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Zakhem grabs P47 million in Jwaneng-Kanye road impasse

A company owned by business magnate, Nickolas Zakhem, ZAC Construction will now heave a sigh of relieve after Court of Appeal (CoA) confirmed its claim which suggested that construction giant Elsamex Botswana acted in bad faith by unlawfully kicking it out of a P118 million Jwaneng-Kanye road sub-contract.

This dispute has also delayed the progress of the Jwaneng-Kanye road which is a sponsored by the World Bank. According to a claim brought before the court, Elsamex frustrated ZAC from carrying out contractual obligations and caused delays in progress before abruptly cancelling the contract leaving the latter’s plant idle.

Elsamex had in 2015 sub-contracted ZAC for three contracts being an earthworks contract, a culvert construction contract and a supply of concrete for the P1 billion Jwaneng-Kanye Road which is still under construction. The Kanye-Jwaneng section of the road is a component of the World Bank’s Output and Performance Based Road Contract (OPRC) Package 1 pilot project, which is approximately 123 kilometers.

Out of the P1 billion, Elsamex sub-contracted ZAC to do earthworks, culvert and supply of concrete for P118 million. This contract was ended abruptly leading to a dispute which took three years to settle. According to court papers seen by this publication, ZAC made claims for sum of P6 million in respect of idling plant, rentals, salaries and wages and water shortages. The second claim was sum of P22 million for works executed by ZAC while the third claim was for P31 million in respect to breach of contract.

According to court documents, interest in respect of each claim is claimed at 10 percent per annum. Before arbitration, ZAC received only P16 million for what he has already done in the works. The dispute went to arbitration where ZAC successfully won. Before ruling that Elsamex acted in bad faith in the sub-contract, by also cancelling the agreement unlawfully then coming with a bid to have ZAC’s claims reduced, the arbitrator Rauf Abdulla awarded ZAC P47 million.

“….The Defendant (Elsamex) did unreasonably delay processing of claims and payments thereby frustrating the claimant (ZAC) from carrying out contractual obligations and thereby also cause delays to progress. The defendant did unlawfully cancel the contract…The Defendant did display bad faith during negotiations and opportunities to prevent this dispute and subsequent cancellation,” said the arbitrator.

After arbitration, ZAC went to the High Court which confirmed the award from the arbitrator. Justice Jennifer Dube ordered that ZAC be paid P47 million, but Elsamex appealed the judgment before claiming that the calculation of claims was erroneous, also stopping short of accusing the arbitrator of misconduct.

CoA dismissed Elsamex’s argument of the arbitrator having errered saying the company failed to use the rules for the conduct of arbitration which states that a party which received an award should issue a notice to the other party about an error or mistake and ask the arbitral tribunal to correct any error within 30 days upon the receipt of the award.

 CoA dismissed Elsamex appeal with costs meaning that ZAC stands to consolidate P47 million in the P118 million failed contract. Elsamex-ITNL JVCA is a joint venture between Elsamex from Spain and IF&LS Transportation Networks Limited from India. It has won an over P1 billion ten-year Jwaneng-Kanye road contract which started in May 2014 but was marred by delays which also involved legal disputes.

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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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