Connect with us
Advertisement

BDP MPs want P1 billion for constituencies

As part of the electioneering strategy for Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), legislators have called on President Mokgweetsi Masisi to increase Constituency Fund budget arguing that doing so will earn the party votes in the October general elections.

The plea according to those privy to developments was made last week and was emphasised this week at the party meeting with Vice President Slumber Tsogwane asked to relay the message to his superior, President Masisi. The appeal according to its proponents, majority of MPs, will work wonders for the BDP in the October elections later this year. BDP MPs propose that the fund be increased from P10 million to P20 million per constituency.

This, they say, will ensure their constituencies push a number of developmental agendas and backlog projects. Should the members succeed in their request; the government will now spend a whooping P1.1 billion on the initiative from the current budget of P570 million.  The P570 constituency fund was introduced during former President Lt Gen Ian Khama’s administration. Constituency Funds is arranged in the way that it channels money from central government directly to electoral constituencies for local infrastructure projects.

Initially, many, including BDP politicians were sceptical on the whole idea positing that it is a scheme vulnerable to corruption and abuse.  However, BDP members have somersaulted and now want it increased as it has proved popular among electorates.  “We have discussed this issue and suggested to the powers to the leadership that funds permitting the government must look at this initiative and increase its budget,” said a source.

“For now the suggestion was it should be increased from P10 to P20 million because since its inception a number of communal projects have been pushed. These are the developments that are not in the National Development Plans or that will take time to be included in the NDP in the near future.” These recommendations were among litany of those that electorates have furnished their parliamentary representatives with in various meetings organised when parliament was in recession prior to the current sitting.

Chief Whip, Liakat Kablay has acknowledged discussing the matter saying, “it was recommendations from the members to President Masisi who was not at the meeting. There were other suggestions which included shoot to kill (elephants) and creating economic programs for the middle-aged”. Despite assuring the legislators that this matter and many others including his feud with his predecessor Khama will be discussed this week, Masisi could not make it to the meeting which was held momentarily.

MPs are confident that Masisi will listen to them on the matter and hopefully give them a satisfactory answer. “This is not about us it is about the party. Voters out there believe in the projects which were started last year because they saw improvement in a number of them. So continuity is a must this time around more so its election year,” added another meeting attendee.

Legislators are of the view that this initiative could make it easy even in constituencies that considered opposition stronghold, “because this is the idea of BDP not opposition and voters should be made aware of that fact.” Last year appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) Boipolelo Khumomatlhare revealed that they are in the process of reviewing the initiative.

“It has been said in the past that programs like Ipelegeng and lately constituency fund should be reviewed. It is difficult to say, but, yes, they should be reviewed. But they can be coordinated in a manner that they could help in the National Development Plan or District Development Plan,” he said.

The Constituency Fund focuses on seven areas: Environment (planting of trees, cleaning the environment and establishment of parks in open spaces); Public Health (public health seminars, mobile clinics and improvement of health infrastructure); Education (extra-lessons for struggling students and additional facilities for schools, students and teachers); Sports and the Arts (sports and arts training clinics for the youth, aiding access to sporting, arts and music facilities, coordination of events and development of sport fields);

Community Safety and Security (coordination of neighborhood-watch initiatives, procurement of security cameras and others); Infrastructure (financing of backlogs in infrastructure projects, including sewerage, dilapidated schools, clinics, and roads); and Small, Medium Enterprise and Business Development (training of hawkers and business-people on management and facilitating business development by supporting initiatives for access to funding and markets).

Continue Reading

News

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.

 

 

Continue Reading

News

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.

 

Continue Reading

News

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.

 

Continue Reading