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Khama finally dumps Mabaila

Former President Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama has finally cut ties with his long-time ally, Tshepang Mabaila who is contesting Mogoditshane parliamentary constituency as an independent candidate.

 In a new development, Khama will now back Bruce Nkgakile who announced his defection from the beleaguered Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) last week to join the Khama linked Botswana Patriot Front (BPF). Khama left Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), the party founded by his father and regrouped with his close associates as they facilitated the formation BPF, believed to be his brainchild.

Since the formation of the new party expectations were high that some of Khama’s close associates, including Khama’s brother Tshekedi, Mabaila and Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi will be the first to join. However, with only two months left before the general elections Mabaila has made his mind to contest the constituency as an independent candidate. Khama’s unsuccessful bid to coax Mabaila to join BPF has seen the party recruiting Nkgakile from the BMD. Nkgakile was first spotted at BPF launch last month, raising suspicion that he has closed ranks with the new party.

Nkgaile will now under BPF colours face, Mabaila, Alliance for Progressives (AP)’s Sedirwa Kgoroba, Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s Tumiso Chillyboy Rakgare as well as Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC)’s Mozambia Dibe. Reports indicate that Khama is scheduled to launch Nkgakile as BPF’s Mogoditshane preferred candidate. Khama has however said, he has not made any pronouncement with regard to who he will launch and support in Mogoditshane.

“The decision on who to launch and not, rests with the interim leadership of the party [BPF]. So far, nothing has been decided with relation to that constituency. I do not want to pre-empt anything and make assumption on who are I am going to launch,” Khama told WeekendPost this week. “It has been resolved that, in a scenario where the party is not contesting, we will support opposition candidate.”  

While officially bidding Bangwato farewell at a consultation meeting in Serowe on 25 May 2019, the former President told tribesmen that he will no longer support the party that has backtracked as a result of its new policies under the current leadership. Khama assured Bangwato that he will instead join hands and vote with the opposition in helping remove the BDP from power.

 At the recent inaugural BPF press briefing Khama assured members of the media that he will be working with the newly formed party and shall be launching their candidates at some constituencies where they have decided to contest. While addressing multitudes who thronged Kanye at their launch, Khama said their intention is to remove BDP from power thus in some constituencies where they are contesting they will support the UDC. That technical meant the former President will not be launching some independent candidates leaving them with only one option, to join the newly formed BPF or face competition.

“Khama has been advised against some hypocrites who are trying to use him to win elections but will later remain members of BDP or will re-join at a later stage. People like Mabaila have been clear that after serving his suspension he will re-unite with the BDP, thus there is no use supporting him,” said a source close to the development. Last year, in purging of candidates supposedly linked to Khama, President Mokgweetsi Masisi slapped Mabaila with a five-year suspension from the party.

Prior to five-year suspension, Mabaila served a two months suspension pending disciplinary hearing for allegedly committing offences against the rules and regulations and General Code of Conduct of the ruling party. He was also accused of ‘behaving in a grossly disorderly and unruly manner that might put the party’s name into disrepute contrary to General Code of Conduct number 11 and sowing seeds of discord in the party, using regionalism, tribalism or factionalism contrary to General Code of Conduct number 6’.

Mabaila was alleged to have conspired and tried to persuade MPs; Dr Alfred Madigele and Sethomo Lelatisitswe, to support Leader of Opposition, Duma Boko’s motion of no confidence against Masisi. Mabaila an ally of Khama since his military days dating to 2003, says he has made his mind to contest Mogoditshane as an independent candidate. “I will not be joining the new party, that is what the people of Mogoditshane wants,” said Mabaila.

 Asked about his current relationship with Khama, Mabaila said he is not aware of any development, implying that Khama is fully behind him. “We are always talking and he never mentioned anything to that effect,” he said.Mabaila who will be launching at Mogoditshane on 7th September said he has invited Khama at the event. Observation shows recently Mabaila has come out on social media praising President Masisi and attacking his former master in what observers outlined as a cry for sympathy by the youthful politician.     

A source within the BPF said Mabaila is not the only candidate on Khama’s target, another Khama’s favourite Kamal Jacobs who is contesting Lobatse as an independent candidate will face BPF’s Patrick Kebailele whose roots can be linked to Bangwato royalty. Khama’s decision not to support independent candidates, is a setback for Lerala-Maunatlala legislator, Prince Maele who was suspended from BDP and will be contesting the constituency as an independent candidate. Ironically, Maele was suspended for declaring his support for Khama at a Kgotla meeting, but Khama will not support him for refusing to join BPF.

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People with Disabilities Face Barriers to Political Participation in Botswana

23rd February 2024

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.

 

 

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Neo Kirchway- Defying the odds

23rd February 2024

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.

 

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Inequalities Faced by Individuals with Disabilities

22nd February 2024

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.

 

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