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Khama suspends four High court Judges


Four Judges of the Lobatse High Court have been suspended from the bench pending determination for misconduct by a tribunal which has been set up by the Republic’s President, Ian Khama Seretse Khama following allegations that the four judges undermined the Chief Justice, Maruping Dibotelo.


President Khama yesterday suspended Justice Key Dingake, Justice Modiri Letsididi, Justice Mercy Garekwe and Justice Ranier Busang for undermining the Chief Justice and bringing the judiciary into disrepute.


Khama suspended the quartet for challenging Justice Dibotelo's move to report them to the Police for receiving housing allowances while staying in official residences.


The four judges have since attacked the Chief Justice, saying his actions are highly questionable and amount to harassment and witch-hunting. They have threatened to take legal action against him for defamation.


The latest development come just a few days after the chief Justice Dibotelo reported the four judges to the police for receiving money which was wrongfully paid to them.

The judges are said to have received a combined total of around P800 000 which was paid to them even though they were accommodated in official residences. Judges are provided with free furnished residential accommodation allowance of about P6, 545.45 per month where there is no official residence provided. The allowance is paid only to those without such priviledges.
 
However the four who are said to have admitted to have received the monies have explained that they were not aware that the allowance were paid to them and had promised to pay it back.

Nonetheless, after Dibotelo reported them to the Police, they threatened to impeach him, an action which was viewed as undermining the chief justice. The four, together with eight other judges are said to have penned a strong worded letter to the chief justice and informed him of their intention to sue him.


This was not withstanding the fact that the Judicial Service Commission as a whole had owned up to Dibotelo’s actions. The JSC Secretary, Motlhabi had explained that, “the decision to refer the issue of wrongful payment and receipt of housing allowance for an independent investigation, was that of the Judicial Service Commission as a whole, taken unanimously in good faith after a lengthy and searching debate.  It was not, as suggested, a decision taken by the Chief Justice alone.”


Motlhabi had also noted that, “the JSC is charged with protecting the integrity of the Judiciary and of the Administration of Justice.  In terms of the internal Audit Report the alleged payments concerned total in excess of P800, 000, and this was considered to be a matter that could not be adequately resolved internally.”


It is an open secret that President Khama would disqualify a Judge on the basis of integrity and public perceptions. In court papers filed on a different matter before the Gaborone High Court, Khama has indicated that, “First in appointing judges, I take into account a broad range of material considerations, including matters of national security, the socio-political situation in Botswana, public perception of the relevant candidate and the judiciary and questions of policy. All of these involve information to which the JSC does not necessarily have access and which the JSC would, in the normal function of its functions, not be properly equipped or mandated to evaluate.”

The country’s judges are appointed by the President at the recommendations of the Judicial Service Commission. It is the President who also has the power to dismiss judges from office.

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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 soirée 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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