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Constituencies contribute for Khama’s bash

All the 57 Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) constituencies have until next week Wednesday to raise P1.1 million for President Ian Khama’s farewell bash slated for the weekend of March 16 and 17 in Gaborone. Each constituency should raise P20 000 by 28 February.

The extravagant farewell will coincide with the party’s 54thth national council to be held in Gaborone. “The raised funds will be used for His Excellency’s farewell party and part of it, we are told will be used to prepare for our national council,” a source stated briefly.

This publication could not establish how the constituencies planned on raising the set amount by press time. BDP Communications and International Relations chairperson, Thapelo Pabalinga confirmed to this publication that indeed the constituencies had been tasked with raising the said amount. “That amount has been requested, it is true. As for the formula, constituencies raise money all the time and will know how best to do it,” Pabalinga said.

On the gifts to be presented, he said he could not “take the thunder away from it” by sharing the information publicly. “We cannot share what gifts will be presented as it is a surprise for HE, and also for the party members and the press,” he revealed.
The strategic decision for the party to bid farewell to one of their ‘greatest leaders’ and close off Khama’s 40 years at the helm of the BDP at a party event-the 54th national council in Gaborone, was arrived at since all leadership structures will be in Gaborone and Khama would deliver a message for the party to ponder on going into the next general election.

The invite list is however yet to be finalized. Pabalinga said information on who will be attending the event “”will be shared in due course as it is still being populated”. The outgoing President who has announced that he will lead the party’s 2019 general election campaign will evaluate the incoming President Mokgweetsi Masisi at the ceremony. The latter has been assigned to poach new members from the opposition ranks. Up to date the numbers of recruits is yet to be made public and will be revealed at Khama’s farewell celebrations with some members paraded for his satisfaction.

“His membership drive will be paraded at the event as one of Khama’s presents. Moreover it will give him the chance to see how the ground looks like in terms of new members as he is expected to be the poster boy for the party going to the next polls,” said an insider from the party.

Khama is worried that his once indomitable party could possibly lose to opposition come 2019. The poor performance at the 2014 General Elections and the subsequent by-election losses have given Khama more reason to worry about the party. Since August 2015, the president has been engaged in a series of mobilization activities across the country. The activities include meetings with the Central Committee, regional tours, branch visits and other team building functions.

Part of the resolutions adopted by the party during Khama’s leadership were the revision of primary elections' system with particular intention to fortify membership data and improve the management thereof; and the president's one-on-one home visits in the villages for purposes of interaction with fellow citizens. These were the tactics Masisi’s recruitment was expected to profit from.

Meanwhile the president is still traversing the breadth and width of Botswana bidding farewell to Batswana, where he continues to be showered with gifts including cash gifts. The president has amassed a total of over P1 million in cash with hundreds of cattle and other livestock. His last visit will be to his home village Serowe on the 23rd of March.

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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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