Section 47 of the Constitution of Botswana: An Ingredient for Personal Rule

10 Oct 2019

Section 47 (1) and (2) of the constitution of Botswana provides thus; the executive power of Botswana shall vest in the President and subject to the provisions of this Constitution, shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers' subordinate to him. In the exercise of any function conferred upon him by this Constitution, or any other law the President shall, unless it is otherwise provided, act in his own deliberate judgement and shall not be obliged to follow the advice tendered by any other person or authority. This paper examines this provision and argues that such provision accords the president extensive executive powers and promotes personal rule. In other words, the constitution of Botswana accords the president absolute powers and that is undemocratic. The paper further argues that this provision undermines the functioning of the Judiciary and the Legislature thereby compromising the doctrine of separation of powers. In addition, the paper posits that this provision has led to the dominance of the Executive arm of government over Parliament and the Judiciary. In such circumstances the accountability of the President to the citizenry is compromised. In view of these, this paper argues that section 47 of the Constitution of Botswana is out-dated, undemocratic and is overdue for amendment.