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Ntuane pushes for BDP-BCP coalition

Ntuane admits UDC inclusive of BCP may take power in 2019

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Secretary General, Botsalo Ntuane has warned that indecisiveness by the party in moving towards political and electoral reforms will effectively hand over power to combined opposition parties in 2019.

With reforms having been pivotal to political discussion in BDP recently, there is a group of influential BDP members who are opposed to some of the reforms as proposed by Ntuane.

However, Ntuane has exclusively revealed that, BDP has reached a point where it has a decision to make in order to save itself from being defeated by the opposition parties in 2019. “We need to review the current electoral system because if we leave as it is, UDC and BCP will move ahead and form a coalition which will remove BDP from power,” contended Ntuane.

Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) have both committed to start cooperation talks in near future in an effort to dethrone BDP from power. Ntuane has observed that, if it was not the current electoral system (First Past the Post) the opposition parties would not have any incentive to cooperate.

The former Gaborone West South (now Gaborone Bonnington South) lawmaker is hoping that once the reforms are adopted by the party, BCP will back down on its plan to cooperate with UDC since there would be no vote splitting between the parties and any coalition will be determined by election results. PR as compared to FPT award seats to political parties based on popular vote rather than seats won.

In last year’s general elections BDP gained 47 percent, UDC 30 percent and BCP 20 percent, while the three parties garnered 37, 17 and 3 seats respectively. 12 of the 37 constituencies won by BDP came as a result of split votes, something which signals that BDP no longer have enough strongholds, therefore making BDP vulnerable to defeat by a combined opposition.  

Ntuane is of the view that in the event that the elections result in a hung parliament, a situation where neither party has won majority, BDP would have an advantage of approaching BCP to form a coalition government.

Ntuane admits that BDP is certainly losing its grip as far as popular vote is concerned. The BDP SG noted that while some are worried that PR system will lend a hand to opposition parties, FPTP is worse since it will predetermine BDP’s fate as a result of opposition cooperation prior to the 2019 general elections.

There are fears that despite delegates at Mmadinare Congress sanctioning the exercise of exploring the feasibility of political and electoral reforms, some within the BDP have grown paranoid about the idea and would do everything to prevent them from seeing the light of the day.

Ntuane, who is prepared to get his way with the reforms, has called on everybody to critically analyze the situation that the party find itself in because clearly the party is in danger. Ntuane is of the view that those who oppose reforms should underscore the fact that the status quo has resulted in 47 percent popular vote, something which he said it’s an indication that the party has to reform.

Reached for comment on Ntuane’s ambitious plan, BCP spokesperson, Dithapelo Keorapetse laughed off the idea, and noted that it is not viable under the current scenario. “We do not share a vision with the BDP and we will never form a coalition government with them,” he said affirmatively.  Keorapetse said the verity that BCP is working with UDC, with the possibility of joining is a precursor that it is the only party they can work with.

Keorapetse also expressed doubts on whether the proposed reforms could be adopted by the BDP owing to the fact that the same party rejected some of the initiatives some years ago. “I do not even think it is possible for BDP to adopt such reforms under President [Ian] Khama,” he said. “The BDP secretary general is a lone boy in these reforms."

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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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