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BDP independents join UDC

Scores of members of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) who contested the 2014 general elections as independent candidates have resolved to join the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) under its various political formations.

This publication learns that at a meeting held in Lerala in the Tswapong area on Wednesday; those who attended indicated that it was important to also wait for the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) to make a final resolution because they could only join through the BCP.

They opined that the areas they represent are well covered by the BCP. The disgruntled members are not happy with a BDP requirement that they should re-apply if they want to re-join the party.

Weekend Post has established that a contingent of 136 people attended the meeting and 80 percent of them were candidates in the October 2014 general election. President Lt Gen Khama, who is also the leader of the BDP, had indicated prior to the general elections that anyone who will run as an independent candidate will have to re-apply if they want to be welcomed back to the party.

 The Lerala-Maunatlala constituency was well represented at the meeting. The constituency had the largest representation of independents candidates, including a Member of Parliament and about six councillors.

Sethabelo Modukanele contested the BDP primary elections against Prince Maele and lost in a fashion he deemed controversial and unlawful hence he decided to run as an independent. He was voted by about 4600 people compared to Maele 6200.

It is expected that he will join the UDC under the Botswana National Front (BNF) ticket. Some councillors who ran as independents are expected to join either the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and the BCP depending on the strength of support for each party in their constituency.

“Yes we have decided to give up on the BDP. I have lost faith in the BDP. It is true that there was a meeting but I did not attend,” said independent councillor of Lecheng, Charles Mabjeng. The independents especially those from the Tswapong constituencies are confident that they can wrestle them from the BDP.

“It is a good thing that the BCP is already strong in Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang’s constituency, we just have to add our numbers and the BCP under the UDC will easily win that constituency,” said one of the defecting council candidates who preferred anonymity because he was yet to inform his stakeholders about his decision.

The 2014 independent candidates are convinced that the BDP is beatable in 2019 and the BCP should act fast so that issues of constituency and ward allocations are addressed well in time. Most of them are banking on incumbency hoping that the parties they choose to affiliate under will allow them to contest.

The BDP has a special congress slated for October this year. It is likely that the matter will be discussed then. The independents had hoped that the BDP Mmadinare congress will make a resolution that favours them but nothing happened.

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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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