In an interesting turn of events, the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) and Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) attorneys have this week moved swiftly to denounce the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) petition appeals citing no jurisdiction by Court of Appeal to entertain such.
The BDP attorney Busang Manewe of Bogopa, Manewe, Tobedza & company had therefore sought relief for the highest court to dismiss the appeals. “The BDP (excluding the IEC) shall pray for the dismissal of these appeals with costs of two counsel,” the lawyer pointed out in preliminary points filed with court, a copy of which has been passed to Weekend Post. Manewe asserted that “there is no statute that confers the Court of Appeal with jurisdiction to entertain these appeals and therefore the decisions of the High Court in these matters cannot be interfered with.”
No appellate court has an inherent jurisdiction to take appeals from judgements and orders of a lower court, he said in court papers adding that such jurisdiction can only be conferred by statute, but none has been conferred on the Court of Appeal with respect to these matters. “Consequently, the decisions of the High Court with respect to the petitions of the above appellants are final and cannot be appealed as the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to entertain the appeals arising therefrom,” the BDP attorney emphasised.
He highlighted that the only appeal that the Court of Appeal can entertain is the matter of Aubrey Tumelo Ramatsebanyana, which appeal relates to a local government election to the extent that the jurisdiction to entertain an appeal for a council seat is not excluded by section 106 of the constitution.
Manewe said this in a matter in which 14 UDC Member of Parliament ex candidates in 2019 National Elections being: Duma Boko, Kenneth Segokgo, Victor Phologolo, Nelson Ramaotwana, Mpho Pheko, Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, Moagi Molebatsi, Olebogeng Watshipi, Mohammed Khan, Onthatlhile Selatlho, Patrick Mmulutsi, Marcus Chimbombi, Haskins Nkaigwa and Sam Digwa are appealing election petitions which were dismissed by the High Court recently.
The lot are appealing against the IEC and the dismissed petitions pertaining to the electoral victory of Annah Mokgethi, Thulaganyo Segokgo, Lemogang Kwape, Meshack Dumezweni Mthimkhulu, Tumisang Healy Mangwegape, Phuthego Modise, Christian Greef and Mabuse Mompati Pule. In another appeal Olebogeng Gilbert Watshipi, Mohammed Khan, Ontatlhile Justin Selatlho, Patrick Dibere Molutsi are also querying the win of Naniki Makwinja, Oabile Ragoeng, Liakat Kablay, and Eric Molale.
Haskins Nkaigwa, Micus Chimbombi, Sam Digwa are also appealing their petition against Mpho Balopi, Justice Brooks and Slumber Tsogwane. According to Manewe, the said UDC appellants were candidates for 2019 general election as members of the National Assembly and their petitions are those matters contemplated by section 69(1) of the constitution and instituted in terms of the Electoral Act CAP 02:09.
In these petitions, the lawyer explained that the UDC sought a determination by the High Court that the BDP (excluding IEC) were not validly elected to Parliament and consequently that their seats should be declared vacant. Aggrieved by the decisions of the High Court in dismissing their petitions, Manewe stressed that the UDC appellants have approached the Court of Appeal for orders setting aside the decisions of the High Court arising from the latter’s exercise of its powers under section 69(1) of the constitution.
Section 69(1)(a) of the constitution, BDP Counsel said it empowers the High Court with jurisdiction to hear and determine any question whether: any person has been validly elected as an elected member of the National Assembly; or the seat of any such member has become vacant. The said appellants, he said, “purport to approach the Court of Appeal as of right which in terms of section 106 of the constitution, section is expressly excluded. By virtue of section 106 of the constitution, section 10 of the Court of Appeal Act CAP 04:01 is also inapplicable.”
In terms of section 106 of the constitution of Botswana, Manewe explained that an appeal shall lie as of right to the Court of Appeal from any decision of the High Court which involves the interpretation of the constitution, other than a decision of the High Court under section 69(1) of the constitution. Additionally, “the UDC appellants cannot avail themselves of the provisions of section 11 (a) – (e) of the Court of Appeal Act which provisions confer the Court of Appeal with jurisdiction to entertain appeals,” the BDP attorney pointed out.
In an era where the advocacy for the rights and inclusion of marginal groups, especially individuals beset with profound and multiple impairments, grows more fervent, the Ministry of Education and Skills Development is actively devising schemes to integrate these individuals comprehensively.
Embarking on a pioneering venture, heralded by the Minister Douglas Letsholathebe, the establishment of a novel facility designated for individuals faced with disabilities is on the horizon, set to inaugurate in Maun by mid-2024.
This forthcoming entity, bestowed with the title “Maun Center for Learners with Severe and Multiple Disabilities,” is set to emerge as a sanctuary for those grappling with intense and diverse disabilities in the expanse of the Ngamiland District. Its mission extends beyond serving as a haven; it aims to elevate educational standards and secure outstanding scholastic achievements for this special cohort.
With palpable optimism, Dr. Letsholathebe heralds that this sanctuary, a collective effort of the ministry’s allies, is constructed and awaits its ceremonial launch in the June of 2024, marking a significant epoch in the winter season.
“Construction of the Maun Center for Learners with Severe and Multiple Disabilities has concluded, now in the stewardship of my Ministry. We are poised for its operational unveiling come June 2024,” Dr. Letsholathebe revealed, signaling a new chapter of assurance.
The Government of the Republic of Botswana is steadfast in elevating the status of individuals with disabilities, fostering an environment where their rights are fervently protected and upheld.
Echoing this commitment, the recent adoption of the Persons Living with Disabilities Act marks a historic stride. Its foremost objective is the establishment of the National Disability Coordinating Office alongside the National Disability Council, aligning with the mandates of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This movement is expected to significantly influence the integration of disability-centric issues.
Moreover, this legislative framework is set to fortify ongoing initiatives, increasing the economic participation of disabled individuals, thereby enhancing their living conditions and steering them towards securing a life marked by dignity and fulfillment.
In light of historical evidence, individuals bearing disabilities have consistently encountered significant obstacles in securing employment, often finding themselves at the margins of the workforce. Constraints to equitable employment opportunities compared to their non-disabled counterparts were a common plight.
A substantial portion of employers harbor reservations about integrating people with disabilities into their workplaces, fearing potential complications. Only a select few are open to the idea of employing individuals with disabilities. Consequently, these individuals face heightened unemployment rates and a lack of social support, exacerbating their vulnerability to economic hardship. The International Labour Organisation (ILO), along with the nation of Botswana, champions the cause of workplace inclusion for people with disabilities.
Statistics from Botswana’s multi-topic survey for the fourth quarter of 2021 underscore the situation. The labor force comprising individuals with disabilities saw an uptick to 11,553 from 8,649 in just a year. Among these, 4,313 were males and 7,240 were females. The unemployed tally stood at 2,195, against 9,358 who were employed. A notable majority resided in Urban Villages, with the remainder spread across rural locales and cities.
During this quarter, individuals with disabilities accounted for approximately 1.3 percent (9,358 persons) of the overall 717,418 employed populace, marking a significant increase from the previous year. The distribution of employed persons with disabilities across various areas also saw changes, with urban regions employing a majority, followed by rural areas and cities.
The report further delves into the occupational landscape for people with disabilities, noting a predominant employment in service/sales roles over elementary positions – a contrast to the broader employment data.
Despite a reduction in unemployment figures for individuals with disabilities from the preceding year, the unemployment rate stands at a worrying 19.0 percent, with disparities between genders. Urban areas house the majority of the unemployed, with rural areas and cities following suit.
Unemployment across different age groups reveals a balanced distribution, highlighting a widespread issue across the demographic spectrum. This paints a vivid picture of the ongoing challenges and gradual progress within the sphere of employment for people with disabilities.
Majority of employers are still hesitant to employ people with disabilities because they believe they may bring problems in the workplace. Only a few employers are willing to hire workers with disabilities. This as a result makes people living with disability to be affected by high unemployment and insufficient social protection which then further increases their risk of poverty. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is advocating for the inclusion of people with disability in the world of work and Botswana as a country too is advocating for their inclusion in the workplaces.
According to statistics Botswana, multi-topic survey quarter 4, 2021 labour force module report, the total labour force for people with disability was estimated at 11,553 persons, an increase of 2,904 persons over a period of twelve months (from 8,649 persons recorded in Q4 2020). From this total, 4,313 persons were males while 7,240 were females. In addition, 2,195 persons were unemployed whereas 9,358 persons were employed. Furthermore, the data showed the majority of labour force with disability were in Urban Villages (6,185), 3,708 were in rural areas and 1,661 in Cities & Towns.
The essence of community and local flair reigns supreme as St Louis Lager takes a bold step with its ambitious “Hype the Homegrown” Initiative, designed to bolster the visibility and support for local artists and home-based brands, weaving them into the fabric of mainstream success through revolutionary partnerships.
The launchpad for this endeavor has been set with a plethora of creative projects. Among them, a musical odyssey titled “The Journey,” featuring the fusion of local House and Pop virtuoso Hanceford Magapatona, widely celebrated as Han C. Enriching the project further are talents like the visionary Producer Flex the Ninja and the RnB Phenom, Priscilla K, whose track “Away” has captured hearts. This six-track EP, ripe with local genius, is up for grabs across all streaming services, inviting listeners to a world of Botswana’s finest.
But “Hype the Homegrown” transcends the bounds of musical exploration, delving into the realms of fashion and lifestyle, stitching a dynamic collaboration with Collections by B.K. Proctor. This venture, rooted in 100% local ownership by the trailblazing Rapper and Entrepreneur Bokang βBKβ Proctor alongside Digital Maverick, Fifi Wale, showcases a vibrant melding of St Louis Lager and Collections by BK Proctor insignias across a series of street-savvy sneakers and tees. These exclusive pieces have hit the shelves at the Collections by BK Proctor boutiques within the bustling hubs of Gaborone Fairgrounds Mall, Grand Palm, and Toro Junction Mall in Francistown.
Unveiled by the marketing maestro of Kgalagadi Breweries Limited, Gaamanngwe Ramokgothwane, this initiative not only shines a spotlight on KBL’s enduring commitment to the arts but also underscores the wealth of creativity brewing within Botswana, deserving of grand stages and accolades. Ramokgothwane passionately advocates for a collective embrace of this homegrown brilliance, positioning “Hype the Homegrown” as not merely a campaign but a clarion call to action for institutions far and wide to champion and elevate local talent.
Echoing this sentiment, KBL’s steward Carlos Bernitt envisions a future where these artisans not only sparkle locally but also etch their mark on the global canvas, all through the unified backing of Batswana. With “Hype the Homegrown,” a legacy of innovation, creativity, and inspiration is in the making.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Seipati Olweny, acknowledged this campaign as a turning point for the creative community. She stressed the indispensable role of local talent in crafting Botswana’s cultural tapestry and stimulating economic diversification, pledging unwavering support from the ministry towards this collective journey of uplifting local flair.