In a twist of events, the Ntlo Ya Dikgosi has this week unanimously agreed to split the gigantic Central District Council in Gamma-Ngwato territory.
The house passed the motion which was brought by the controversial Tswapong region’s Kgosi Galeakanye Modise who out rightly called for the creation of a new District in the Central region thereby splitting the area. This comes after the Central District has become a hot potato political subject in which some supporting Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi in the power struggle against ex-president Lt Gen Ian Khama has called for its split.
They observe that the split will neutralise the power in the party between the north and side divide of the country. Central District is the heartland of Bangwato who are led by Masisi’s rival and predecessor, Kgosi Ian Khama. The BDP has been seen as more powerful and strong in the Central District with more than 15 constituencies having been won uninterrupted by the BDP since first national elections in 1965.
Khama has solidified his presence in the territory and it appears to be seen how the BDP will fare in the area after Khama quit it and de-campaigned it in the area in support of newly formed Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). The move has led to an interesting twists in the power struggle between the two strongmen as Dikgosi agreed to create the new District in the Central territory. They moved read “that this honourable house requests government to create a new District Council called Tswapong in order to provide good service delivery to many disadvantage people living in the area.”
When debating the motion the one-of-a-kind Specially Elected member of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi, Kgosi Thabo Maruje III of Masunga reminded government that if government doesn’t make such reforms (splitting Central District) there will be very serious consequences. “Ultimately every government doesn’t listen to her people, there will be chaos,” he stressed out on the Ntlo Ya Dikgosi debating floor while adding that “so, this motion, to split CDC, is coming at the right time and it will be a model for the rest of the country.”
Kgosi Maruje pointed out that he believes going into the 2019 general elections, such matters should be topical especially as Batswana are more informed now. “If government continues with the idea that somebody should be like this and that one should not be like that is a problem,” he said when debating the Central District motion. Let’s agree that we don’t want anybody stripped off what deserves to them, but again, we need to give others what it’s rightfully theirs and deserve it, he said.
He continued: I believe our government has always been the driver of this national polarisation and this tribalism because government has never detached itself from this at any point in time. After 50 years, Maruje said, if you look at all this polarisation and tribalisation, it is now the source of discontentment today and will divide the country. “For years, tribal issues has been politicised. We have politicised tribal matters without giving due regard of giving Dikgosi space and chance to sit down and ponder on issues affecting them and how they can be solved.”
My plea is that, Kgosi Maruje said, the government should not look at these things from a skewed perspective as Botswana is different now and that the country is going through the winds of change. He emphasised to the members of Ntlo Ya Dikgosi that there should be a model on how the country should resuscitate the people’s identity, to give them more power as is the cased with Central District motion.
“I believe therefore that district headquarters in all sub districts, not only in Central District as we also have the same issue in Good Hope, Tlokweng, Nata, Tswapong and others, so I think as the mover of the motion has stated this should be uphold. We can start with splitting Central District,” he said.
On his part, Kgosi Rapelang Khuwe of Tutume region also agreed with the motion citing thsat when the resources and budgets of the sub districts at Central District, are only done at Serowe and then sent to the sub districts, it puts the ordinary people on the disadvantage.
“Developments become slow, they reach the people very late owing to this long process. It means some Batswana become beggars to others who have more power on resources like it’s the case with CDC. This is notwithstanding that the constitution prescribe that we should be equal,” he pointed out.
Kgosi Khuwe said the government should review their current plan to create more sub districts but rather create a fully-fledged district in Tswapong away from the Central District. He added: “this will help the cry from disadvantaged Batswana from those areas. You should make Tswapong District rather than sub district and that maybe 2 or 3 fully fledged Districts in the CDC will help in service delivery.” According to Khuwe, when the government is bringing more sub districts in one districts as they adamantly intents to do in Central District, his assessment is that it’s even more expensive to tax payers as is currently now.
He explained that if one sub district is being created in Nata, one in Sebina, why so when there is still sub district of Tutume, why not turn the Tutume one into full District than spending the money recklessly with more sub districts. He added that the same goes to Tswapong, in that if the government wants to form a sub district there, they should just turn Palapye into a fully fledge District dividing it from the vast Central District. When responding to the motion, the Assistant Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Botlogile Tshireletso poured cold water on the motion saying it is not in government’s plans.
“At this time we don’t have plans to make Tswapong sub district a fully fledge district,” he stressed. But of course, she added that the mover of the motion has a point. However, Tshireletso said what government intends to do at this stage, is to create a sub districts at Sefhare and Lerala in the Central District. The sub district as you know is like a younger brother to the big district which is Central District here, she said. Kgosi Modise, subsequent to the Minister’s response, then took a swipe at the Assistant Minister and the government reminding them that all Batswana are and should be equal.
“God created us all equal and so we are all equal before the lord. But unfortunately, it appears like someone who is not thinking of doing something to someone, they feel that the person in question has therefore no right of pursuing such cause,” he lashed out. He observed that government should introspect and see if it is still relevant today to think that others may be inferior as opposed to others and that some people don’t deserve other facilities or services like others. “This will bring this country into chaos,” he said.
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.