Authors : Boga Thura Manatsha and Keshav Lall Maharjan
Abstract: Decades after the end of colonialism, the politics of land question has intensified and become more complex, particularly in southern Africa. This has renewed academic interest on the subject. Surprisingly, Botswana, a former British Protectorate, is one of those countries which are rarely mentioned in the ensuing literature. This gives the impression that the country does not have any land question to talk of. This study reveals that Botswana grapples with the colonial legacy of land expropriation in the north east were colonial penetration was intense. But the intensity of its land question politics is largely contained by the one-party dominant hegemonic politics and rigid neoliberal framework. Botswana has been ruled, uninterruptedly, by the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) since independence in 1966. This party has successfully rebuffed any suggestions to implement a radical land reform in north east. This has neutralized the land question politics compared to neighbouring states were the political leadership are in support of radical reforms. The BDP is unwilling to confront colonial injustices because it believes that market interventionist strategies are the best. It does not want to jeopardize its relations with the former colonial master and the international community. It is sensitive to the prevailing chaotic land reform politics in neighbouring Zimbabwe. The opposition parties which, at some point, advocated for radical land reform are now generally fragmented and have been co-opted in the neoliberal framework too. Because of all these complexities, the landless do suffer. Their voices are presented herein.
Boga Thura Manatsha and Keshav Lall Maharjan, 2010. The Politics of Land Question in North Eastern Botswana in the Context of Southern Africa. The Social Sciences, 5: 128-138.