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Corruption claims pulling BDP down – Report

BDP Sercetary General, Mpho Balopi

The ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) continues to lose public support amidst allegations of corruption and poor governance and this is making its supporters sad – a draft report on human development by the University of Botswana and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has revealed.

The Botswana national human development report, which is still under review suggests that the declining popularity of the BDP as proven by last year’s poll results shows that socio-economic concerns such as high unemployment especially among the youth, relatively high income inequality, inability to adequately diversify the economy from the diamond mining which is capital intensive are some of the factors that have possibly dented public confidence in the party that has enjoyed uninterrupted rule for the past forty-nine (49) years.  

According to the experts, many people were possibly turned off by the corruption scandals that incriminated some senior government officials and institutions and hence the drop in the BDP Parliamentary seats in the last national polls.

“The country has a well functioning democracy that has been characterised by relatively free and fair elections that were held every five years. Even though each of the election was won by one party, BDP, these have been characterised as free and fair. The elections have however shown a declining popular vote for the ruling party, the worst being the most recent elections in 2014 where the ruling party won with a popular vote for the first time below fifty percent,” the report reads in part.

The BDP won 37 of the 57 constituencies during the 2014 general elections. The coalition opposition party, Umbrella for Democratic Change whose membership include Botswana National Front, Botswana Movement for Democracy  and Botswana People’s Party, secured 17 seats while Botswana Congress Party gained 3.

The report further suggested that the BDP decline in popularity could have been most likely a response by voters to some of the governance issues such as alleged rising corruption among some of the public institutions.
The report collaborates the recent research by the Afro Barometer which suggests that seventy-percent of the voting population belief that the President and his officials are corrupt.

The decline in popularity, according to the UB and UNDP researchers may also be a response to the dissatisfaction of workers to cost of living as salaries were kept unchanged for some time after the 2008 global financial crisis.

“The country witnessed a major public strike in April 2011, which culminated in the civil service unions publicly declaring their support for the united opposition to seek for alternative government to deal with the socio-economic situation which they characterised as highly unsatisfactory,” the report further pointed out.

However they admitted that Botswana is a longest liberal democracy in Africa with good governance record market based economy with relatively strong checks and balances, notably for ensuring public accountability and rules for both public spending and general economic management.

However they noted that while the country has had “a very strong governance system it has continued to experience weak implementation and monitoring and evaluation.”

The experts therefore called on the government to utilise resources in a smarter way rather than seemingly throwing money to problems with little success in terms of sustainable development.

The launch of the report is expected following the final review of the draft which is to be carried out at the end of this Month, in Gaborone by the UN country team, development partners, government officials, researchers, academics and the media.

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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 soirĂ©e 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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