Elite Circulation: The Case of Botswana and Zimbabwe

10 Oct 2019

Topical newspaper headlines in Zimbabwe and Botswana respectively in 2017 were "I am not going anywhere and will stand in for election in 2018 … there is no vacancy" and "Khama bids farewell to SADC" and "Khama bids farewell to BDP". These catchy headlines also show the propensity to which the two countries are adept or lack thereof to circulate their elites. This paper is a reflection of the on-going changes and prospects for successful transition in these two neighbouring countries. The paper makes a comparative analysis of these two countries as they have fairly similar geo-physical and historical ties. Botswana and Zimbabwe present interesting parallels in terms of how they responded to leadership development and succession in their political development. Until 24 November 2017, Mugabe had been at the helm of Zimbabwe since 1980, whilst Botswana has had four Presidents since independence in 1966. Using the cases of Zimbabwe and Botswana, this paper argues that elite circulation is critical in regime change and stability and that failure to circulate the elites breeds crises of sorts