A recent survey by the Afrobarometer has revealed that Batswana disapprove of the nomination of Councilors by the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development.
According to the survey, slightly more than five in ten, (51%) of Batswana, show dissatisfaction with the system of nominated councilors. This week Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Slumber Tsogwane was expected to nominate around 119 councilors nationwide, most of whom are Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) rejects of the just ended general elections.
The data of the survey was released prior to the recent nomination of the councilors. The nominations are expected to be subject of debate in the ongoing 11th Parliament which promises to produce heated debates between the opposition and the ruling party.
Parliament dominated by BDP MP’s has also moved swiftly this week to notice statutory instrument to increase the number of nominated councilors. The move is seen by observers as attempting to neutralise opposition controlled councils nationwide.
Already opposition controls Gaborone City Council, Kgatleng District Council, South East District Council and Jwaneng Town Council.
Francistown South MP Wynter Mmolotsi was yesterday expected to table a motion calling for abolishment of the system of nominated councilors citing reasons that it is abused by the incumbent government – to prop-up their numbers at councils especially those that are controlled by the opposition parties.
Meanwhile the Afrobarometer survey states that, “the main criticism has been its lack of clear criteria and also for bringing back the losers against the wishes of the electorates. Some members of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) have also voiced concerns that the system tends to reward friends of the ministers even those coming outside the constituency, and they see this as abuse of the system and undermining their value in the party.”
“The system has always been a contentious issue with opposition political parties including some senior members of the ruling party,” survey further posits.
BDP rewards loyalists
Already in the list the names of Mephato Reatile who lost Jwaneng-Mabule constituency to Shawn Ntlaile of the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), Sylviah Muzilla who was defeated by Wynter Mmolotsi of UDC at Francistown South and Mpho Moruakgomo who was also defeated in the Mochudi East constituency by UDC’s Isaac Davids among others – have all made their way to council chambers through the minister’s nomination process.
Other BDP members who lost in the BDP primary elections last year such as Greg Losibe who lost to Jonny Sawrtz in Ghanzi North, are also said to be in the list. In addition BDP Publicity Committee Secretary Macdonald Peloetletse, Kagiso Ntime who joined the party after disapproving umbrella model of opposition parties and Andy Boatile who face stiff competition in the coming National Youth Executive Committee have also been nominated for Council.
The survey found out that 53% of urban residents do not agree with the current system of specially nominated councilors whilst 45% say the system should be retained.
It states that there are no major differences between those in rural areas and semi-urban areas. 55% of those in rural areas do not support the system against 40% who agree with it.
It also revealed that “age plays an important role as slightly more than half (53%) of the elderly, those who are 65 and above think the system should be retained against 36% who do not support it.
There are mixed reactions regarding those who are 50 and below. 55% of the youth (18-29) are against the system whilst 40% are for it. Men, the survey says are more assertive about rejection of the system as 55% say so, compared to 50% of women who equally reject special nomination by the Minister.
The Afro barometer survey also highlighted that the system is most disliked by those close to the opposition political parties, as 65% either agree or agree strongly that the system should be abolished whilst 33% support its retention.
“Within those identifying with the ruling party, one in five (50%) believe the system works well whilst 44% say it should be done away with. This is not surprising to find that the system finds favour within the ruling party as it is used to reward its activists.”
Afrobarometer is an African-led, non-partisan research project that has measured countries’ social, political, and economic atmosphere since 1999.
Afrobarometer is funded by the UK Department of International Development (DFID), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and World Bank.
In its sixth survey round (2014-15), it is covering 35 countries. In Botswana, the face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults were done by Star Awards (Pty) Ltd.
In an era where the advocacy for the rights and inclusion of marginal groups, especially individuals beset with profound and multiple impairments, grows more fervent, the Ministry of Education and Skills Development is actively devising schemes to integrate these individuals comprehensively.
Embarking on a pioneering venture, heralded by the Minister Douglas Letsholathebe, the establishment of a novel facility designated for individuals faced with disabilities is on the horizon, set to inaugurate in Maun by mid-2024.
This forthcoming entity, bestowed with the title “Maun Center for Learners with Severe and Multiple Disabilities,” is set to emerge as a sanctuary for those grappling with intense and diverse disabilities in the expanse of the Ngamiland District. Its mission extends beyond serving as a haven; it aims to elevate educational standards and secure outstanding scholastic achievements for this special cohort.
With palpable optimism, Dr. Letsholathebe heralds that this sanctuary, a collective effort of the ministry’s allies, is constructed and awaits its ceremonial launch in the June of 2024, marking a significant epoch in the winter season.
“Construction of the Maun Center for Learners with Severe and Multiple Disabilities has concluded, now in the stewardship of my Ministry. We are poised for its operational unveiling come June 2024,” Dr. Letsholathebe revealed, signaling a new chapter of assurance.
The Government of the Republic of Botswana is steadfast in elevating the status of individuals with disabilities, fostering an environment where their rights are fervently protected and upheld.
Echoing this commitment, the recent adoption of the Persons Living with Disabilities Act marks a historic stride. Its foremost objective is the establishment of the National Disability Coordinating Office alongside the National Disability Council, aligning with the mandates of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This movement is expected to significantly influence the integration of disability-centric issues.
Moreover, this legislative framework is set to fortify ongoing initiatives, increasing the economic participation of disabled individuals, thereby enhancing their living conditions and steering them towards securing a life marked by dignity and fulfillment.
In light of historical evidence, individuals bearing disabilities have consistently encountered significant obstacles in securing employment, often finding themselves at the margins of the workforce. Constraints to equitable employment opportunities compared to their non-disabled counterparts were a common plight.
A substantial portion of employers harbor reservations about integrating people with disabilities into their workplaces, fearing potential complications. Only a select few are open to the idea of employing individuals with disabilities. Consequently, these individuals face heightened unemployment rates and a lack of social support, exacerbating their vulnerability to economic hardship. The International Labour Organisation (ILO), along with the nation of Botswana, champions the cause of workplace inclusion for people with disabilities.
Statistics from Botswana’s multi-topic survey for the fourth quarter of 2021 underscore the situation. The labor force comprising individuals with disabilities saw an uptick to 11,553 from 8,649 in just a year. Among these, 4,313 were males and 7,240 were females. The unemployed tally stood at 2,195, against 9,358 who were employed. A notable majority resided in Urban Villages, with the remainder spread across rural locales and cities.
During this quarter, individuals with disabilities accounted for approximately 1.3 percent (9,358 persons) of the overall 717,418 employed populace, marking a significant increase from the previous year. The distribution of employed persons with disabilities across various areas also saw changes, with urban regions employing a majority, followed by rural areas and cities.
The report further delves into the occupational landscape for people with disabilities, noting a predominant employment in service/sales roles over elementary positions – a contrast to the broader employment data.
Despite a reduction in unemployment figures for individuals with disabilities from the preceding year, the unemployment rate stands at a worrying 19.0 percent, with disparities between genders. Urban areas house the majority of the unemployed, with rural areas and cities following suit.
Unemployment across different age groups reveals a balanced distribution, highlighting a widespread issue across the demographic spectrum. This paints a vivid picture of the ongoing challenges and gradual progress within the sphere of employment for people with disabilities.
Majority of employers are still hesitant to employ people with disabilities because they believe they may bring problems in the workplace. Only a few employers are willing to hire workers with disabilities. This as a result makes people living with disability to be affected by high unemployment and insufficient social protection which then further increases their risk of poverty. The International Labour Organisation (ILO) is advocating for the inclusion of people with disability in the world of work and Botswana as a country too is advocating for their inclusion in the workplaces.
According to statistics Botswana, multi-topic survey quarter 4, 2021 labour force module report, the total labour force for people with disability was estimated at 11,553 persons, an increase of 2,904 persons over a period of twelve months (from 8,649 persons recorded in Q4 2020). From this total, 4,313 persons were males while 7,240 were females. In addition, 2,195 persons were unemployed whereas 9,358 persons were employed. Furthermore, the data showed the majority of labour force with disability were in Urban Villages (6,185), 3,708 were in rural areas and 1,661 in Cities & Towns.
The essence of community and local flair reigns supreme as St Louis Lager takes a bold step with its ambitious “Hype the Homegrown” Initiative, designed to bolster the visibility and support for local artists and home-based brands, weaving them into the fabric of mainstream success through revolutionary partnerships.
The launchpad for this endeavor has been set with a plethora of creative projects. Among them, a musical odyssey titled “The Journey,” featuring the fusion of local House and Pop virtuoso Hanceford Magapatona, widely celebrated as Han C. Enriching the project further are talents like the visionary Producer Flex the Ninja and the RnB Phenom, Priscilla K, whose track “Away” has captured hearts. This six-track EP, ripe with local genius, is up for grabs across all streaming services, inviting listeners to a world of Botswana’s finest.
But “Hype the Homegrown” transcends the bounds of musical exploration, delving into the realms of fashion and lifestyle, stitching a dynamic collaboration with Collections by B.K. Proctor. This venture, rooted in 100% local ownership by the trailblazing Rapper and Entrepreneur Bokang βBKβ Proctor alongside Digital Maverick, Fifi Wale, showcases a vibrant melding of St Louis Lager and Collections by BK Proctor insignias across a series of street-savvy sneakers and tees. These exclusive pieces have hit the shelves at the Collections by BK Proctor boutiques within the bustling hubs of Gaborone Fairgrounds Mall, Grand Palm, and Toro Junction Mall in Francistown.
Unveiled by the marketing maestro of Kgalagadi Breweries Limited, Gaamanngwe Ramokgothwane, this initiative not only shines a spotlight on KBL’s enduring commitment to the arts but also underscores the wealth of creativity brewing within Botswana, deserving of grand stages and accolades. Ramokgothwane passionately advocates for a collective embrace of this homegrown brilliance, positioning “Hype the Homegrown” as not merely a campaign but a clarion call to action for institutions far and wide to champion and elevate local talent.
Echoing this sentiment, KBL’s steward Carlos Bernitt envisions a future where these artisans not only sparkle locally but also etch their mark on the global canvas, all through the unified backing of Batswana. With “Hype the Homegrown,” a legacy of innovation, creativity, and inspiration is in the making.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Seipati Olweny, acknowledged this campaign as a turning point for the creative community. She stressed the indispensable role of local talent in crafting Botswana’s cultural tapestry and stimulating economic diversification, pledging unwavering support from the ministry towards this collective journey of uplifting local flair.