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Parliament initiates BNYC probe

BNYC EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Benjamin Raletsatsi

This week, Parliament unanimously endorsed Ignatius Moswaane’s motion calling for government to set up a task force to investigate reports of corruption and maladministration at the Botswana National Youth Council (BNYC).


Presenting the motion to parliament, the Member of Parliament for Francistown West had requested that government suspends termination of contracts of some BNYC employees until investigations are completed. Following the ongoing restructuring process, BNYC Executive Director Benjamin Raletsatsi wrote to 33 employees informing them that their contracts will not be renewed.  


The Executive Director had explained to the employees that he had been instructed by the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture to lay off staff, something which Moswaane said defeated the whole purpose of government creating and maintaining jobs.


Moswaane made startling revelations about the troubled organisation regarding corruption and maladministration propagated by the current management. In the wake of the revelations, it has surfaced that BNYC had purchased 17 vehicles without a tender in which P4.5 million was obtained from staff gratuity while the better part of the money came from a loan obtained at Wesbank. It is understood that the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture (MYSC) was to clear the loan. MYSC has since instructed that the 17 cars which were purchased and delivered throughout the districts be parked and not be used.


Moswaane had also pointed out at maladministration regarding appointments alleging favouritism. “The Finance Manager was appointed without having gone for an interview and was employed on a 5 year contract without probation, compared to other employees’ 3 year contracts,” he said.


It is has also been established that BNYC at one point purchased 10 suits at the total cost of P57 000 for personal use by staff, with half of the amount being paid before delivery. The remaining amount was later paid and the process of procurement was signed by directors and board members within BNYC.


This publication has also learnt that a Toyota double cab vehicle was contracted by BNYC for the Executive Director but upon termination of the contract in which a colossal amount was paid, Raletsatsi was still using the car, raising suspicion that he could have rented a vehicle belonging to him or a friend to the organization. More information reveals that even after termination of the contract Raletsatsi continues to use the car, fuelling it at the expense of BNYC through the fuel voucher kept by the Executive Director.


More money from BNYC has been siphoned through the pretext of contracting consultancy companies, HR issues and restructuring in which over P400 000 was spent without any call for companies to bid for the tender. It has also emerged that some employees were brought in under the pretext of providing consultancy but later were employed by the BNYC.


A company called Profit Masters (Pty) Ltd continues to be a major beneficiary from BNYC under the pretext that it is providing consultancy including for the BNYC-BTC project. Allegations are that the company has since pocketed over a million pula.     


The Executive Director’s businesses have also been implicated in misuse of the organisation’s money. Evidence linking the above inference is verified by an event in which an invoice was sent to BNYC for payment of providing training, upon making a follow-up on the payment enquired, the person who answered the phone was an employee at a Samsung Shop at Rail Park Mall, owned by BNYC Executive Director.


While employees’ contracts were not renewed, some who are said to be the Executive Director’s allies have been given six months extensions. It has also come to this publications’ attention that management positions are dominated by new employees, including those who initially joined the organisation as interns.


This publication is also aware that the Chairperson of the BNYC, Louis Benedice Sibanda will be subject to investigation as a result of his involvement in administration duties which are supposed to be handled by the secretariat. The decision by Sibanda and his team to be hands on, believed to be the basis of maladministration has thrown the organization into turmoil. 

         
Moswaane’s motion could not be debated for two weeks and caused chaos in parliament following the Speaker of National Assembly Gladys Kokorwe and her deputy, Kagiso Molathegi’s decision not to allow it to be debated. In protest, MPs walked out of parliament on two occasions when the motion was deferred causing the quorum to collapse and ultimately, the end of parliament business.


The opposition parties had however voiced their concern with regard to government being mandated with the task of carrying out the investigations. Opposition instead had preferred the establishment of a Special Select Committee to deal with the investigations, an amendment which was moved by MP for Gaborone Bonnington South, Ndaba Gaolathe.

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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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