as well as their own contributions in addressing how parties in Africa ought to be institutionalized. In maintaining this, EISA developed the benchmarks by convening a series of dialogues to canvass political party input for establishing standards.

Internal party democracy

In strengthening internal party democracy through the conduct of credible internal elections, EISA piloted the technical expertise of its Balloting and Electoral Services Unit to facilitate elections within political parties in Botswana. Botswana was selected based on the successful marketing of this service in nearby South Africa and cost constraints.

One objective of the project was to enhance the capacity and skills of parties through training in order to provide effective social leadership in public affairs by means of resource mobilisation and management (fundraising). Other areas of training included; election campaigning and poll watching for party agents at elections, effective gender and other marginal groups balancing, public outreach, constituency relations and effective representation as well as conflict management.


Political parties programme

EISA in line with creating a platform for the often marginalized structures, and in line with this programme, strengthened the working relationship between EISA and the electoral commission of Botswana.

Mainstream groups which are normally under-represented in political parties, such as women and the youth were brought together in this programme. Unlike in the previous years where the programme activities were mainly located in the city of Gaborone, EISA's programme managed to cover other regions of Botswana namely, Maun, Francis Town, Kasane and Palapye. Activities were attended by regional leaders, campaign managers and other office bearers at the sub-national level. Through this programme, structures perceived to be hierarchical were penetrated allowing for content of the parties to reach the grassroots level. At the end of the workshop series all the structures that took part were able to better engage with the electoral process. At least two party leaders, one from the Botswana Congress party in the Chobe constituency and another from the Botswana National front in Gaborone adopted the EISA training material and used it to run their own training within their constituencies.