Botswana: Party capacity building

See also: Botswana: Party poll watching; Botsana: Women and youth in political parties

Work to increace the capacity of political parties in Botswana has been undertaken by EISA's Governance Institutions and Political Processes (GIPPS) department, under its political parties programme, aims to contribute to an open, inclusive and democratic political system, by strengthening this crucial set of stakeholders in the processes of democratic governance. The political parties capacity building activities are focused on ensuring that political parties are democratic and function effectively.


Southern African Regional Political Party Conference

14-15 September 2017

The International Republican Institute approached EISA to assist in the planning, preparation, invitation of parties and programme content for its southern African political party conference in Botswana in September 2017. The conference was attended by 23 political parties from 9 SADC states including the ruling MPLA from Angola. Grant Masterson made three presentations at the event, on:

  1. The shifting demographics of voters in SADC states;
  2. The evolution of technology and the challenges/opportunities this presents for political parties;
  3. Electoral trends and developments in Africa.


Monitoring and Evaluation Workshop

22-23 Jun 2016

In preparation for training workshops on "Introduction to Monitoring and Evaluation Tools for Enhancing Oversight and Accountability" scheduled for 2016, material was developed to further the knowledge and understanding of participants in using monitoring and evaluation tools in a policy context. This content covered focuses on Understanding Governance, Accountability and Oversight; Exploring the link between Oversight and Accountability; Introduce Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) terms and concepts; Demonstrate through practical application how M&E can be used in a policy context and how M&E tools can be used for Oversight and Accountability and Demonstrate the application of a Theory of Change in a Policy context.

Training was attended by 17 participants on the 22 and 23 June in Gaborone attended by 27 participants eight of whom were women, nine were male and ten below the age of 35.. All of the five major parties in Botswana - the BDP. CP, BMD, BNF and BPP attended Notable attendees of the Parties were the Secretary Generals, Councillors, Member of Parliament, Presidents of the youth leagues and provincial secretaries.


Political Party benchmarking

Materials development

In preparation for the political parties dialaogues on the political party benchmarks (See Setting Benchmarks for Enhanced Political Party Performance for Democratic Governance in Africa and 2010 Symposium) and the diagnosis on the problems in the enhanced implementation of benchmarks in political party systems, training materials titled "Political Parties Institutional and Organisational Development" was developed. The material covered a range of themese including:

  • What is Politics and How do we Understand it?
  • What is Democracy and what is a democratic politics?
  • What is Governance and What is Democratic Governance?
  • Where do we locate political parties within a system of democratic Governance?
  • Elements of the Party System and the impact of party system interaction.
Electoral and constitutional reform dialogue conducted

11 Nov 2015

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 and the analysis of these may provide the coordinates to create mechanisms to deepen the democratic milieu of Botswana.

The workshop was able to draw out key problems that serve to entrench a conflictual environment and this was indicated by the heated interactions between the opposition and governing party representatives. There were some important constitutional and legal provisions that were discussed by both sides of the governing divide that could be reformed to improve the democratic merits of the party system more broadly.

This dialogue served to highlight the highly paternalistic and top down approach to politics and government that characterises Botswana with an increasing tendency of the Governing party to be dismissive of opposition parties and the attendant levels of heightened paternalism in the face of an emboldened opposition facilitated through an opposition coalition.

Training workshop: Understanding the Youth and Youth Sensitive Budgeting

23-25 Mar 2015

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 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.

This served as input into EISA's 2010 Symposium in which Setting Benchmarks for Enhanced Political Party Performance for Democratic Governance in Africa was developed.

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 marginalised groupsa balancing, public outreach, constituency relations and effective representation as well as conflict management.


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.


Dialogue and training workshop

24-26 Oct 2007

The activities of the Governance Institutions and Processes Department's political parties programme focused on political parties' capacity building through in-country dialogue and training workshops. A training manual on strengthening political parties was drafted consisting of six modules: political parties; leadership; public outreach; party coalitions/ alliances; and conflict management.

The first workshop was held in Gaborone, Botswana from 24-26 October 2007. The manual is being revised based on the observations of the facilitators during the workshop as well as on input from participants with an eye to publication as a standard training manual for parties in the SADC and beyond.

The workshops covered five thematic areas: gender representation, intra-party democracy and inter-party relations, outreach activities, conflict management and leadership in political parties.