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Khama supports Butale for BPF presidency

Former President Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama has no choice but to side with Biggie Butale for the leadership of Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF). This comes after the more experienced Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi could not raise her hand and join the new party.

Butale, a recently suspended Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) member and Member of Parliament for Tati West has been at the forefront of the formation of the party. “He has been running the affairs of the party together with Roseline Panzirah-Matshome and from a distance Samson Moyo Guma. The influence of the trio has had other would-be members being sidelined,” said a source within the BPF.

“The choice of Butale over Venson-Moitoi is raising worries that a party in its early formation will lose credibility.  Not long before Khama was backing Venson-Motoi, and to now switch to Butale without explanation has gotten many to be disillusioned.” The belief within the majority of the BPF members is that Venson-Moitoi has been on a campaign since December vying for the BDP leadership; therefore it would make sense to continue with her and ride on her momentum. They want her lured to the party.

They also point to her experience as an administrator, Member of Parliament and Cabinet as qualities that can be used to sell her to voters.  “At her age she can be seen as unifier than a longtime office bearer thereby giving space for other future leaders to be groomed.
Some in the party believe Butale’s leadership style is already of concern.  He is thought to be combative, and doesn’t allow for consultation.  As it is, nobody knows basic information of the party, where the offices are, who is coordinating things, and even how delegates are going to get to Kanye,” said a concerned party member.

All this they blame on Butale who seems to have centered everything on himself, it is said. One former MP stated that: “Khama is making the same mistakes he made with Masisi.  Khama is a nice person, but he is naïve.  Taking an unpopular, leader and imposing him on people.  What he Khama often sees in these people, only him knows.” “Again, Butale is being used just like he got Mpho Balopi from obscurity and made him Secretary General of the party. 

The result – division within the party he Khama left in the BDP and a decline in popularity. As a matter of fact, we are grateful for some of his initiatives together with Roseline to get things going for BPF.  But let them be assigned appropriate responsibilities that match their skills set and capacity for now.  Biggie Butale will have time to lead the BPF at an opportune time, but now is not the right time.” The source went further to say that often Khama chooses people for his own interests rather than that of the collective or the organisation.  

Another cause of concern for the party is the insistence of Khama and Butale to hold inaugural elections at the upcoming congress in Kanye.  Many within the party say the party is not ready for elections, and that besides the elections outcome will divide the party.  They hold a view that what the party should be aiming for is an interim arrangement, one that allows for proper building of party infrastructure, procedures and processes. “Let’s learn to walk before we start running. As it we are beseeched with many elementary problems, an internal election is not and should not be a priority.”

“We however feel the momentum with BPF.  We are the talk of town. While we may not win all constituencies, we are certainly sure we are going to make a dent on the electoral space.  We are going to make sure BDP is not returning to power, and we are comfortable in having coalition pact run the next government of Botswana.  “We will win the combined Central and the North, and have UDC bring in the South to form a new government after the elections.  And we do not fear a Boko Presidency.”

Contacted for comment, Venson-Moitoi dismissed the allegations that she has interest in BPF presidency. “I have never said to anybody that I want to be president of the BPF. I never sought residency at BPF. I still have my BDP membership,” she said. For his part, Khama indicated that he is surprised at the allegations. “BPF is a democratic party which does not belong to an individual. Its office bearers are elected by the people at a constituted congress where delegates are at liberty to nominate anyone of their choice.”

Meanwhile Butale did not dispute the allegations of divisions within the party, but noted that, “In a party setup there will always be misunderstandings. And misunderstandings do not mean fights.” Party spokesperson Panzirah-Matshome only said, “The people shall choose their leadership on July 6 in Kanye, not Khama.”

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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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