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Botswana: Draft Code of Conduct for Politicians

(Feb. 2, 2009) On January 19, 2009, at a stakeholders' workshop held by the Independent Electoral Commission, politicians representing several Botswanan constituencies unanimously adopted a draft code of conduct in anticipation of preparations for the country's 2009 general election. The Botswana Congress Party and MELS [Marx Engels Lenin Stalin] Movement of Botswana had apparently already adopted the document. According to the draft code:

  • any form of intimidation is banned, as is the bringing of any weapon to “any public rally, meeting, march, motorcade or other demonstrations.”
  • “party rallies, marches or other demonstrations should be held at least 500m away from each other” if held at the same time of day, and motorcades should not pass through other parties' rallies.
  • motorcades should “refrain from utilizing public address systems, either fixed or mobile between 12:00 and 05:00 hours, as this constitutes public nuisance.”

(Ryder Gabathuse, Politicians Adopt Draft Code of Conduct, MMEGI ONLINE, Jan. 21, 2009, available at

The workshop participants also agreed that “for the good of the region, individual parties should protect their activists against any behaviour that could offend others. In particular, politics of mudslinging and character assassination were condemned across the political divide.” (Id.)