This article seeks to explain the pivotal role that Botswana played in the light of the Zimbabwe political crisis
after the 2008 election. It argues that Botswana was able to apply pivotal deterrence in Zimbabwe between the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that claimed to have won the March 2008 presidential election and the Zimbabwe
African National Union (ZANU PF) that claimed to have won the June 2008 presidential re-run election in which
Robert Mugabe stood alone. This article deploys the theory of ‘pivotal deterrence’ to investigate the influence that Botswana
had over the MDC and ZANU PF.