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BDP’s 3 most wanted constituencies

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is going all out for the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) scalp, as the ruling party seeks to reclaim three of the constituencies it lost to opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) in 2014.

Molepolole South, Goodhope-Mabule and Gaborone North have been listed as among the most wanted constituencies as the party seeks redemption following the party’s dismal performance in 2014 general elections. BDP’s confidence in reclaiming some of its former constituencies has been inflated by various developments in the political landscape, with scales shifting against the opposition. BDP will deploy various tactics including reaching compromise in order to achieve this goal. While the UDC is still nursing wounds resulting from BMD split, BDP has been on a recruitment drive countrywide, claiming disgruntled opposition members to their fold.  

MOLEPOLOLE SOUTH

Molepolole South fell in the hands of the opposition for the first time since independence, with Dr Mmatli of the UDC defeating BDP strongman Daniel Kwelagobe, ending a political career spanning 45 years. The constituency came into being following the 2003 delimitation exercise that split Molepolole constituency into two. Kwelagobe chose to remain with Molepolole South while Gus Matlhabaphiri became a beneficiary, taking over the North side of the Bakwena capital.

For decades, Molepolole and the entire Kweneng region was a BDP stronghold, but the 2014 elections proved that the formation of BMD had hit hard BDP support in the region. However, recent developments in the political arena have given the BDP confidence that Molepolole South is among the easiest constituencies to bring back home. Dr Mmatli is seen as having lost his grassroots support following the split of BMD resulting in the formation of Alliance for Progressives (AP).

The BDP now believes that the Vice President of BMD lost his grip in the constituency. Although compromise has not been reached yet in the BDP primaries for the constituency, the party has fielded Daniel Kwelagobe protégée and its prodigal son, Kabo Morwaeng. If consensus is not reached, Morwaeng will go through primaries against former Kwelagobe rival Shima Monageng.

Morwaeng, who currently serves as the secretary for Political Education and Elections Committee (PEEC) Sub-Committee is seen as a strong individual who enjoys grass root support in Molepolole. Morwaeng who is also a former Barataphathi stalwart is tipped to benefit from Kwelagobe’s support. The veteran MP is said to be friendly disposed towards Morwaeng than his long term rival Monageng. Kwelagobe still commands respect among democrats in the constituency.

GABORONE NORTH

Gaborone North was one of the first constituencies the BDP made inroads into since 2004, when former junior minister Keletso Rakhudu won the constituency against Michael Muzwinila of Botswana National Front (BNF). The constituency had prior to that been a BNF heartland, having first won it in 1984 under the candidacy of firebrand Maitshwarelo Dabutha, when there were only only two constituencies in the city, the other being Gaborone South, held by Dr Kenneth Koma.

After holding on to the constituencies for 10 years, the constituency returned to opposition when Rakhudu lost to former Gaborone City Mayor Haskins Nkaigwa of the UDC in the 2014 general elections. However Nkaigwa recently left the UDC to associate with the newly formed AP. This has given the BDP the confidence that the party will be able to reclaim the constituency from the opposition due to the anticipated vote splitting.

The BDP has fielded its secretary general Mpho Balopi to bring home the constituency. Balopi is unchallenged in the party primaries. So far three candidates in Gaborone constituencies are unchallenged, the others being Anna Mokgethi (Gaborone Bonnington) and Tumiso Hearly (Gaborone Central). Balopi expressed confidence at a press briefing this week that he will win the constituency in 2019.

GOODHOPE-MABULE

The BDP has managed to coax youthful candidate Fankie Motsaathebe to step aside for Minister of Presidential Affairs, Governance and Public Affairs, Eric Molale to contest unchallenged in party primaries. The decision was reached after a long engagement in which Motsaathebe was unwilling to give way for Molale. The Goodhope-Mabule constituency has become a subject of intrigue ever since it fell in the hands of the opposition in 2014, for the first time since independence. The constituency was previously held by BDP stalwarts; Ben Thema and Ronald Sebego before Kitso Mokaila took over the reign after the 2004 general elections.

In a shocking development, Mokaila lost the constituency to James Mathokgwane of UDC in 2014. Mathokgwane however resigned from parliament barely six months into his term. In the resultant bye-election, Mokaila chose not to contest the constituency. Molale won the disputed primaries but lost the bye-election after Barolong chief Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II was fielded by the UDC.

There are those who were of the view that Motsaathebe stood a better chance of winning the constituency against Kgosi Lotlaamoreng. Motsaathebe and Kgosi Lotlaamoreng are known to have been close for years. The Barolong chief has not been in good health in recent years prompting allegations that he may choose not to contest in 2019. There are also reports that Molale, one of Khama’s trusted allies’ fancies his chances as Vice President after the 2019 general elections, hence a deal was reached with Motsaathebe not to contest. Motsaathebe has been redeployed to serve as Molale’s campaign manager.

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BODANSA strikes gold with a handsome P45K windfall from Turnstar Holdings

27th February 2024

The Botswana DanceSport Association (BODANSA) has been graced with a financial boon of P45,000 courtesy of Turnstar Holdings. This generous endowment is earmarked for the illustrious Botswana International Dance Sport Grand Prix Championships, which are scheduled to animate Gaborone from Friday to Saturday.

At a media engagement held early today, BODANSA’s Marketing Maestro, Tiro Ntwayagae, shared that Turnstar Holdings Limited has bestowed a gift of P45,000 towards the grand spectacle.

“We are thrilled to announce that this backing will enable us to orchestrate a cultural soirĂ©e at the Game City Marque locale, a night brimming with cultural fervor set for March 1, 2024, from 6pm to the stroke of midnight.

This enchanting space will also serve as the battleground for the preliminaries of traditional dance ensembles—spanning the rhythmically rich Setapa to the euphoric beats of Sebirwa, the spirited Seperu, the heavenly Hosana, and more—in a competition folded into the Traditional Dance Groups Category. The ensemble that dances into the judges’ hearts will clinch a grand prize of P10,000,” elaborated Ntwayagae.

He further illuminated that the cultural eve would not only celebrate traditional melodies but also the fresh beats of contemporary dance variants including Hip Hop, Sbujwa, Amapiano, among others, in a dazzling display of modern dance mastery.

Moreover, these championships carry the prestigious recognition by the World DanceSport Federation as a qualifying round for the Breakdance category for the Paris 2024 Olympics. “This is a monumental opportunity for athletes to leap towards their Olympic dreams during one of the penultimate qualifiers,” underscored Ntwayagae.

Looking ahead to March 2, 2024, the festivities will propel into the University of Botswana Indoor Sports Arena for the championship’s climactic showdowns encompassing Breakdance, Latin, and Ballroom Dancing.

 

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Government of Botswana yet to sign, ratify the UN-CRPD

26th February 2024

In Botswana, a beacon of democracy in Africa, the right to participate in the political discourse is a cornerstone of its societal structure. It’s an avenue through which citizens shape the rules and systems that govern their everyday lives. Despite this, recent studies indicate that Individuals with Disabilities (IWDs) are notably absent from political dialogues and face substantial hurdles in exercising their democratic freedoms.

Research within the nation has uncovered that IWDs encounter difficulties in engaging fully with the political process, with a pronounced gap in activities beyond mere voting. The call for environments that are both accessible and welcoming to IWDs is loud, with one participant, who has a physical disability, spotlighting the absence of ramps at voting venues and the dire need for enhanced support to facilitate equitable involvement in the electoral process.

The challenges highlighted by the study participants pinpoint the structural and social obstacles that deter IWDs from participating wholly in democracy. The inaccessibility of voting facilities and the lack of special accommodations for people with disabilities are critical barriers. Those with more significant or intellectual disabilities face even steeper challenges, often feeling marginalized and detached from political engagement.

To surmount these obstacles, there is an urgent appeal for Botswana to stride towards more inclusive and accessible political stages for IWDs. This necessitates a committed effort from both the government and relevant entities to enforce laws and policies that protect the rights of IWDs to partake in the political framework. Enhancing awareness and understanding of the political landscape among IWDs, alongside integrating inclusive practices within political entities and governmental bodies, is crucial.

By dismantling these barriers and nurturing an inclusive political environment, Botswana can live up to its democratic ideals, ensuring every citizen, regardless of ability, can have a substantive stake in the country’s political future.

 

 

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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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