April 2009

Leaders, Elites and Coalitions in the Development of Botswana

David Sebudubudu, Patrick Molutsi

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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Leaders, Elites and Coalitions in the Development of Botswana

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