Botswana Religion

Religious freedom prevails in Botswana and is well respected even though all religious organizations must register with the authorities. About seven out of ten Botswani are Christian. Many practice traditional religious rites alongside Christianity.

A large number of Christian communities are represented in the country. Most are Anglicans, Methodists or Reformers. Around twenty twentieth-century Bots are exclusively following traditional African religion with elements of religious belief and ancestral worship.

Twenty percent of Botswani do not identify with any religion at all. A few percent of the population are Muslims, and there are also some Hindus. Both of these groups originate mainly from southern Asia. Baha’i faith is also represented.

  • Countryaah: Population statistics for 2020 and next 30 years in Botswana, covering demographics, population graphs, and official data for growth rates, population density, and death rates.

2019

December

Ex-president suspected of corruption

December 11

Botswana’s anti-corruption and economic crime unit accuses former president Ian Khama of having, together with two high-ranking officials, transferred state funds to his private accounts in Hong Kong and South Africa. According to the authority, this amounts to just over eight billion US dollars. One of the suspects has been formally charged. No charges have been brought against Khama who rejects the allegations.

The President promises tough deals against corruption

1 December

President Mokgweetsi Masisi promises to prioritize the country’s economy during its forthcoming term. Despite large diamond deposits and a rapidly growing economy, income disparities are among the largest in the world, unemployment is high, as is the proportion of HIV-positive people. In his installation speech, Masisi promises to fight corruption and to work with international players to achieve the UN’s global goals for sustainable development. Masisi was hand-picked to succeed ex-president Ian Khama when he resigned in 2018. The two have since become bitter rivals. After the October 2019 election, Masisi was commissioned by Parliament to continue as president but opposition claims the election results had been rigged.

October

The ruling party wins the election

October 23

Despite a recent internal conflict, the BDP government is strengthening its position in the parliamentary elections on 23 October. The party extends its majority in parliament by 1 mandate. BDP’s main opposition opposition alliance UDC loses two seats. With the victory, the BDP may appoint the president and the party’s candidate, the sitting Mokgweetsi Masisi, to retain the job. The UDC claims that the election has not been fair and that irregularities have occurred on a broad front. Masisi has been sitting in the presidential post since spring 2018 when his representative Ian Khama chose to step down. Masisi and Khama have since been in deep conflict with each other and Khama now supports the opposition. Khama’s new party BPF enters Parliament with three terms. After the election, UDC makes an attempt to appeal the result. After a few trips, the case is taken up by a court in January 2020. The court rejects UDC:

June

Court judges law against homosexuality

June 11

The Supreme Court decides that the law prohibiting homosexuality should be changed. According to current law, homosexuality can be punished with imprisonment for up to seven years. The judge who makes the decision calls the law outdated and says there is no reason to discriminate against homosexuals. The message is cheered by the organizations working for the rights of sexual minorities, but representatives of the government and the church react negatively. A month later, the state prosecutor announced that the government intended to appeal the court’s decision.

May

Ex-President Khama leaves the ruling party

May 25

Ex-President Ian Khama leaves the BDP government party his father was co-founding. Behind the decision lies Khama’s dissatisfaction with Mokgweetsi Masisi who succeeded Khama as president in spring 2018. Masisi has departed from Khama’s policy in several areas, such as a few days before Khama’s resignation when he lifted the ban on elephant hunting. Masisi and Khama have also disagreed about what benefits Khama should have as a pensioner. In connection with his departure from the BDP, Khama and his followers are establishing a new party of the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF).

Prohibition of elephant hunting is lifted

May 22

The government is lifting the ban on elephant hunting, citing the growing number of elephants in the country posing a threat to agriculture and also killing people. In Botswana, there are estimated to be between 135,000 and 160,000 free-moving elephants and also migrating into neighboring countries. Seen across Africa, the number of elephants in the last decade has been decimated by 111,000 animals to 415,000 due to ivory hunting. The hunting ban in Botswana was introduced in 2014 to protect the elephants, but in line with the tribe’s rapid growth, the view on the hunting ban has changed. Botswana, together with neighboring countries Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia, now demands that the international ban on ivory trade be softened.

April

President Masisi candidate in the elections

April 5

The BDP government holds congress and appoints President Mokgweetsi Masisi as candidate for the fall presidential and parliamentary elections to be held in October. Before the congress, it looked like for the first time in the party’s history there would be competition for the candidacy when former Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi challenged Masisi. Venson-Moitoi was supported by ex-president Ian Khama who is in conflict with his successor. At the last minute, however, she withdrew her candidacy and Masisi could be chosen without a challenger.

February

Relations with Zimbabwe are improving

February 28

President Masisi visits his colleague Emmerson Mnangagwa in Zimbabwe and offers the neighboring country financial assistance in the form of loans equivalent to US $ 600 million as well as expert assistance to develop the country’s diamond industry. Masisi calls her visit to Harare “historic” and the two leaders say they will work for improved relationships in the future. Botswana and Zimbabwe had strained relations under Masi’s predecessor Ian Khama, who openly criticized Zimbabwe’s then-president Robert Mugabe before being forced to resign in 2017.

January

F d spy boss grips

January 16

Former head of the country’s security service Isaac Kgosi is arrested at the airport in the capital when he arrives home from a trip. Kgosi, who is suspected of corruption, is now also suspected of tax evasion. No charges have yet been brought. Kgosi manages his innocence and says he will ensure the government is overthrown.

Botswana Religion