The decision by the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) President, Dumelang Saleshando to contest the Maun West parliamentary election in 2019 has made the constituency one of the busiest political hives. One activists who recently defected to Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), Kent Thapelo has vowed to de-campaign Dumelang Saleshando in Maun West.
Thapelo and George Lubinda, BCP’s 2014 candidate, were recently welcomed in to the BDP during the party extra ordinary congress in Gaborone. Before their defection to BDP they were linked with Botswana Movement for Democracy. In an interview, Thapelo blamed their defection on their ‘bad’ treatment by BCP leadership with regard to the way the party favored party president Dumelang Saleshando over Lubinda who had traditionally contested the constituency.
Thapelo said together with Lubinda they quarried why BCP chose Saleshando to contest in Maun West as he is not familiar with the Maun politics. “There was no consultation. Lubinda was not consulted at all on the decision on Saleshando’s candidacy in Maun West. This is what led us to leave BCP.”
Thapelo joined BCP in October last year in what many viewed as an opportunistic move to allow him contest Komana/Toteng council ward which was allocated to BCP not BMD, in the North West UDC constituency and wards allocation agreement. “Personally I was never accepted in to the BCP. So I decided to join BDP. I will campaign for Reaboka Mbulawa against Saleshando.”
Addressing political rallies during his tour of Maun West in May, Saleshando said the ‘ground is ready’ for him to contest in 2019. He said contrary to sentiments that he is not well known in Ngamiland, many people are happy that given his experience he will adequately represent them on issues such as wildlife conflicts. “Those people spreading are scared BDP members. I am from this area and have every right to contest in Maun West. “
Saleshando said one of the issues he has earmarked to give attention is the dominance of tourism sector by foreigners at chagrin of locals. However, Lubinda while confirming his previous intentions to contest in Maun West under BCP refuted that he joined BDP due to Saleshando’s candidacy issue. “Yes last year I moved a motion to BCP North West regional leadership that we request BMD to give us Maun West because BCP is very strong in the constituency.
I made it clear that although I lost in 2014 it was because Kgosi Tawana Moremi was contesting not because BCP is weak. Kgosi Tawana won not because BMD is strong in Maun West but due but because he is a chief.” Lubinda said however he later started hearing rumors that there were meetings hosted by influential BCP cadres to influence BCP president to contest in Maun West. “I was not consulted. I just heard rumors about that in the streets. Later I heard that BMD agreed to give Maun West to BCP.”
He said after joining BDP, he will help BDP campaign in Maun West saying: ‘I will campaign for BDP not Mbulawa.’ BCP North West Regional Chairman, Goretetse Kekgonegile said Lubinda was adequately consulted. “He lost democratically. Majority of people in the region supported Saleshando over him because they want a strong candidate who will adequately represent the interests of the Ngamiland people on issues such as wildlife conflicts, land and agriculture issues. It’s a democracy he should just accept that he lost and stop the blames.”
Meanwhile Moalosi Sebati of Alliance for Progressives has confirmed that he will face Saleshando and Mbulawa under the AP ticket. Sebati said in an interview: “Our campaigns going well. We are registering members in high numbers. We just registered 700 members in Boyei ward which is said to be BCP stronghold. I do not fear any of those two because people on the ground do not want any them. I am assured of a win.”
On the other hand, Tawana Moremi has told Weekend Post in an interview that so far he does not support any of the standing candidates saying: “I will support only the candidate who has the issues of Ngamiland such as land and tourism at heart. So far I do not support anyone.”
The land and Wildlife questions promise to be a burning campaign issue for the 2019 elections. In testimony of this, one of the resolutions at the recent BDP extraordinary congress was that government should consider lifting the wildlife hunting ban and also that government should review compensation of victims of wildlife destruction. Kekgonegile on the other hand also explained that BCP will also produce a regional manifesto detailing its position and solutions to wildlife and land issues in Ngamiland.
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.
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.
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 βBKβ 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.