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UB CONFERS HONORARY DOCTORATE ON PRESIDENT MASISI, INAUGURATES CHANCELLOR AND VICE CHANCELLOR

October 13, 2018 marks a rare but major milestone in the history of the University of Botswana. For the first time since its establishment 36 years ago, Mmadikolo will see three of its alumni notching up some of the highest honours in a university setup in a single day.

Thus, the University of Botswana will confer Honorary Doctorate on His Excellency, the President, Mr Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi, at its 36th Graduation Ceremony on 13th October 2018. President Masisi is a graduate of the University of Botswana where he trained as a teacher in Secondary Education, majoring in English and History. He is the first University of Botswana graduate to become its Chancellor, a position he was appointed to on July 17 2017 but which he relinquished when he became President of the Republic of Botswana on April 1, 2018. He is also the first former student to hold the position of President of the Republic of Botswana.

On the same day, former Bank of Botswana Governor, Ms Linah Mohohlo, another former student who read accounting and business, economics, finance and investments, will be inaugurated as the 5th Chancellor of the University of Botswana. Ms Mohohlo was appointed Chancellor on July 19, 2018 as per Section 7 (1) of the University of Botswana Act of 2008. Her appointment also makes her the first woman, second former student and third none head of state to hold such a position. The appointment of a Chancellor who is not a sitting president follows amendment of the University of Botswana Act in 2008 detaching the position of Chancellor from the first office of the land – the presidency of the Republic.

Ms Mohohlo is an experienced leader who has served in different capacities locally and internationally. She has a firm and grounded understanding of the University which she had been serving in various capacities over the years, notably as the Deputy Chairman of the UB Foundation.

Another former student, Professor David Norris, who graduated with BSc in Biology and Physics in 1988, will be inaugurated as the 6th Vice Chancellor of the University of Botswana. Since its inception in 1982, UB has had five Vice Chancellors in Professor John Turner (1982-1984), Professor Thomas Tlou (1984-1998), Professor Sharon Siverts (1998-2003), Professor Bojosi Otlhogile (2003-2011) and Professor Thabo Fako (2011-2017).

Prior to joining UB, Professor Norris was Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research and Innovation at the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BUIST), a position he had held since 2016. Previously, he worked for the University of Limpopo ((formerly University of the North), South Africa from 20016 to 2016. He also worked for Austin Peay State University, USA from 1998 to 2000.

Meanwhile, the Chancellor, Ms Mohohlo, will thereafter confer degrees and diplomas on 2 273 graduands.  The number comprises 16 PhDs, five Mphil, 221 Masters Degrees, 1 702 Bachelor Degrees, 189 Post Graduate Diplomas and 140 Diplomas.

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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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