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BDP backbenchers clueless on ESP

Billy Buti, Member of Parliament for Francistown East
 

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) backbench Members of Parliament have been sidelined in the formulation of the recently announced Economic Stimulus Programme (ESP, Weekend Post has established.

Despite party Secretary General Botsalo Ntuane’s recent proclamation that ESP is the starting point in which the party, instead of government officials will be in charge of formulating policies, bureaucrats will once ahead spear the ESP.   

Ntuane told BDP delegates at the party’s Special Congress last month that going forward the party will now start taking centre stage in formulation of government policies. Ntuane further used

ESP as a reference point after the programme was announced at the party gathering against the established tradition.

However, the situation on the ground suggests that the cabinet alongside senior government officials are still in charge of formulating government policies at the exclusion of key players like party MPs backbenchers.

Government is yet to announce complete details of ESP but according to President Khama, very soon a booklet detailing the framework of the programme will be available soon and distributed to the public.

What is now evident is that BDP backbenchers are as clueless as the as the rest of the public on what the ESP will entail. As things stand on the side of BDP backbenchers the guessing game lingers on while waiting for the details of the programme to be revealed.

At least two backbenchers this week while responding to President Khama’s State of Nation Address painted a picture which signalled their exclusion in the formulation of the idea.  

This week, MP for Boteti East Sethomo Lelatisitswe revealed in parliament that only cabinet members and high ranking government officials are involved in formulation of the much talked about initiative. “I am also not aware of what ESP entails just like opposition MPs,” he said, “I am hoping that it will address the concerns of my constituents.”

Billy Buti, Member of Parliament for Francistown East did not mince his words when he commented on the ESP as he warned that failure to do it properly will spell doom for Botswana’s economy. This is so because, according to Buti, government has gone against the trend and pursued a risk move of tapping into the foreign reserves.

Billy contended that the decision to go for foreign reserves could either make or break the economy. “It should be done properly because we do not want another Ipelegeng,” he said.

The Francistown East legislator envisages ESP as an initiative which would create permanent and sustainable jobs. Buti took a jab at government for job losses and blamed it for not doing enough to preserve jobs.

The motion brought before parliament recently requesting to suspend termination of BNYC employees until investigation is carried out is a case in point for Buti. He said despite the motion, government went ahead and terminated the contracts of over 30 employees. “We say we want to create jobs, yet our actions are counterproductive,” he observed.   

ESP has come under attack even before the programme is rolled out. Majority of opposition MPs said it is possibly a conduit for corruption for those who are involved in the decision making.
Tati East MP Moyo Guma is one of the legislators who had defended the ESP as he noted that MPs should only expect a proper budget of the programme next year when the budget is presented by Minister of Finance and Development Planning.

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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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