President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi is said to have blatantly rebuffed a peace pipe effort by his advice-giver Peter Magosi between him (Masisi) and his predecessor Lt Gen Dr Ian Khama, two days before the Serowe Show-grounds meeting was held early this month.
A highly placed source shared with this publication this week that in his daily routine work, Director General (DG) of Directorate on Intelligence Security Services (DISS) Magosi requested a private meeting with Khama on behalf of President Masisi. This was a kind gesture by Magosi who is seemingly worried by the ongoing animosity between the two leaders, the informant says.
It is said, Khama who was once Magosi’s boss during their army days agreed to the request to meet Masisi privately. The agenda of the meeting was to discuss a number of issues, among others, ironing out political differences between the two leaders. However, it is said Magosi’s efforts were dealt a huge blow when President Masisi threw the idea out of the window.
“DG (Magosi) on Wednesday, that was two days before that Serowe meeting at show grounds, met and organized a meeting between Khama and Masisi. He did this without consulting Masisi and HE (Masisi) could not agree with the idea because he felt he was not ready and most importantly he argued that he has long asked for a meeting with the former President which never materialized.
Remember he even engaged BDP veterans to convene a meeting but Khama refused. Now this time after the efforts by Magosi, Masisi asked DG; “Why now, because I have long asked to meet with him but in vain?” This was how the livid Masisi closed that chapter with Magosi having to go back few minutes and cancel the meeting he set with Khama.
On the other hand, Khama despite having placed invitation placards for the Serowe meeting was willing to listen and possibly negotiate the differences with his successor. “But after being rejected and comprehending what Magosi told him, Khama went all out with his meeting in Serowe,” says a source. It is claimed that should the former President have met and cordially engaged Masisi, the Serowe gathering would have proceeded “but he would have not spewed venom like he did because the tribesmen were not aware of the agenda of that assembly. So after that rejection, he saw it as a perfect moment to fight bare knuckled revealing everything he said there.”
When asked about the ‘interference’ by Magosi in BDP internal wrangles, the source was of the view he (Magosi) knows the animal they are dealing with and he wants all these to be extinguished quickly. “He worked with Khama at the military and he is where he is because of him. He does not want to be seen by the Khama associates as an evil man because there are possibilities that they could win governance and even after that, he wants to be sure that he won’t be harassed because of his alliance with Masisi,” explained the source on Tuesday this week.
Further Magosi is said to be alive to the fact that when you have a fallout with Khama it is almost impossible to reconcile and was very much willing to broker peace while it was still conceivable. “He is doing this for his boss (Masisi) so that the feud is solved within a short time because he knows who Khama is and how he reacts to situations,” the source expounded.
In an interview with this publication on Thursday morning, Khama confirmed meeting with Magosi but said he could not reveal details. “True we met and agreed on the meeting that was around 7pm. The agreement was that the session could go on even on that night of which I did not have any problem. Magosi later came to me around 9pm saying the meeting will not go on as planned. He did not furnish me with the reasons, but then I said Okay, no problem,” Khama told WeekendPost.
A study compiled by a South African firm on the relationship between the two has also painted a muddy picture on the two Presidents reaching a point of reconciliation saying it is as good as impossible. However, it is said Khama was following the same script from the study which encouraged them to meet despite the circumstances. “Attempts to bring them together to reach a truce have failed and they seem to be heading to the cliff edge. With that, Khama should try by all means to meet President Masisi personally or through emissaries. This is for a truce to be negotiated in the interest of both men and for the sake of the party,” highlighted the report.
In the past Khama had made it clear that he would like to meet Masisi privately. This was after many attempts by President Masisi to engage his predecessor through the BDP elders committee which the former leader deliberately rejected. The report from the SA firm research says with Masisi having registered a hollow victory at Kang congress last month, “achieved through the price of manipulation, intimidation and abuse of state resources and assets, he may be amenable to a settlement in order to turn his attention to the general elections”.
“A big question mark is, would Masisi’s conciliatory stance be genuine or only meant to buy him peace for purpose of the election after which he will return to haunt Khama. Our analysis is that for Masisi’s project to become a success, Khama and his associates must continuously be vilified and portrayed in the eyes of the nation as the perennial enemies of the nation,” the study observed.
The two warring axis were pictured at the recent Khawa Dune Challenge smiling and shaking hands. This however, political observers have dismissed as a mere public relations stunts to fool Batswana and BDP members that the situation has normalized while in fact there is still a long way to go. “This is similar to the Palapye BDP retreat where party members were made to believe that the two men now can share a shadow, at the end it proved to be just a fallacy. Khawa stunt is no exception,” one commentator told WeekendPost.
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.