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Mbulawa supports communities claim over tourism land

The Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary candidate for Maun West constituency, Reaboka Mbulawa has thrown his weight behind Maun communities’ claims over portions of tourism lands in Okavango Delta and Maun.

The Maun community is currently seeking to get the control of Moremi Game Reserve and Maun Educational Park from government. Recently the issue was brought before President Mokgweetsi Masisi. Addressing a political rally in Maun recently, Mbulawa who will face Botswana Congress Party leader Dumelang Saleshando said he is in support of the communities claim over the prime portions of lands.

Mbulawa further told the rally that he has been engaging with Kgosi Tawana Moremi and his regiment Matsaakgang on issues relating to Moremi Game Reserve and Maun Educational Park (MEP).  He said he has advised Batawana to revive their trust, Ngamiland Fauna Conservation Society.

Speaking in a follow-up interview, Mbulawa who opposed Kgosi Moremi in 2014 elections adding that contrary to believe he always supported the community claim over the tourism lands. However he stated that his only difference is that he believes the issue should be addressed through a partnership with North West District Council.

“Though the Maun trust the community should approach NWDC for partnership. Then, they can approach the Ministry of Environment, and Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism and ask to be allocated the ownership of Maun Educational Park.” Mbulawa said if the project is done in partnership with NWDC this will address suspicions that it will only benefit a select few.

Mbulawa said the Maun Educational Park is prime land adding that the late Paul Allen, Allen who owned the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Seahawks once wanted to invest $ 2 billion (about 21 billion pula) in building a six star tourism facility in the area which however failed because of community feud over the parks ownership.

Mbulawa explained that government must pass policies to empower Batswana in the tourism sector. He said one way to do that is by reserving land under tourism land bank exclusively for Batswana. Mbulawa stated: “Personally, I suffered heavily trying to penetrate the safari tourism market.  I have incurred a lot of losses along the way. The foreign owned tourism companies in Botswana work as a web.

They can close you out. A lot of Batswana businesses have been sabotaged to closure.  But I think Batswana have demonstrated in other industry sectors that they have potential and I believe that when given chance Batswana can succeed in the tourism sector.”
He further went on: “Batswana companies like mine pay tax here. But government is losing a lot of money on foreign owned companies whose bank accounts are located outside. However this are companies that dominated our tourism sector.

You will be surprised that some of these big companies even pay low lease rentals compared to some of our smaller companies. There are just many bad things about the administration of our tourism sector.”  He said government must pass a law forcing all the foreign companies to pay for all Botswana reservations directly in Botswana.

Mbulawa said: “When it comes to tourism concessions there are few Batswana owning them.  Personally, I have been in the tourism industry for 16 years operating camp sites and recently acquired a Croc Camp in Maun. But I still do not have a tourism concession. I am interested in operating a tourism concession but it’s hard to get one. They are mostly dominated by foreign companies”

Mbulawa said: “Tourism is a very expensive industry. To put up a basic camp you need about P 10 Million Pula. A high end camp in the delta will cost you about P 50 million” saying with government’s support Batswana may penetrate the sector. Mbulawa stated that government must however exercise due care in empowering Batswana and avoid despising foreign owned companies as this may affect the tourism sector.    “We must learn from what happened to our neighboring countries about their radical economic reforms.

Empowerment of citizen is not an event but a process. We have to be careful because tourism is a sensitive sector. ” Mbulawa further clarified his contentious statement that North West District Council (NWDC) has built cattle kraals at a cost of 2 Million pula.
Speaking during a recent political rally in Maun, Mbulawa stated that under his chairmanship, NWDC built kraals at tune of P2 million. The issue soon trended on social media with many commentators describing it as false propaganda.  

But Mbulawa came in support of his statement. “Yes it is true. All those kraals cost the council P 2 million.  The project also included construction of enclosures for pigs, dogs and other stray animals. It also included water and electricity connections and labour costs.” Mbulawa said it is worrying that the Maun is inundated with many stray cattle when there is a project and by-laws in place to address that.

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MoESD Steps in for Learners with Acute and Multiple Disabilities

29th February 2024

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.



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Unemployment hits People living with disability hard

29th February 2024

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.


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28th February 2024

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 β€œBK” 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.

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