Political parties in Botswana: Some observations
Wiseman, John A.
Perhaps I could begin by stressing the tentative nature of the paper which I shall be presenting to this seminar. In the main this is due to the inadequacy of source material, relating to Botswana, available in Britain. The country is small (in terms of population) and poor, a situation which does not encourage the generation of much in the way of primary material, especially outside the governmental sector. With one or two exceptions the secondary material concerning Botswana seems to be based on the promise that the most important factor concerning the country is its relationship with the rest of Southern Africa. Thus it is regarded as a rather small pawn in the wider struggle with usually little more than a cursory glance at its internal politics. I am at the moment planning a trip to Botswana for the purposes of field work later in the year, but for the present I acknowledge that there are serious gaps in the paper I shall put before you. In most cases I shall attempt to point to the omissions myself. In spite of this I believe that the paper may be of interest, not only to those few who have a particular interest in Botswana, but to the much wider number who accept that the study of new states is of vital relevance to our understanding of politics. This account rejects the notion of any "single explanation" of the party system in Botswana: it rejects single variable determinism or even dominancy as a core explanatory factor. Thus it regards as simplistic any attempt to use one variable (e.g. tribe, class, region etc.) as a sensible method of understanding the nature of political parties or their interactions, analytically positioned as "party system". What is more, this account argues that the same method cannot be used to explain all the parties, even after allowance has been made for different content variables.
African Studies Seminar series. Paper presented February 1973
Political parties. Botswana, Botswana. Politics and government