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Mogae speaks on JSC integrity

Former president Festus Mogae says he respected Judicial Service Commission

Weeks after the President, Lt Gen Ian Khama threw the legal fraternity into disarray by refusing to act on the recommendation of the Judical Service Commision (JSC) to appoint Attorney Omphemetse Motumise to the position of judge, his predecessor, Festus Mogae has painted the JSC as a reliable body with high integrity. Mogae says he always respected and endorsed their advice on judges appointment.

Responding to Weekendpost,  following the tussle between President Lt Gen Ian Khama and the Law Society of Botswana (LSB) over Khama’s refusal to act on the recommendations of the JSC to appoint Motumise to the vacant position of judge, Mogae said, “I have always respected the recommendations of the Judicial Service Commission.To me they were a reliable body with high integrity.”

The former president, has been largely blamed by former National Speaker and ruling party veteran, Margaret Nasha for the ascendency of Khama into the presidency in her rubble rouser Book, ‘Madam Speaker, Sir!’

Mogae would obviously not want to comment on the current debacle as he has said it several times that he doesn’t want to appear to be ruling from the grave.

In spite of these remarks, it is important and somehow coincidental to undeline the fact that Mogae had a fair share of his squables with the legal fraternity and faced critical antagonism and hostility from the ‘focal man’ himself- Motumise in his days as the LSB Chairperson.

In his ‘Diamond ,Dispossession  and Democracy In Botswana’,the deported political sciece academic Professor Kenneth Good,a known fierce critic of Mogae paints a picture that suggests that Mogae was not different either as the judiciary was no different under him.

Good said under Mogae there were fears that the essential boudaries between the executive and the judiciary were being eroded.Motumise noted too growing disquite in the legal circles that certain key positions were being reserved for prefered people.

“He contended in early 2005 that the process of appointing the Judicial Service Commission members was shrouded in secrecy,” said Good who continued that Motumise had said that the legal profession never knew when there was a vacancy on the bench,what steps were being taken to fill the vacancy  and what the desired qualifications were.

The widely celebrated author and academic emphasised that it was also worth noting that the late Chief Justice, Julius Nganunu  was a known close friend of and a business partner of Mogae.He further blamed Mogae for the Attorney General and Department of Public Prosecution power struggles confusion.

As if that was not enough,Good said Mogae appointed Sydney Pilane his legal advisor without folowing ‘normal prcedure and without clarifying future relations with the then Attorney General,Phandu Skelemani.

Skelemani,Good states,said he did not know Pilane’s job description and was not aware that he had to work closely with him.

Mogae later deported Good accusing him of corrupting the minds of the nationals and colluding with Survival International to turnish the image of the country and its diamonds which are the cornerstone of the country’s economy.

Meanwhile the LSB’s 30 days statutory notice to sue on Khama’s refusal to act on JSC recommendations elapses today (Saturday).

LSB Executive Secretary Tebogo P. Moipolai told Weekendpost this week said that they are preparing court papers and will file as per to the notice.

“In its last brief on 25th March LSB reported a request had been made to the Attorney General to waive the 30-day Statutory Notice required in terms of the State Proceedings Act. The request was declined and LSB has had to wait for the notice to expire. The notice period expires on the 25th April and thereafter court papers that are currently being prepared will be filed at court,” Moipolai said in a response to this publication.

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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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