A group of four Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) veterans; Daniel Kwelagobe, Charles Tibone, Satar Dada and Joseph Legwaila have emerged as power brokers in a move aimed at persuading former President Lt Gen Ian Khama to return to the ruling party.
According impeccable sources, the talks between the former President and the party stalwarts began three months ago, after party elders agreed amicably that the first reconciliation talks that were conducted by former President Festus Mogae, David Magang, Ray Molomo and Patrick Balopi collapsed — with no prospects of resuscitation. WeekendPost understands that the four BDP stalwarts have confided to Khama that they have not been sent by anyone but acting on their personal capacity as party elders.
“They are very much determined to see Khama abandon the newly formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) and retracing his steps to the ailing BDP,” a source said. Khama had in previous talks told them [party elders] that there is little that they can do, as he insisted that he preferred to meet President Masisi face-to-face to resolve the current stand-off. Masisi however rejected Khama’s proposal, maintaining that the two of them meet in the presence of party elders.
The deadlock have seen concerned party stalwarts initiating another talks to coax Khama to extend an olive branch to his successor. The talks are spearheaded by the party’s favourite son Kwelagobe. DK, as popularly known in the party spent 27 years as secretary general, and has served under four presidents. Kwelagobe and Khama, served for nearly 20 years together in the party Central Committee. The delegation also has BDP longest serving Central Committee member and Treasurer, Dada. Dada who has been BDP treasurer since 1995 is considered Khama’s close ally.
Adding to the delegation is leading businessman and former minister, Charles Tibone as well as Botswana's former ambassador to the United Nations (UN) and career Diplomat Joseph Manson Legwaila. This publication can confidently reveal that the four staunch members of the ruling party have been involved in talks with Khama for over three months. Tibone is however cagey, and has denied his involvement in reconciling former President Khama and his Masisi but has admitted to meeting the duo on different occasions.
“I personally do meet both leaders from time-to-time where we engage on various issues. They are both our leaders, why shouldn’t we relate and engage them,” Tibone told Weekend Post. The former Tati West legislator said he also met with both Dada and Kwelagobe because they are BDP veterans and they have also engaged on various topics. Tibone said recently Kwelagobe has been unwell and they met several times owing to his health and that that should not be viewed as an issue.
The BDP veteran said his wish is to see a positive solution to both leaders since the stand-off has the potential to harm the country’s economy, the political landscape as well as the country’s future. “If there is a solution, it would be best for the country,” said Charles Tibone.
President Khama, when reached for comment, said he could not rule out the possibility of returning back to the BDP one day.Khama confirmed meeting Dada, Tibone, Legwaila and Kwelagobe several times over the past three months.
“We had discussion kind of where they still insists I should come back and re-unite with the party. I think they are concerned about the outcome of the general elections,” said Khama. According to him, this is still work in progress and he will continue to engage them further.
Even though he hints at the possibility of coming back, Khama said that will not happen now while some within the party continue to insult him and his family. The former President said he however could not share the contents of the meetings implying that it is confidential.
Khama maintained that the four elders cannot assure him of anything and insists that Masisi is the only one who can guarantee his return to BDP.
As the nation awaits President Mokgweetsi Masisi to announce the writ of the general elections which are expected in October this year, the BDP is reportedly pressing on panic buttons as their members are torn between their party and BPF which Khama is its patron.
For the first time since Khama left BDP and joined opposition, President Masisi who is also party President announced at rally in Gaborone last week that BDP wants former President Khama back in the BDP fold.
Khama left the BDP unceremoniously few months back and later formed the BPF. Many of his loyalists within the ruling BDP left the party and followed him to the new party, and it is feared that his departure may result in BDP losing electoral support in the Central District, the party’s traditional stronghold where it is Khama’s sphere of influence. Khama and Masisi’s relationship broke down tremendously few months after Masisi took charge in a move which was observed by many as betraying his own master in Ian Khama.
The two men were involved in a number of public spats where they did not spare the rod for each other. Khama has now been going around the country and amassing support for his BPF and opposition in some instances. The BDP is now afraid of voter splitting that might give the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) an opportunity to romp to victory for the first time since 1965.
Individuals challenged by disabilities encounter formidable obstacles when endeavoring to partake in political processes within the context of Botswana. Political involvement, a cornerstone of democratic governance, empowers citizens to shape the legislative landscape that impacts their daily existence. Despite Botswana’s reputation for upholding democratic ideals, recent insights unveil a troubling reality – those with disabilities find themselves marginalized in the realm of politics, contending with substantial barriers obstructing the exercise of their democratic liberties.
A recent inquiry in Botswana unveiled a panorama where individuals with disabilities confront hurdles in navigating the political arena, their involvement often restricted to the basic act of voting. Voices emerged from the study, underscoring the critical necessity of fostering environments that are accessible and welcoming, affording individuals with disabilities the active engagement they rightfully deserve in political processes. Noteworthy was the account of a participant grappling with physical impairments, shedding light on the glaring absence of ramps at polling stations and the urgent call for enhanced support mechanisms to ensure an equitable electoral participation.
The echoes reverberating from these narratives serve as poignant reminders of the entrenched obstacles impeding the full integration of individuals with disabilities into the democratic tapestry. The inaccessibility of polling stations and the glaring absence of provisions tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities loom large as formidable barricades to their political engagement. Particularly pronounced is the plight of those grappling with severe impairments and intellectual challenges, who face even steeper hurdles in seizing political participation opportunities, often grappling with feelings of isolation and exclusion from the political discourse.
Calls for decisive action cascade forth, urging the establishment of more inclusive and accessible political ecosystems that embrace individuals with disabilities in Botswana. Government bodies and concerned stakeholders are urged to prioritize the enactment of laws and policies designed to safeguard the political rights of individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, initiatives geared towards enhancing awareness and education on political processes and rights for this segment of society must be spearheaded, alongside the adoption of inclusive measures within political institutions and party structures.
By dismantling these barriers and nurturing a political landscape that is truly inclusive, Botswana can earnestly uphold its democratic ethos and afford every citizen, including those with disabilities, a substantive opportunity to partake in the political fabric of the nation.
In the heartwarming tale of Neo Kirchway, a beacon of inspiration emerges, shining brightly amid life’s adversities.
Defying the constraints of destiny, Neo Kirchway, a resilient Motswana soul now thriving in the United States, stands tall despite the absence of her lower limbs. With unwavering determination, she tends to her cherished family – a loving husband and four children – engaging in the daily symphony of household tasks with remarkable grace.
Neo’s indomitable spirit traces back to the fateful year of 1994, a time when medical intervention called for the amputation of her curled legs. Embracing this pivotal juncture with unwavering courage and the blessing of her mother, she ventured forth into a world adorned with prosthetic legs, eager to script a tale of triumph.
Venturing beyond borders, Neo’s journey led her to the embrace of the United States, where serendipity intertwined her fate with that of her soulmate, Garrett Kirchway. Together, this harmonious duo navigates the ebbs and flows of life, their bond fortified by unwavering love and unyielding support.
In a bid to illuminate paths and embolden hearts, Neo leverages the digital realm, crafting a sanctuary of empowerment on her YouTube channel. Brimming with authenticity and raw emotion, her videos chronicle the tapestry of her daily life, serving as a testament to resilience and the unwavering human spirit.
Amidst the digital cosmos, Neo, affectionately known as “KirchBaby,” reigns supreme, a luminary in the hearts of 658,000 enraptured subscribers. Through her captivating content, she not only navigates the mundane tasks of cooking, cleaning, and childcare but also dances with celestial grace, a testament to her boundless spirit and unyielding zest for life.
In the cathedral of Neo Kirchway’s narrative, resilience reigns supreme, echoing a universal truth – that amidst life’s gales, the human spirit, when kindled by hope and fortitude, emerges as a beacon of light, illuminating even the darkest of paths.
The government’s efforts to integrate individuals with disabilities in Botswana society are being hampered by budgetary constraints. Those with disabilities face inequalities in budgetary allocations in the health and education sectors. For instance, it is reported that the government allocates higher budgetary funds to the general health sector, while marginal allocations are proposed for the development and implementation of the National Primary Health Care guidelines and Standards for those with Disabilities. This shows that in terms of budgetary solutions, the government’s proposed initiatives in improving the health and well-being of those with disabilities remain futile as there is not enough money going towards disability-specific health programs. On the other hand, limited budgetary allocations to the Special Education Unit also are a primary contributor to the inequalities faced by children with disabilities. The government only provides for the employment of 15 teachers with qualifications in special education despite the large numbers of children with intellectual disabilities that are in need of special education throughout Botswana. Such disproportional allocation of resources inhibits the capacity to provide affordable and accessible assisted technology and residential support services for those with disabilities. Given the fact that a different amount of resources have been availed to the education and health sectors, the general understanding is that the government is not doing enough to ensure that adequate resources are distributed to disability-specific programs and facilities such as barrier-free environments, residential homes, and special education schools for children with disabilities.