In a continent in short supply of exemplary leaders, Botswana gets accolades as a bastion of democracy and good governance. Yet this perception is misleading. The country, with a population of 2.1m, would appear to be descending into autocratic rule under President Ian Khama. For decades, the diamond-rich country has been praised for avoiding the resource curse — the corrosive effect of strategic mineral resources in promoting social divisions and kleptocratic elites. Botswana has achieved an 85% literacy rate, while 90% of children of primary school age are enrolled in school. Most HIV-positive citizens receive life-saving drugs. To the outside world, Khama, a UK-born son of the country’s first president, Seretse Khama, has won a reputation as one of Africa’s most outspoken figures. In 2016 he told Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe that it was time for the long-serving nonagenarian to retire. Last year he refused to recognise Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni’s electoral victory. ...

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