Specially-Elected Member of Parliament Unity Dow presented a Bill before the House calling for the ban on external funding for political parties.

Since the first democratic elections, there has been no law barring external funding of elections. There is also no state financing of political parties in Botswana, nor is there any law regulating political party funding or expenditure. Furthermore, political parties are not required to disclose their fund sources.

The Electoral Act contains provisions regulating the expenses of candidates. Expenditures by candidates are restricted to a maximum of P50,000 (Electoral Act, 81); although this limit does not include expenses incurred by political parties or interest groups, only those incurred specifically for the election of a particular candidate (The limit also excludes personal expenses like phone calls, travelling and living costs).


Specifically, there is no law regulating political party funding or expenditure. Furthermore, the law does not impose a ban of this nature on political candidates.

The law rather enjoins candidates to make full disclosure of campaign donations as stipulated in Section 84 (1) of the Electoral Act, which only mentions loans implicitly stating that money provided by an association or group of persons or any person for the election expenses of a candidate, whether as a gift, loan, advance or deposit shall be fully accounted for and declared.

There is currently no code of conduct regulating the behaviour of candidates, party members or supporters during campaign periods. However, the IEC has drafted and circulated a Code among the various political parties for discussion and hopes to reach a consensus.

This new development might be a thorn in the side of several political parties, most of which depend on the goodwill of international funders to foot the bill for their political campaigns.

Last year political analyst, Leonard Sesa argued in an analysis that the political playing field has not been level in Botswana because there is no political party funding. Sesa stated that the issue of the introduction of political party funding is a contentious one that has been raised countless times but never resolved.

He also said that opposition parties have now started to think outside the box and resorted to seeking financial sponsorship from foreigners so that they can compete with the ruling party which is well-resourced.

He said that the BDP has not been supporting the introduction of political party funding because the current status quo is favouring them under the circumstances.

"I don’t think the BDP will advocate for the introduction of political party funding anytime soon because the current arrangement is favouring them."