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Masisi allies counter Khama magic

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Central Committee has backed down on the idea of cancelling next year’s party congresses and has since given President Mokgweetsi Masisi a blueprint on how to manoeuvre a transitional period marred by controversy.

Insiders point out that if President Masisi takes their advice he will be able to counter the so called “Khama magic” which seems to mar his Presidency. In July this year, party Secretary General, Mpho Balopi proposed to Ghanzi region that the National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC), Women Wing as well as the National Congress, all scheduled for next year, should not be held as expected.

Balopi and perhaps the party’s reasons to have the congresses postponed were premised on the fact that the party is going through a transition period, following the ascendance of Masisi to the party presidency in April this year. Intentions to have party congresses postponed were met with resistance by party structures and party veterans who believed the move is against the party constitution and its democratic credentials.

The party leadership has since bowed in and plotted another way in which Masisi could win the battle to win the soul of the party which has two centers of power – Masisi and his predecessor Lt Gen Ian Khama. Masisi, sources say, was given strategies by his colleagues in a meeting held on the 11th of this month. The idea is anchored on Masisi winning support from fellow democrats as the party will assemble for various congresses next year.

“The president should be surrounded by the people he trusts who can protect him and it is very imperative that all who win in the congresses next year should be sharing the same vision as him. Further he should be smart enough so that democrats give him the necessary support,” a BDP source said Wednesday afternoon. Masisi’s ascendance to the throne has been marred by fallout with his predecessor, with some believing that he is ill-treating his former boss, while others believe that Khama wants to undermine Masisi’s presidency.

Advisors, as part of the strategy, have told Masisi to claim ignorance on anything suggesting a ‘fallout’ between him and Khama and has since followed the script accordingly. “We asked him about the feud as we read and hear about it on the media and he said he should be given time to see if at all there is a fallout of which according to him it is just fiction from the media,” Kweneng West regional Chairperson Motlhophi Leo said.

Masisi visited the region on the 16th of this month as part of the plan to entrench himself on the BDP followers. There is an air of suspicion within the BDP multitudes that Khama who still enjoys support within the party will place his allies on some positions within the party committee. This is seen as a possible blow that could be devastating to Masisi’s rule as he would be surrounded by enemies who might even weaken him.

To this end Masisi has visited the two regions of Kweneng West and Central in a bid to have a firm grip on the party which seems to be undermining his authority. At the said meetings, it is indicated that he did what his advice-givers said, promising the party members that he will do everything to ensure they are happy.

“He promised us that he will consult his cabinet in the mid-term review next year to satisfy our needs. We have water problems, poor roads and no sewerage system. Further the government in initiatives are not enjoyed by all the people and should benefit,” Leo said.
On the other hand in Serowe, it is said Masisi warned the militant central regions party members to register in large numbers as some await primary elections appeals to end.

 “He wants all the constituencies back and he encouraged everyone to register for the elections and avoid using the Bulela Ditswe appeals as the excuses,” regional secretary Gase Rapelang said. Kweneng West is made up of four constituencies Molepolole South and Molepolole North, Takatokwane and Letlhakeng Lephepe. Two of these are under the opposition and Masisi has emphasised the need to wrestle them from the opposition next year. The entire five constituencies under the central region are under the BDP watch.

Apart from the two regions, the president is expected to tour all the 14 regions to understand challenges they face while also tilling the soil for both the party congresses and general elections next year. This weekend the party chairman Slumber Tsogwane will visit the Ngami region to replicate what Masisi has done. The other 11 regions according to the plan shall be addressed by the president.

BDP APPEALS DELAY IRKS MPs

With the BDP Appeals Committee still assessing various protests from those who lost in the primary elections, BDP Members of Parliament say it has stopped everything.  One MP who spoke to this publication said he has long requested ministers to visit his constituency, but in vain since they are still awaiting judgement. “I have long asked them to visit my people here because we have so many issues including water and road challenges but the relevant ministries are reluctant,” he said.

He revealed that he suspect that should ministers lose appeals chances are they will sabotage everything of which it will be unfortunate. Backbenchers have been conducting kgotla meetings to update electorates on the decision taken in the last sitting of parliament.
MPs are of the view that it is important to have ministers at those meetings to directly answer the enquiries from the public. The last sitting of parliament will commence on the 5th of next month.

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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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