African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 382

Full Length Research Paper

The determinants of institutional trust in Botswana’s liberal democracy

Batlang Seabo*
  • Batlang Seabo*
  • University of Botswana, Botswana.
  • Google Scholar
Wilford Molefe
  • Wilford Molefe
  • University of Botswana, Botswana.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 19 September 2016
  •  Accepted: 20 December 2016
  •  Published: 31 March 2017


Botswana is considered as a hub of good governance, and one of the least corrupt countries in Africa. Yet empirical evidence based on the Afrobarometer perception surveys from 2008 to 2014 suggests a decline in institutional trust. This study uses the 2014 Afrobarometer survey to explain trust in four political institutions namely the presidency, the ruling party, parliament and local council authorities. Theories of institutional trust suggest that trust is linked to performance of institutions on a number of key factors. But for the purposes of this study, we explain trust by perceptions on corruption, democracy, civic participation, government performance, level of education, age and location. The study finds that the level of education, perceptions on government performance, corruption and satisfaction with democracy are important in explaining trust in political institutions. However, safe for communing together to raise issues, civic participation is not important in explaining institutional trust. The argument of the study is that even though Batswana do not have a culture of civic engagement, they are critical in government performance, democracy and corruption.

Key words: Botswana, democracy, political institutions, trust.