Botswana: 2001 Referendum

Updated April 2007

The Referendum was scheduled for 6 October 2001 but was postponed to 2 November.

The IEC (Undated) summerised the constitutional issues thus, "On November 3, 2001, the nation went to the polls to decide whether they agreed or not, with the proposed constitutional reforms that sought to restructure the Judicial Service Commission, and to change the conditions of service for judges of the High Court and Court of Appeal".

The Botswana Government's Daily News (2001) gave more detail on the issues at stake:

The changes are proposed in the High Court (Amendment Bill) of 1999. For purposes of the Referendum the Bill proposes the following amendments to the Constitution:
  • Removal of the designation of "PUISNE JUDGES" from the Constitution;
  • The inclusion of provision for the appointment by the Chief Justice of a Rules of Court Advisory Committee to assist him in reviewing and over-hauling rules of practice and procedure of the High Court;
  • The inclusion of provision for the qualifications for appointment of Judges to the High Court and Court of Appeal;
  • The retirement age of Judges of the High Court and the Court of Appeal to be raised from 65 to 70 years;
  • The provision for membership of the Judicial Service Commission to be increased from three (3) members to six (6) members; and
  • That provision be made that the Industrial Court is not a Subordinate Court.

According to Nunley (2005) the various measures were approved by the electorate; the voter turnout, however, was an extremely low 4.9%.


NUNLEY AC 2005 "03 November 2001 Referendum" IN African Elections Database, [www] [opens new window] (accessed 10 Mar 2010).

IEC UNDATED "Referenda",, [opens new window] (accessed 10 Mar 2010).

DAILY NEWS 2001 "National Referendum October 6, 2001" IN Daily News Archive, [www] [opens new window] (accessed 10 Mar 2010).