Research Paper 2 - Leaders, Elites and Coalitions in the Development of Botswana

Research Paper 02

David Sebudubudu with Patrick Molutsi, April 2009

This study, the first of its kind, analyses the inner political story of leaders, elite interactions and coalition formation in the processes of development in Botswana. It examines the role of leaders, elites and coalitions since independence in 1966 in making Botswana a successful ‘developmental state’. 

The study focuses on their work in both formal and informal settings, in political, economic and social interactions and in inter-ethnic and inter-racial coalitions. 

Key points:

This analysis isolates what can be identified as moments of coalition, specific moments which show the importance of leaders and elite coalitions in decision making.

The analysis goes beyond the standard institutional and policy-focused approaches. It identifies elite and coalitional strategies, behaviours and decisions that made an impact on the development policy and practices of the country. 

At the same time, these strategies held the leaders and elites together as functioning coalitions which were able to reproduce themselves, a rare feature of African state-building. The study also points to the way in which the interactions of leaders and elites in forming cross-cutting coalitions were shaped and framed by local factors and institutional contexts.

 

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The Developmental Leadership Program (DLP) is an international research initiative that explores how leadership, power and political processes drive or block successful development.

DLP focuses on the crucial role of home-grown leaderships and coalitions in forging legitimate political settlements and institutions that promote developmental outcomes, such as sustainable growth, political stability and inclusive social development.

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