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Scramble for BDP YL posts heats up

LOBBYING: Thabo Autwetse

The power grubbing frenzy in the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) has reached new dizzying heights as the number of contenders for its youth leadership has both broken party convention and continues to swell by the day.

A circulating runners list indicates that the headcount of the BDP youth leadership race is cast to rival the number of their elders involved in the tense battle for control of the mother party. Additional candidates are expected to emerge from the shadows to challenge current party chairman, Mokgweetsi Masisi for the party presidency, when President Ian Khama stands down.

Historically in the mother party, the bloated figure of the youth leadership contenders has also broken party convention as it originally used to be two opponents and their factions jockeying for the control of the youth wing leadership.

The Youth Presidency figure has already hit the seven figure mark while runners for the coming contest are said to include Minister of Defence Justice and Security Shaw Kgathi’s son, Ronnie Kgathi and former BDP Chairman Daniel Kwelagobe’s son, Kagiso Kwelagobe.

Those vying for the National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC) Presidency include youth entrepreneur Bruce Nkgakile, Ronnie Kgathi, Simon Mavhange, Fox Segwai, Collen Mochotlhi,Vuyo Yane as well as Thabo Autlwetse.

Autlwetse is the previous challenger for the same position in the past election and was soundly defeated by Andy Boatile, who it is believed will not seek a third mandate.

The Vice Presidency is set to be contested by Kabo Saif and Alison Moses Mogaekwa while the Secretary General position will be competed for by Toy Wetsho and Lesego Kwambala.

The Deputy Secretary General’s position will be vied for by Kobamo Mokgathi while Segomotso Kabomo will stand for the political education post.

Positions of Information Officer will be contested by Otsile Machona and Arnold Phaladi while Neo Molwantwa and Kagiso Kwelagobe will slug it out for Fundraising and Projects Officer.

Those who have pinned hopes on the additional membership bracket are Coca Ramotsupe, Portia Hadinga and Mpho Olefhile.

Meanwhile, the country’s Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi is also said to be fending off a potentially stiff contest by Selibe Phikwe East legislator and Minister of Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Nonofo Molefhi through the employ underhanded political machinations.

So far, former legislator for Bonnington North constituency, Robert Masitara and onetime Serowe South constituency legislator, Tebelelo Seretse have declared their candidature.

President Ian Khama’s younger brother and Minister of Environment Wildlife and Tourism, Tshekedi Khama, has also confirmed that if cajoled enough by fellow party men he will step into the ring. One time BDP youth leader and current Botswana ambassador to Japan, Jacob Nkate, is also said to be harbouring intentions to challenge Masisi for the party presidency.

In the run up to BDP’s 2015 Mmadinare Congress party convention was also shattered by the never seen before number of candidates who were also challenging Masisi for the party chairmanship.

They included Tebelelo Seretse, Biggie Butale, Ramadeluka Seretse, Moemedi Dijeng and former BDP youth wing leader Seteng Motalaote.

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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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