Electoral competition, factionalism, and persistent

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Department of Political Science, Concordia University, de. Maisonneuve Blvd. W. .... vote share gradually eroded and has hovered around % over the last ..... opponents called for a regular party congress, and thus another leader- ship contest .... introduced indirect primary elections in which an electoral college.

J. of Modern African Studies, ,  (), pp. – © Cambridge University Press  doi:./SX

Electoral competition, factionalism, and persistent party dominance in Botswana* AMY R. POTEETE

Department of Political Science, Concordia University,  de Maisonneuve Blvd. W., Montreal, QC HG M, Canada Email: [email protected]

ABSTRACT

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has maintained a super-majority in the National Assembly for over forty years despite increasingly competitive elections. Several factors contribute to the BDP’s continued legislative dominance, including features of the electoral system, fragmentation of the party system, and obstacles to strategic voting behaviour. Factional competition has played a particularly important role. Botswana’s political institutions encourage factional competition, and factionalism interacts with the electoral system to hinder consolidation of the party system. Botswana’s experience underlines the importance of internal party dynamics and their interaction with features of the electoral and party system in enabling the persistence of legislative dominance in competitive electoral systems.

INTRODUCTION

On  October , Botswana elected its tenth parliament. The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) had won all previous elections, but received only ·% of the vote in the  elections. The international financial crisis had forced the government to cut planned expenditures, * Thanks to the Government of Botswana for permission to conduct this research; the University of Botswana for institutional support; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Concordia University for financial support; Shadreck Balisi and Lawrence Ookeditse for assistance with translations; Jeremy Speight for research assistance; and respondents and friends for assistance and support. I benefited from comments from Éric Allina, Marie-Eve Desrosiers, Otshegeditse Kabo, B. T. Nnuku Mosimakoko-Mosalakgoko, Jack Parson, Sheldon Weeks, and two anonymous reviewers. I alone am responsible for the interpretations advanced in this paper.

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limiting its ability to deliver on promised projects or offer cost-of-living increases to civil servants. Furthermore, dramatic factional confrontations in the months leading up to the elections suggested a new vulnerability. A reduced BDP majority would not have been surprising, and it did not seem far-fetched to think that the party’s electoral support might dip below %. Instead, the BDP increased both its share of the vote (to ·%) and its parliamentary representation (by one seat). Was the perceived competitiveness of the  elections illusory, perhaps the product of media hype? This paper shows that elections in Botswana have become increasingly competitive over more than two decades, and that the  elections were the most competitive to date. Yet the BDP continues to dominate the legislature. The combination of legislative dominance with competitive elections is not uncommon (see Bogaards ; Levitsky & Way ; Mozaffar & Scarritt ), but the dynamics of such systems are not well understood. Factors such as party system fragmentation and factionalism have been identified as key contributors to both persistent party dominance (Magaloni & Kricheli ; Manning ) and loss of dominance (Mozaffar & Vengroff ; Solinger ). With reference to Botswana, Darnolf and Holm () argued that the opposition’s persistently poor performance reflected its lack of credibility – its poor organisation, resistance to coalition formation, and irrelevant ideology – more than any structural or institutional constraints. I argue that structural and institutional conditions influence and interact with features of the party system. Political institutions encourage factional competition, which interacts with the electoral system to fragment the opposition. To date, these dynamics have helped the BDP maintain its legislative dominance despite increasing electoral competition. The analysis suggests, however, that a tipping point exists beyond which the same interaction may produce a change in government. Even in the absence of government turnover, increasing electoral competition generates greater insecurity for incumbents, which in turn influences policy making, institutional reforms and political practices. First, I develop an operational definition of electoral competitiveness and demonstrate a pattern of increasingly competitive elections in Botswana. Second, I describe features of Botswana’s political institutions that influence electoral competition. Although the electoral system encourages the emergence of a national two-party system, other institutions encourage factional competition, which makes party system consolidation more difficult. A third section highlights two critical sources of increasing electoral competition in Botswana: structural

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socio-economic change and fluidity in the party system. I then show how interactions between the electoral system, the party system and factionalism have allowed the BDP to dominate the legislature despite increasing electoral competition. The conclusion notes important changes to the party system since the  elections, including a split in the BDP. I argue that, unless the party system reconsolidates, further increases in electoral competitiveness will produce one of two outcomes: () continued BDP legislative majorities even if its vote share drops below %; or () dramatic and unpredictable shifts in legislative representation. The analysis is informed by research in Botswana in  and , including interviews with forty-one politicians/activists and the observation of political rallies for each of the main political parties.

INCREASINGLY COMPETITIVE ELECTIONS

Botswana uses a first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system. In such systems, outcomes are driven by dynamics at the constituency level. I therefore first evaluate the competitiveness of each constituency, and then compare the proportions of competitive to non-competitive constituencies. The average margin of victory provides another system-wide indicator of electoral competitiveness. I count a constituency as competitive if any of the following conditions hold: () the incumbent party lost; () the margin of victory was % or less; or () the constituency was won with less than % of the vote. I count a constituency as very competitive if at least two of these conditions are met. For the first elections in , since constituencies could not change hands, competitiveness is gauged solely with reference to the winner’s vote share and margin of victory. Decennial delimitation exercises have expanded the number of constituencies from thirty-one in  to fifty-seven in  and , and realigned some constituency borders. In elections that follow delimitation exercises, I treat a new constituency as having changed hands if the prior or larger source constituency was held by a different party. A constituency may be considered non-competitive if the incumbent party faced little to no challenge. I count a constituency as non-competitive or ‘safe’ if the margin of victory was % or more. Constituencies are categorised as highly non-competitive or very safe if the vote share of the winner is % or more, or if the seat was uncontested. These criteria assume that the election results provide a reasonable indication of the likely outcome if an election was repeated. Although one might quibble about the thresholds, vote swings of % occur

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regularly while vote swings of % or more are exceptional. Other scholars have counted constituencies with a % margin of victory as ‘marginal’ or competitive (Barkan et al. ; Reynolds ); my measure is more conservative. The number of contestants also affects competitiveness. If a constituency was uncontested, any future challenger is likely to face an uphill battle against an entrenched incumbent. Any party that wins a constituency with less than % of the vote, however, would be vulnerable if confronted with fewer viable challengers. The number of candidates changes if parties expand or contract their geographic reach, or split or merge. Changes also occur as individuals switch party affiliation or decide to run as independent candidates. None of the criteria take into consideration the personalities, events or issues, at either constituency or national level, that influence voting patterns. Therefore, these criteria are more reliable as a retrospective measure of electoral competitiveness than as the basis for predictions about future elections. As seen in Figure , these indicators reveal a long-term trend of increasingly competitive elections in Botswana. There is an upward trend in all three indicators of competitiveness. For the most part, competitiveness increased gradually, with upward jumps in  (with a partial reversal in ), ,  and . The number and proportion of highly competitive constituencies has also increased. The  elections were the most competitive to date, with twenty-three competitive constituencies (·%), including fourteen (·%) that were highly competitive. The increase in competitive constituencies is matched by a decline in all indicators of non-competitiveness. Commonplace in the s and s, uncontested parliamentary seats are now a rarity. Both the number of non-competitive constituencies and the average margin of victory have declined steadily since . There was a relatively sharp reversal of both trends in , but the long-term pattern resumed in . Likewise, the share of very safe constituencies has declined from ·% in  to ·% in  and , ·% in , ·% in , and ·% in . Through the s, more constituencies were non-competitive than competitive. In , competitive and non-competitive constituencies were perfectly balanced. The  elections saw a substantial increase in competitive relative to non-competitive constituencies. The narrowing of the average margin of victory from ·% in  and ·% in  to ·% confirms the competitiveness of the  elections.

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FIGURE  Total ‘safe’ and competitive parliamentary constituencies in Botswana, – (percentage of total constituencies) Sources : : Gossett & Lotshwao ; –: Republic of Botswana official election reports; –: IEC , , a. Note : In , there was a re-vote in Gaborone South. The official election report includes the results for the original count. The calculations are based on the re-vote, which resulted in a change of party.

Despite increasing electoral competition, however, the BDP has dominated the legislature throughout the post-colonial period. A comparison of Figures  and  underlines the paradox. The BDP faced virtually no meaningful electoral challenge through the s, but its vote share gradually eroded and has hovered around % over the last four elections. And yet, as shown in Figure , the BDP won at least % of the elected seats in nine of ten parliaments. The only exception was the seventh parliament (–), and even then the BDP held just over two thirds of the elected seats (·%). More recently, a split and a series of defections (discussed below) has pushed the BDP’s share of elected seats down from ·% immediately after the  elections to ·% at the end of the August  session of parliament. At the time of writing, the governing party still held more than two thirds of the elected seats.

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FIGURE  Vote shares in parliamentary elections, – Sources : As for Figure .

The coexistence of growing electoral competitiveness with persistent legislative dominance by the BDP raises two questions. First, what is driving the changes in electoral competitiveness? And second, how has the BDP maintained its parliamentary dominance despite mounting electoral challenges? The answers are presented in three parts. First, I argue that political institutions in Botswana encourage the development of a national party system, but also increase the prominence of factional divisions within the governing party. By hindering the emergence of a two-party system at national level, factionalism may contribute to the persistence of party dominance within the legislature. Second, I trace rising electoral competition to important socio-economic and party system changes since the s. Third, I show how the interaction of features of the electoral system with party system fragmentation and factionalism has helped the BDP maintain its grip on parliament.

POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS IN BOTSWANA

Political institutions in Botswana favour the development of a national party system, but also encourage factional competition, especially within any party with a realistic chance of winning a parliamentary majority. Factional competition, in turn, may complicate the emergence of a twoparty system at the national level. These conditions permit the

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FIGURE  Shares of elected seats in the National Assembly, –November  Sources : As for Figures  & , with media reports through November . Notes : Other or independent: BIP in  and ; one independent in  and November . BAM and BCP campaigned as an alliance in  and merged in ; the one MP elected under the BAM label in  is listed with the BCP in both  and .

persistence of party dominance despite increasing electoral competition. As in other parliamentary systems, the link between the election of MPs and government formation influences voting behaviour in Botswana. Three specific institutional arrangements increase the importance of decision-making within the largest political party. In combination, these provisions heighten the importance of factional relative to partisan competition. First, Botswana’s president is elected by the assembly, but is not drawn from the elected members of the assembly. The president of Botswana becomes an MP by virtue of holding the office of the presidency. Second, there is no vote of investiture. Designation of the president is based on the partisan distribution of elected seats rather than an actual vote of the elected MPs. The presidential candidate of the party that wins a majority of the seats in the parliament is designated as the president. Whether the president has the support of a working majority in the parliament hinges on the level of support among the largest party’s MPs for that party’s presidential nominee. When significant factions exist within the largest political party, a government may have a formal partisan majority but no effective factional majority. These

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arrangements increase the importance of competition over the presidential nomination process within each party. Third, the constitution provides for four ‘specially elected’ MPs (SEMPs), who become MPs through a nomination process. In a tightly divided parliament, the SEMPs may determine whether the president has an effective majority. To date, the president’s slate of nominees has always been approved by the elected MPs. It is possible, however, for a coalition of factional rivals and opposition MPs to defeat the presidential slate. Indeed, there was a failed attempt to put together an alternative slate of SEMPs following the  elections. The combination of a FPTP electoral system with a highly centralised state favours the emergence of a national two-party system (Chhibber & Kollman ; Cox ). Hicken () argues that, in equally centralised states, the emergence of a national party system is more likely in parliamentary systems because the largest party is more likely to control the centre. Both conditions obtain in Botswana. In a crossnational comparison of sixty-eight countries, Botswana ranked among those with the highest levels of fiscal and administrative centralisation (Schneider ). As described above, the procedures for selecting the president and nominating SEMPs also centralise power in the hands of the executive, and increase the likelihood that the largest party will control the executive. On the other hand, voters in constituency-based electoral systems tend to reward constituency service (Barkan , ). In a dominant party system, the candidate of the ruling party might seem like the best bet. When parties are internally divided and the elections are perceived to be competitive, the calculation is less straightforward. Voters may consider personal attributes of the candidates. More sophisticated voters may give greater weight to their factional affiliation or wonder about possible (formal or informal) cross-party alliances after the election. Thus, even in highly centralised countries, the interaction of factionalism with a FPTP electoral system may hinder the emergence of a competitive two-party system at the national level.

SOURCES OF INCREASING ELECTORAL COMPETITION

Dramatic socio-economic transformations contributed to a steady decline in the BDP’s electoral support, and growing support for the opposition, from the s to the s. There was clear movement towards a competitive and national two-party system as the opposition consolidated behind the Botswana National Front (BNF) from the

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s into the s. Following the implosion of the BNF in , opposing processes of factionalism and efforts to (re)consolidate electoral support have produced a fluid party system. Factionalism has stymied efforts to reconsolidate the party system.

Movement towards a two-party system As long as Botswana was a largely agrarian, traditional society, the BDP dominated elections. Support for the opposition was largely limited to urban centres, areas where traditional leaders supported the opposition (e.g. Kgatleng, Southern District), and regional concentrations of politically mobilised non-Tswana groups (North East and North West). By the s, however, structural changes were eroding the BDP’s electoral base (Poteete ). The percentage of the population in rural areas declined from ·% in  to ·% in  and ·% in  (ROB : ). Equally dramatic changes in economic activities also occurred. Most obviously, with the development of diamond mines in the s, mining soon overshadowed all other sectors. The contribution of agriculture to GDP plummeted from ·% in  to ·% in / and ·% in  (Bank of Botswana ; ROB : ). The late s and early s saw the emergence of construction (Poteete ), tourism and financial services (Bank of Botswana ; ROB : ) as important economic sectors. Whatever their limitations in terms of economic development (Auty ; Hillbom ), these transformations have significant social and political implications. Education, urbanisation and a variety of legal changes decreased the influence of traditional leaders over vote choices. Demographic and socio-economic changes are gradually reducing the electoral weight of rural areas. The influence of urbanisation extends well beyond the city limits as people move between rural and urban settings. These social and economic changes have whittled away at the BDP’s electoral base, creating and expanding openings for the opposition (Poteete ; Wiseman ). The opposition vote consolidated behind the BNF from the s into the s. The BNF’s share of the opposition vote climbed from % in  to ·% in  and ·% in  (Wiseman : ). Its overall vote share nearly doubled from ·% in  to ·% in , and its parliamentary representation shot up from five of thirty-four elected seats (·%) in  to thirteen of forty elected seats (·%) in  (see Figures  and ). The trend over four electoral cycles (

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to ) was consistent with the development of a two-party system at the national level.

A party system in flux In the mid s, the BNF seemed poised to gain additional seats in  and unseat the BDP in the foreseeable future. Instead, in , the party imploded; eleven of the BNF’s thirteen MPs and sixty-eight of its councillors resigned and formed the Botswana Congress Party (BCP). The weak and divided opposition contributed to the BDP’s rebound in . The party system has been in flux ever since. Opposition politicians are well aware of the costs of vote-splitting and there have been several attempts to reverse the fragmentation of the opposition (Mokopakgosi & Molomo ). The BNF, the BPP and the Botswana Alliance Movement (BAM) formed an electoral pact and did not run candidates against each other in . The BCP, however, did not participate in the electoral pact on the grounds that, as a new party, it needed to consolidate itself first. Consequently, vote-splitting increased and, although electoral support for the combined opposition climbed to ·% in , exceeding the previous peak of ·% in , opposition representation in the legislature recovered only partly, to ·% of the elected seats as compared with ·% in . The number of constituencies won with a plurality in a race with three or more candidates rose from ten (%) in  to nineteen (%) in . The BDP won twelve of these constituencies, including six of the nine plurality contests where the margin of victory was less than %. The steep costs of votesplitting prompted renewed efforts to unite the opposition within a year. The BAM and the BCP formed an electoral pact for the  elections but negotiations with the other opposition parties broke down. The number of constituencies won by a plurality declined only slightly in , to fifteen (%). Changes in the political players and in their relation to each other from one election to the next make it difficult for voters to evaluate the relative standing of the various parties. Factionalism within the BNF and the BDP exacerbates these problems. Both parties fought dramatic factional battles in the months leading up to the  elections. In both cases, after rivals performed well in internal elections, the faction associated with the president of each party attempted to circumvent or reverse internal election results. Factional leaders in both parties demonstrated a willingness to hurt the electoral prospects of their own

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party in order to punish rivals. Unable to settle factional conflicts internally, both parties found themselves before the courts. Court rulings did little to resolve these divides. The severity and public nature of these factional wars increased the sense of unpredictability as the elections approached.

Factionalism in the BNF Even before its implosion in , divisions within the BNF had prompted defections and produced splinter parties in –, the mid s, ,  and  (Makgala , ; Mokopakgosi & Molomo ). Ironically, many of these splits, especially in the s and s, have been attributed to the BNF’s growth, as the rapid rise of new recruits to leadership positions generated jealousies and charges of opportunism. The  split halted the BNF’s growth but did not bring peace. Each subsequent leadership contest has been fought – bitterly and openly – along factional lines, and each internal election has been followed by a new round of disciplinary hearings, suspensions and expulsions, and resignations. Recurrent internal struggles repelled potential allies and thwarted the BNF’s hopes of re-emerging as the main challenger to the BDP. Its share of the opposition vote has fallen steadily, from a peak of ·% in  to ·% in , % in  and ·% in . Factionalism resurfaced in the run-up to the  elections. In response to increasingly vocal internal opposition in , the BNF president Otsweletse Moupo sought and received a new mandate at a special party congress in . The leadership contest was highly personalised, and Moupo’s challengers raised procedural questions that called the legitimacy of the elections into doubt (Modise ). Rather than restoring calm, the  party congress hardened factional differences. Primary elections in February  presented a new challenge as Moupo was defeated and his rivals won several constituencies. Moupo’s opponents called for a regular party congress, and thus another leadership contest, in . The BNF central committee refused, arguing that the party constitution did not require a congress, and that a leadership contest would distract from the general election campaign. Opponents of the central committee made their grievances public, and the leadership responded with disciplinary action. Suspensions and expulsions began in October  and accelerated over the next year and a half. Those affected included three incumbent MPs and three other primary election winners. In each of these constituencies, the party

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leadership sought to replace factional rivals with allies. Several of these disputes ended up in the courts, with some cases dragging into September . The damage from these events and their timing was multidimensional. First, the inability of the BNF to put its own house in order called into question its ability to govern. The contrast with the BAM/BCP alliance in  only underlined the BNF’s problems. Second, the legal disputes took time, energy and money away from the election campaign. Fundraising – a perennial problem for the opposition – was delayed and became even more difficult because of the disputes (Bashi Sengwaketse  int.). Third, the court cases and suspensions delayed campaigning in some constituencies. Several parliamentary candidates were launched only two to three months before the elections. Fourth, some expelled members, including two incumbent MPs, contested the elections as independent candidates.

Factionalism in the BDP Factional divides existed within the BDP by the s (see Magang :  ff., ), but were fairly fluid until the s. To revitalise the party and manage internal divisions, the BDP modified its system of primary elections and altered constitutional provisions related to presidential succession. Ironically, these reforms have fuelled factional conflicts and, in the case of the constitutional amendments, galvanised the opposition. After the  elections, the BDP hired a consultant who recommended a generational change to revitalise the party and recruitment of a charismatic leader to reunite the factions (Molomo a). Two constitutional amendments in  sought to contain factional competition over the presidency and thus facilitate generational change. The first introduced a ten-year presidential term limit and was welcomed as a check on presidential authority. The second provided for the automatic succession of the vice-president to the presidency in the event that the office became vacant through death or resignation. Automatic succession was justified as a way of ensuring a smooth succession in such circumstances (Masire ). In , after these constitutional amendments had been adopted, a number of prominent BDP politicians retired, including President Masire. The provision for automatic succession was activated and Masire’s vice-president, Festus Mogae, ascended to the presidency. Mogae recruited Ian Khama as his vice-president. Khama had not been

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actively involved in party politics but was well known and widely respected. He is the son of the first president, kgosi of the Tswana morafe with traditional authority over what is now Botswana’s most populous district (the Bangwato in Central District), and was commander of the Botswana Defence Force. Mogae and others hoped that he might reunite the BDP. Ian Khama became president on  April , on the expiration of Mogae’s term. He declared that his presidency would be guided by four principles, referred to as the ‘four D’s’: democracy, development, dignity and discipline. He also pushed for more efficient delivery of public services, and immediately after the  elections designated ‘delivery’ as a fifth ‘D’. He has a reputation for instructing officials to attend immediately to issues raised during public meetings (e.g. DubeKelepeng ; Makgala & Mmekwa ). He is also known for his use of directives, which he sees as enhancing efficiency: ‘if I can bring anything to this office it is the meticulous way the army runs the institution’ (Dube-Kelepeng ). While Khama’s efforts to improve the efficiency of the public sector are widely appreciated (Makgala & Mmekwa ), his approach antagonises many people, including civil servants and fellow politicians who resent his reliance on directives and surprise announcements. Some directives – such as the introduction of a % tax on alcohol in  and of a curfew – generated strong negative public responses. Whatever their appeal to social conservatives, these measures also harm local breweries, numerous small-scale bars and restaurants, and the increasingly important tourism industry. His fiercest critics see a pattern of behaviour that raises questions about his commitment to established legal procedures, the value of consultation, and even democracy and the rule of law (Good & Taylor ; Lotshwao ; Molomo b). In the  election campaign, the BCP/BAM depicted Botswana as facing a choice between ‘democracy and prosperity or dictatorship and collapse’ (BAM & BCP ), while the Manual Worker’s Union campaigned against prominent members of the BDP, calling them ‘enemies of democracy’. Although there is no denying the polarised responses to Khama’s priorities and leadership style, the intensification of factionalism within the BDP since , and the party’s split in , are not simply reactions to an individual leader. The growing realisation of how far the balance of power within the BDP has shifted in favour of the president represents a more fundamental source of factional conflict. In the past, BDP members had reason to believe that they could influence the

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selection of future presidents and vice-presidents. When the constitutional reforms of the late s were debated, most BDP members failed to recognise how the new arrangement would empower the president relative to the party (Botsalo Ntuane  int.). The presidential transfers in  and , however, showed that the interaction of the two-term limit with the provision for automatic succession enables outgoing presidents to choose the next president single-handedly. Primary elections also contribute to factionalism. In , the BDP introduced indirect primary elections in which an electoral college vetted the winners. The reversal of primary election results generated controversy and prompted some activists to leave the party. In , the BDP adopted a new system of primary elections known as Bulela Ditswe (‘open the gates’ or ‘free-for-all’). Under this arrangement, local party structures vet candidates. Higher level structures hear appeals based on procedural violations. Instead of eliminating disputes, the new system intensified internal competition, and in turn encouraged the vilification of factional rivals and accusations of vote-rigging (Makgala ). In effect, Bulela Ditswe prompted the decentralisation of factional mobilisation. If factions were initially formed and maintained primarily by those interested in leadership positions, heightened internal competition now provides an incentive for extending factional mobilisation to all party structures. By , factional divisions were institutionalised, with the two sides known as the A-Team and Barata-Phathi (‘those who love the party’). In , factional allies mobilised to support each other in the primary elections. The dust from the primaries had barely settled when campaigning began for the party leadership contest in July . Barata-Phathi focused their campaign on Khama, whom they characterised as repressing dissent, ignoring established rules and procedures, and threatening democracy. Khama campaigned openly and forcefully for the A-Team. Barata-Phathi won all ten elected positions at the party congress in mid July. A few days later, Khama used his power of appointment to fill the five remaining central committee posts and all subcommittees with individuals affiliated with the A-Team (Gabathuse ; Toka ). Over the next couple of weeks, Khama took several other decisions without consulting the new central committee. Then, on  August , an unsigned media statement asserted that Khama had not exceeded his constitutional authority in any of his actions since the party congress (Anon ). The next day, the newly elected secretary-general, Gomolemo Motswaledi, explained that the central committee had

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requested three law firms to assess whether Khama’s actions since the party congress violated the BDP constitution, but had not authorised the release of these opinions to the media. Khama, however, had authorised publication of the favourable legal opinion and, on  August , suspended Motswaledi from the party for challenging his authority. Motswaledi’s suspension took the factional conflict to an entirely new level. The BDP halted its schedule of ‘star rallies’. After several attempts to mediate the conflict failed, Motswaledi turned to the courts. He contended that his suspension was not a response to misconduct on his part but a bad-faith effort to reverse the outcome of the party’s leadership contest in July (High Court ). Khama countered that the case should be thrown out because the Constitution of Botswana grants the president of the country immunity from prosecution for any action taken in his or her private capacity. The High Court agreed with the president and declined to evaluate the case on its merits (ibid.). Motswaledi appealed the decision on two grounds (Court of Appeal ). First, the provisions for presidential immunity are inconsistent with the otherwise democratic orientation of the constitution. Second, actions taken by the president of the country in his capacity as an officeholder in an organisation such as the BDP should be considered public actions. The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the High Court. The elections took place two weeks later. The electorate had hardly any time to digest these events. As one candidate observed, ‘things are changing too fast for people. They can’t keep up with the changes in the political parties, and the changes within the political parties, in the ruling party and in the opposition’ (Tawana Moremi  int.). It is no wonder voters and political observers were ‘on tenterhooks’ on election day (Molefhe ). WHY THE BDP CONTINUES TO DOMINATE THE LEGISLATURE

In some respects, the  election results were not surprising. Factionalism hurt the BNF; its support dropped from ·% in  to ·%, and its parliamentary representation was halved, from twelve seats to six. The BAM/BCP increased its combined vote share to ·% and sent five MPs to parliament. The main surprise was that the BDP increased both its vote share and its representation in the National Assembly. The BDP lost four constituencies to the BAM/BCP alliance and one to the BNF, but it also took six constituencies from the BNF. Thus, the BDP increased its parliamentary representation by gaining one seat more than it lost.

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That increased electoral competitiveness can coexist with stable electoral outcomes does not explain why stable outcomes occur in any particular case. Three factors contributed to the BDP’s continued dominance of the legislature: () the interaction of the electoral and party systems; () obstacles to strategic voting; and () strategic behaviour in response to factionalism. I comment briefly on influence of the electoral system and obstacles to strategic voting, and then examine responses to factionalism in greater depth.

The electoral system, the party system, and strategic voting The electoral system interacts with the party system to magnify the BDP’s electoral majority in several ways. Most analyses of FPTP electoral systems focus on the effects of vote-splitting and problems of coordination in the electorate (see Chhibber & Kollman ; Cox ). Vote-splitting definitely contributes to the legislative dominance of the BDP. Outcomes in FPTP electoral systems are also highly sensitive to the distribution of electoral support across constituencies. Opposition parties had some parliamentary representation in the s and s, despite relatively modest electoral support and the existence of three opposition parties, because each party had a regional stronghold. Ironically, the opposition’s ability to convert votes into seats has decreased since  because, as Figure  reveals, spatial variation in support for the BDP has declined. The BDP’s aggregate vote share has fallen, but the party has actually gained support in areas where it had been weak historically. These trends have implications for vote-splitting. If a party has the support of at least % of the electorate, as is the case with the BDP in most parts of the country, it will generally be the largest party in a threeway match. Indeed, in , the BDP won eight of the fifteen constituencies that were decided by a plurality vote. In FPTP electoral systems, two main parties or candidates are more likely to emerge at the constituency level if () voting is strategic, () there is no obvious winner, () the relative standings of the parties are well known, and () few voters feel nearly indifferent about the front-runner but very strongly about the third ranked candidate or party (Cox ). In Botswana, expressive voting and poor information about the relative standing of the candidates and parties hinder strategic voting and thus contribute to vote-splitting. There are three forms of expressive voting in Botswana: expressions of loyalty to one’s kgosi, party loyalty, and animosity towards specific parties. While all three favour the BDP, animosity towards specific

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FIGURE  BDP vote shares by district, – Sources : –: Republic of Botswana official election reports; – : IEC , , a.

parties has been a particularly important obstacle to reconsolidation of the opposition since . There is considerable bad blood between the BCP and the BNF. Parties involved in various failed electoral alliances also point fingers at each other. Some opposition voters would prefer to let the BDP win rather than vote for another opposition party. Expressive voting benefits the BDP more than the opposition parties, but cannot account for the slight increase in electoral support for the BDP or its legislative dominance. The BDP’s resilience in  is at least partly a result of information problems that interfered with the electorate’s ability to track changes in a fluid party system. Opposition voters can only rally behind one party if they can assess which opposition party has the best chance of beating the BDP. Poor information about the relative standings of the various candidates and parties is a general and quite significant problem. Because there are no country-wide opinion polls, assessment of the relative standing of parties or individual candidates relies on direct exposure to campaign activities (posters, rallies, house-to-house canvassing) and media reports. Limited resources put the opposition parties at a disadvantage in terms of getting their message out. There is no public campaign financing, and many private individuals and businesses

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worry that donating to the opposition may threaten their access to government tenders and contracts. The opposition parties have always had less access to financial resources than the BDP. In , for example, every BDP parliamentary candidate received a donated vehicle while opposition candidates provided their own transport. This situation makes media coverage all the more important. The private media did report on a variety of constituencies across the country during the  campaign, but private newspapers and radio stations are concentrated in Gaborone, their reporting on constituencies outside greater Gaborone is irregular, and newspaper circulation to rural areas is limited and delayed. Consequently, much of the population still relies upon the state-controlled media. The BDP gets more coverage in part because the state media focuses on government announcements and activities. There is also evidence of intentional bias. The BCP, for example, charged that Botswana Television (BTV) covered nearly all BDP launchings while broadcasting hardly any BCP launchings (Modise ). They noted that reports on BDP activities were also longer and appeared more often during prime viewing hours. The BNF echoed these complaints. Although access to state media is a perennial problem for the opposition, some politicians felt that the degree of bias was especially severe in . Thus, problematic access to information contributed to the BDP’s success both directly, through the positive bias in the state media, and indirectly, by making it more difficult for opposition voters to avoid vote-splitting.

Strategic responses to factionalism In , factional competition affected both partisan mobilisation and the options available for strategic voting. These dynamics had very different consequences for the BDP and the BNF. While factionalism hurt the BNF, it may have boosted the BDP vote in . When the BDP secretary-general and president of the party challenged each other in the courts, a much diminished majority – or even an outright loss – seemed possible. The perceived threat of an opposition victory encouraged higher levels of voter turn-out among BDP loyalists. Since the BNF was certain to be in the opposition in any case, factionalism had more of a demobilising effect. Furthermore, in constituencies where the official BNF candidates confronted factional rivals in the form of independent candidates, disgruntled voters could express their discontent without abstaining or voting for a rival party.

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Factionalism within the BDP also presented a new opportunity for strategic voting, at least in some constituencies. Faced with the choice of a Barata-Phathi candidate or an opposition candidate, some reformminded voters probably opted for the Barata-Phathi candidate. After all, high-profile Barata-Phathi candidates had adopted many opposition positions and even echoed opposition slogans. Voters may have calculated that reform would be more effectively advanced from within the BDP (Serite ). Although such strategic voting was probably most appealing to disgruntled BNF supporters in constituencies badly affected by factional conflict, BCP supporters in constituencies where their own party did not present a strong candidate may have followed a similar logic. Given the bad blood between the BCP and the BNF, supporters of these parties were more likely to vote for Barata-Phathi than another opposition party. Several politicians interviewed in  argued that more unhappy BNF voters turned to the BDP than to the BCP. The intensity of the factional conflict also raised the stakes of factional representation as opposed to party representation. Even if the court battle unsettled BDP supporters, no opposition party was strong enough to take power. On the other hand, the closely fought primaries and Barata-Phathi’s sweep of the party leadership contest in July suggested that Ian Khama might not have an effective majority in the legislature. If Barata-Phathi candidates won enough seats, the faction could cooperate with the opposition to block the president’s agenda, at least partially. Even in the absence of a legislative majority, the president has substantial powers of appointment and can issue directives. The cooperation of the legislature is required, however, for new legislation, approval of the budget, and the appointment of SEMPs. Likewise, Khama’s options in filling cabinet posts are limited by factional representation in the parliament. Because the BDP factions did not run rival candidates at the constituency level, the influence of faction-based voting might be expected to wash out in the aggregate if it were not for the possibility of strategic voter registration. In Botswana, voters enjoy an unusual degree of choice about where they can register. The constitution specifies that voters should register to vote in their ‘principal residence’. Because there is no legal definition of a ‘principal residence’, people may choose to register where they work, where they have agricultural lands or a cattle-post, or in their home village. The detection of fraudulent registration depends on inspections of the electoral roll by others registered to vote in the same constituency. Inspections have uncovered fraud by recognising the listing of non-residential plots as residences, or that

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unusually large numbers of individuals claimed the same residence (Baatweng ). Nonetheless, the onerous nature of the inspection process and the difficulty of recognising fraud leave the system vulnerable to abuse. This creates opportunities for strategic registration. In , the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) ran a public education campaign against what it calls ‘voter trafficking’: strategic registration solicited and organised by politicians or activists. An advertisement on BTV, for example, showed a politician convincing people at a cattle-post to register some distance away in exchange for money; these voters were disenfranchised when they showed up at a different – local – polling station on election day. The IEC declared that ‘voter trafficking had reached appalling levels’ in  (Baatweng ). Voter trafficking is illegal when it involves deception or the registration of people in locations where they have no residence. Politicians and activists are at least as likely to encourage loyal supporters to register in their constituency by taking advantage of their legal right to register either where they work, or have lands/cattle-posts, or in their home villages – and help them turn out to vote. Voters also engage in strategic registration on their own initiative. Voters may engage in strategic registration for several reasons. First, competitiveness varies dramatically across constituencies. In , the margin of victory ranged from ·% (Kgalagadi North) to ·% (Serowe North East). There is little motivation to register and vote in a non-competitive constituency, especially if one has the option of registering in a more competitive one. Second, factionalism may encourage strategic registration: as noted, factional activists prefer to register and vote in constituencies where the candidate is a factional ally. In addition, in constituencies where the incumbent is elderly or known to be in ill health (e.g. Tonota North), factional activists may register strategically in the hope of influencing an anticipated by-election. Third, voters who might otherwise abstain because they find none of the local candidates appealing could choose instead to register in another constituency with a stronger candidate. Every politician and activist with whom I discussed strategic registration acknowledged its existence. Following a by-election in Tonota North in , the winner admitted that his party had provided transport to voters residing some  km away (Kologwe ). The newly elected MP asserted that these voters were legitimately registered in his constituency and that it was not the BDP’s problem if the opposition lacked the resources to transport its non-resident voters to the

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constituency. In addition to such anecdotal evidence, a close examination of changes in the number of registered voters per constituency between  and , and of changes in the relative rankings of constituencies based on the  population figures versus the number of registered voters, reveals discrepancies that are difficult to explain without reference to strategic registration. Between  and , the number of registered voters in each constituency increased by % on average. That is somewhat higher than the ·% increase in the overall population between the  and  censuses, and even the ·% rate of urban population growth for the same period. The rate of increase ranged from less than % in four constituencies (Selebi Phikwe West, Ghanzi North, Kgalagadi South and Ngwaketse West) to above % in two constituencies (Francistown South and Tonota North). In the ten constituencies with the highest rates of increase, the number of registered voters expanded much more rapidly than even the urban population. There are plausible explanations for some of these changes. People moving from Orapa to Letlhakane during the closure of the Orapa mine, for example, might account for the jump in registered voters in Boteti South. And, despite sharp increases between  and , Gaborone West South and Mmadinare have significantly fewer registered voters than expected based on the population figures for , as discussed below. There are no other contextual factors or obvious demographic changes that could account for the marked jumps in the numbers of registered voters elsewhere. At least some of these unusual increases in the number of registered voters probably reflect strategic registration. To identify likely source constituencies, I ranked the constituencies from smallest to largest based on the population figures from the  census as calculated for that year’s delimitation exercise (ROB ). I then ranked the constituencies from smallest to largest based on the number of registered voters in . A comparison of the two rankings reveals several constituencies with surprisingly low registration figures relative to population. Seven of the constituencies with the most depressed figures are non-competitive BDP constituencies; the others were affected by factionalism. Non-competitive constituencies and those affected by factionalism present exactly the conditions that may encourage strategic registration. This does not prove the existence of strategic registration or provide a precise gauge of its extent. Nonetheless, the opportunity exists, the incentives can be quite high, politicians acknowledge its prevalence, and some changes in voter registration are difficult to explain in other ways.

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When instigated by voters, strategic registration is uncoordinated and does not inherently favour a particular candidate or party. The fact that almost all of the likely source constituencies in  were either BDP strongholds or affected by factional conflicts in the BDP suggests that the BDP benefited more than the other parties in this election. Strategic registration almost certainly contributes to the reduction in variation in the BDP’s electoral support across constituencies. Although it is possible for opposition parties to benefit from strategic registration by bringing supporters together to win elections in select constituencies, this did not happen in any of the constituencies where the highest jumps in voter registration occurred in . :

:

:

Elections in Botswana have grown increasingly competitive in response to socio-economic changes and fragmentation of the party system. The  elections were the most competitive to date. And yet, despite the erosion of its political base and increasingly competitive elections, the BDP has maintained a position of legislative dominance since the pre-independence elections in . Because the BDP remains the most popular party in most of the country, it wins most constituencies with more than two serious contestants, even where it gains fewer votes than the combined opposition. These conditions have affected at least a quarter of the constituencies in every election since the BNF imploded in . Consolidation of the opposition vote is hindered by party loyalties and animosities, as well as limited coverage of the opposition in the state-controlled media. In the  elections, the BDP benefited from mobilisation related to factionalism, including strategic voting by reform-minded voters who might otherwise vote for the opposition or abstain, and strategic registration by activists hoping to boost their factional representation in parliament. The story of the  elections did not end with the vote on  October  or the announcement of the results a few days later. The battle resumed when the new parliament convened. An effort by Barata-Phathi and opposition MPs to elect an alternative slate of SEMPs fell through at the last minute, but underlines both the competiveness of the elections and the severity of the divide within the BDP. Reorganisation of the party system also continues. In May , the BAM and the BCP officially merged under the Botswana Congress Party label and several high-profile politicians formerly associated with BarataPhathi launched a new party, the Botswana Movement for Democracy

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(BMD). By July , eight MPs had joined the BMD, which displaced the BNF as the Official Opposition in parliament. The BDP responded to the formation of the BMD with a series of ‘star rallies’ featuring President Khama and other prominent leaders, a reduction in the application of disciplinary measures against BarataPhathi members, seminars and workshops for activists, and a revamping of its public relations strategy. In June , Khama announced the suspension of internal elections for the foreseeable future and the use of compromise lists to fill positions in internal structures in the interim. By the end of July , the BDP had halted its losses. A couple of MPs rejoined the BDP after a few weeks with the BMD and, shortly thereafter, the former BNF vice-president defected to the BDP. Another founding member of the BMD resigned in July  and now sits as an independent MP. Neither the split nor the BDP’s responses to it, however, have eliminated factionalism within the BDP. At the time of writing, factional cracks were reappearing, exacerbated by mounting discontent with the suspension of internal elections and the government’s management of a prolonged public sector strike. In July , Tawana Moremi resigned from the BDP at a public meeting related to the strike. The following month, the newly appointed BDP Secretary-General, Kentse Rammidi, resigned from the party after the government forced anti-labour legislation through parliament. By November , they had joined the BMD and BNF respectively. Further changes in party affiliation cannot be ruled out. Changes in the party systems have altered the composition of the National Assembly. At the time of writing, the BDP held thirty-nine of the fifty-seven elected seats (·%) and could count on the support of four specially elected MPs, the Speaker, and the president (see Figure ). The BMD and BNF had six MPs each, the BCP had five MPs, and there was one independent. The BDP’s ability to maintain a position of legislative domination depends on how much further its electoral support falls, and whether and to what extent the opposition reconsolidates. Nothing has happened to reverse the erosion of the BDP’s political base. In fact, if factional competition boosted the BDP’s electoral performance in , the formation of the BMD may hasten the BDP’s loss of electoral support. On the other hand, the formation of the BMD further fragments the party system. The BMD has consistently voiced interest in cooperating with other opposition parties to avoid vote-splitting. At their party congresses in July , the BCP and the BNF resolved to pursue

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cooperation with the other opposition parties. The main opposition parties rallied behind a single candidate for a parliamentary by-election in September . By , the opposition parties had staged several joint events, and discussions regarding cooperation for the  parliamentary elections were underway. Lingering mistrust and uncertainty about the BMD’s electoral support, however, represent serious obstacles to cooperation. When the party system is fragmented and more than two viable candidates contest many constituencies, the FPTP system can generate legislative majorities – even overwhelming majorities – for parties that receive less than % of the vote. Such outcomes have occurred in Canada, Kenya, Lesotho, the UK, and elsewhere. But increased electoral competition can also result in highly volatile election outcomes. In , more than % of the constituencies changed hands. If a comparable – or higher – number of constituencies changes hands in the future, sudden and dramatic shifts in representation could occur, as has happened in other countries with a FPTP electoral system. The fact that the BDP’s electoral support is close to or below % in several constituencies where three and four way races are common increases the likelihood of sharp swings in electoral outcomes from relatively modest shifts in vote shares. Of course, reconsolidation of the opposition could result in an even more dramatic transformation of the legislature. The analysis has important implications beyond the case of Botswana. Characterisation of a party as dominant suggests that the government faces little to no threat to its hold on power. When party dominance is defined based on legislative representation, such a conclusion can be misleading, since legislative dominance can persist despite competitive elections and serious factional conflicts. Such situations are not uncommon (Bogaards ; Levitsky & Way ; Mozaffar & Scarritt ). While my analysis echoes many others in emphasising interactions between the electoral rules, the centralisation of state power, and the party system, Botswana’s recent experience also highlights the importance of internal party dynamics, and particularly factional conflict. Indeed, factionalism features prominently in many other dominant party systems (Magaloni & Kricheli ; Solinger ). Since a truly secure government is likely to behave in quite a different manner from a government with a more superficial and precarious position of dominance (see Poteete ), it is important to recognise and understand the dynamics within such systems. That means developing a better understanding of the sources and consequences of factionalism. Botswana’s experience shows how political institutions can create

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incentives for factionalism, and influence the prominence of factional relative to partisan competition. While the dynamics of factional conflict may support persistent party dominance for some time, the analysis suggests that a tipping point may exist, beyond which the same factors – factionalism, party system fragmentation and a plurality electoral system – may make continued party dominance unsustainable.

NOTES

. Despite deficit spending, the government cut the development budget by % and the recurrent budget by % in / (Matambo : –). Incumbent BDP candidates interviewed in August  identified the recession or the non-implementation of development projects as one of the two most important campaign challenges facing the party (Mokalake  int.; Moruti  int.; Nkate  int.; Tsogwane  int.). . There are also non-elected members of parliament, as discussed below. . The president may be removed from office by a vote of no confidence, which would also result in dissolution of the National Assembly and fresh elections. . Although more than half of the population resided in urban areas by , only fifteen of the fifty-seven current constituencies (.%) are unambiguously urban. . The Setswana morafe (pl.: merafe) is often translated as ‘tribe’ but may also be understood as ‘polity’ or ‘nation’. The kgosi (pl.: dikgosi) is the traditional leader of the morafe. . Specific concerns include the increasing presence of former military officers in government and senior administrative posts, the expansion of the security apparatus, political control over the state media, and a lack of concern with due process (Good ). A series of extra-judicial killings, in which security agents were implicated in the killing of people who are labelled as criminals but have not faced judicial proceedings, crystalised concerns about due process. . The quote is my translation of a campaign poster distributed by the union. . Of the BDP’s forty-four incumbent MPs, eleven were defeated in the primaries or chose to retire. See Makgala () on the role primaries have played in fuelling factionalism within the BDP. . Khama tried to sideline (male) rivals by, among other things, arguing for greater representation of women. On gender politics in the BDP and contemporary Botswana more generally see Bauer , . . Star rallies feature prominent BDP politicians and, often, live music. They later resumed. . Tawana Moremi is the kgosi of the BaTawana and a distant cousin of Ian Khama. He was associated with the Barata-Phathi faction and has long been an outspoken critic of Khama. As discussed below, he resigned from the BDP in May  and joined the BMD a few months later. . The BNF lost a seventh constituency to the incumbent MP, Nehemiah Modubule, who ran as an independent after his expulsion from the BNF. . The government accounts directly or indirectly for an estimated % of contracts and tenders (MISA ). . Businesses were more forthcoming in  than in the past. Kgalagadi Breweries Limited (KBL), for example, distributed P million to the major political parties based on their vote shares in the  elections. . The state media cancelled a series of political debates and, during the Motswaledi conflict, broadcast a political statement by Khama. After the elections, the state media alternated between ignoring and airing the government’s views on events such as the formation of the BMD and the  public sector strike. . The strong increase reflects the success of the IEC’s voter registration campaign (IEC b). . In descending order of increase, these were: Tonota North (·% increase), Francistown South (·%), Shoshong (·%), Kweneng South East (·%), Mmadinare (·%), Tonota South (·), Boteti South (·%), Gaborone West North (·%), Gaborone West South (·%), Maun East (·%). . These were Gaborone South, Gaborone North, Gaborone West South, Barolong, Mmadinare, Nata/Gweta, Mogoditshane, Molepolole South, Maun West, Francistown East, Serowe North West, Gaborone Central.

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. The strike also created strains within the BMD, prompting the resignation of an MP in July  mentioned above. . See note  above.

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AMY R. POTEETE

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Newspapers (all published in Gaborone) Botswana Guardian; Mmegi; Monitor; Sunday Standard; The Telegraph; The Voice.

Interviews Mokalake, L.T., incumbent BDP candidate and current MP for Boteti South, Gaborone, ... Mokalake has been a cabinet minister since . Moremi, Tawana, BDP parliamentary candidate and current MP for Maun West, Maun, ... He is also kgosi of the BaTawana. He resigned from BDP and joined BMD in . Moruti, Vister, incumbent BDP parliamentary candidate for Okavango, Gaborone, ... He is now a member of the BMD. Nkate, Jacob, incumbent BDP parliamentary candidate for Ngami and (then) cabinet member, Gaborone, ... Ntuane, Botsalo, MP for Gaborone West South, Gaborone ... Elected on BDP ticket, Ntuane was the founding leader and is the current deputy leader of the BMD. He became the Leader of Opposition in . Sengwaketse, Bashi, then national coordinator for the BNF, Gaborone, ... Tsogwane, Slumber, incumbent BDP parliamentary candidate for Boteti South, Gaborone, ...

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