Botswana: Political Parties Material

Scope and Content

Material relating to politics in Botswana including constitutions, platforms, manifestos, leaflets, election results, speeches, party histories, letters, telegrams, membership cards, interviews and other materials issued by the Bechuanaland Liberal Party, the Bechuanaland National Democratic Party, the Bechuanaland People's Party, the Bechuanaland United Progressive Party, the Botswana Congress Party, the Botswana Democratic Party, the Botswana Independence Party, the Botswana National Front, and the Botswana People's Party.

Administrative / Biographical History

The materials held here extend from the period of the emergence of nationalist political parties in Botswana (then the British administered Bechuanaland Protectorate) in the late 1950s, through the domination of the Botswana Democratic Party following the achievement of self-government and then republic status (in 1965 and 1966 respectively) to the most recent elections. Although the role of Botswana in the struggle for majority rule in the rest of Southern Africa is covered the majority of the materials relate to electoral struggles in one of Africa's more successful and prosperous democracies.


Alphabetically by party, and then in rough chronological order.

Access Information

Open to all for research purposes; access is free for anyone in higher education.

Acquisition Information

Institute of Commonwealth Studies


The Political Archives Project was a 2.5 year project to catalogue political archive material held in the libraries of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies and the Institute for the Study of the Americas to the University and present it as a cohesive virtual collection. The project was successfully completed in July 2005. Descriptions of all the documents may be found by searching the library catalogue at, or via the Political Archives website:

Other Finding Aids

Records at item level on library catalogue (SASCAT)

Archivist's Note

Description compiled by Daniel Millum, Political Archives Project Officer at the Institutes of Commonwealth and Latin American Studies.

Conditions Governing Use

Copies can usually be obtained - apply to library staff.

Custodial History

The ICS political parties collection was begun in 1960-1961, with special emphasis being placed on primary material such as party constitutions, policy statements, convention reports and election manifestos. Since then, the main method of gathering material has been to appeal directly to political parties throughout the Commonwealth, though contributions from Institute members and staff following visits to relevant countries have been significant. More recently material has been collected by means of downloading documents from the websites of the major parties.


Further accruals are expected, some in electronic form.

Related Material

See also Political Party, Trades Unions and Pressure Group Materials for other Commonwealth countries and related material in the library's main classified sequence, all held at the ICS.