Diamonds, Dispossession and Democracy in Botswana by Kenneth Good
Is Botswana still 'an African miracle'? Thanks to diamonds the country's growth rate was the highest in the world in the thirty years into the 1990s. Since the eve of independence in 1965 it has held regular parliamentary elections which were judged free on polling day. However a duopoly of presidentialism and ruling party predominance stimulated arrogance and complacency among the country's rulers, stifling debate and preventing change. What is 'perpetual democracy'? Though the combined opposition vote reached 48 per cent at the last national elections, preponderance and incumbency keeps the BDP in continuous power. Former President Masire amended the constitution to ensure automatic succession to the Vice-President. In 2008 General Ian Khama, son of Seretse and Ruth Khama, and paramount chief of the Bamangwato, assumed presidency over the heads of parliament and people. A new directorate of intelligence and security provides closer control over information and opinion. Why are San/Bushmen confined to 'a gulag of special settlements'? The expulsion of the San from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve was relentlessly enforced. A multi-cultural coalition says that the government is implementing 'a philosophy of cultural genocide on the non-Tswana tribes'. How can the 'resource curse' of diamonds be turned to reform? Professor Good gives an extensive list of constitutional and political reforms. He sees diversification as essential to reduce the dependency on diamonds. He urges the use of mineral wealth to reduce the gap between rich and poor; in this wealthy country; the top 10 per cent command 51 per cent of national income, while the bottom tenth get by on 1.2 per cent.
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