Botswana. According to Countryaah.com, Botswana population in 2020 is estimated at 2,351,638. Botswana’s old reputation as a respected democracy was further weakened during the year with growing accusations against President Ian Khama’s regime of corruption and authoritarian rule. When the opposition leader Gomolemo Motswaledi died in a car accident in July, the governing bodies were accused of participating in removing a threatening competitor from the road ahead of the October parliamentary elections. The police rejected conspiracy theories, but Motswaledi’s partial alliance UDC (Umbrella for Democratic Change) conducted its own investigation.
Motswaledi’s death continued to poison the political atmosphere, especially as a number of UDC politicians were subjected to burglary and theft without clearing the crimes. The opposition accused the regime’s security apparatus of attacks on unions and independent media. Khama was also charged with obstructing a corruption investigation against the security services chief, a friend and ally of the president. According to critics of the regime, the security service was used for political purposes to destabilize the opposition and strengthen Khama’s ruling Democratic party, the BDP.
A conflict between President Khama and Parliament Speaker Margret Nasha led Nasha to be stopped from leading a delegation to oversee the parliamentary elections in South Africa in May. Nasha had published an autobiography in which she accused Khama of stoking the debate in her own party.
The October parliamentary election was a success for the opposition alliance UDC, which was formed the year before. The three parties in the UDC took 17 seats, an increase of 11. But despite Khama’s ruling BDP resigning, the party still won its own majority with 37 of the parliament’s 57 seats. Parliament thus elected Ian Khama for a new term as head of state and government. Botswana’s economy, largely driven by diamond exports, was expected to grow by just over 5% during the year, slightly worse than the year before.
During the year, a ban on commercial hunting of game trophies was introduced on state-owned land in Botswana. President Khama participated in the signing of an international declaration against the illegal trade in wildlife, but according to critics, the declaration did not go far enough, especially against the trade in ivory.
Botswana’s elephant strain is estimated to be around 200,000 animals, and according to authorities, the elephant strain is increasing. In order to keep elephants away from the villages’ cultivation, they use fencing but also planting chili peppers, a plant the elephants avoid. The Botswana-based group of Elephants Without Borders carries out annual counting of elephants in Africa from the air.
In November, the Supreme Court ruled that freedom of speech and association compels the government to allow the registration of a lobby group for the rights of gays and bisexual persons. The Ministry of the Interior had refused to register the group. Gay acts are illegal in Botswana and can give up to seven years in prison.