During the year, Botswana went its own way in foreign policy in relation to the rest of Africa. President Ian Khama was one of the few African leaders who openly criticized Zimbabwe’s dictatorial president Robert Mugabe. Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai had a sanctuary in Botswana at the beginning of the year and was brought there again for hospital care, after becoming prime minister and in March saw his wife killed in a car accident.
According to countryaah, Botswana also defied the decision of the African Union (AU) not to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC), after the court issued an arrest warrant for Sudan’s war-suspected president Omar al-Bashir. Botswana criticized the AU for stoking the debate at the July summit. They also criticized the AU’s president, Libyan leader Muammar al-Khadaffi, for running his favorite project, the United States of Africa, instead of devoting the summit to Africa’s deepest problems.
When US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Africa in August, she set Botswana as an example through the country’s way of using revenue from mineral wealth to build infrastructure. At the same time, the global financial crisis was affecting Botswana’s diamond industry, and some mines were forced to close.
However, President Khama, who took office in 2008, was criticized at home for authoritarian rule over the BDP, the Botswana Democratic Party. This led to dissatisfaction and internal contradictions in the party. The opposition accused the government of failing to broaden the economy from the dependence of the diamond industry and thus not overcome unemployment and poverty. The diamond industry employs only a few thousand people, even though it accounts for a third of GDP.
Nevertheless, the BDP won a convincing victory in the parliamentary elections in October. The BDP passed a mandate and took 45 of the 57 seats in Parliament. As Parliament elected president, the election result meant that Khama’s reelection was assured. The Botswana National Front opposition party lost six of its twelve seats to the Botswana Congress Party, also in opposition.