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Thamane cautions against creation of ‘monster institutions’

Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA)’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Thabo Thamane has endorsed the idea of reviewing and merging some parastatals as proposed by Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Thapelo Matsheka, after Monday’s Budget Speech.

Thamane however cautioned that in merging the parastatals, government should avoid at all cost the possibility of creating ‘monster institutions’, with bureaucratic processes that would result in inefficient institutions. “It is very clear that there are too many parastatals for a population of 2.5 million people. There is no one who can say we still need all of them to exist. We need to look at those with duplicating or conflicting mandates, and see how we avoid these overlaps,” Thamane told WeekendPost when responding to the Budget Speech on Monday.

“The essence is not to merge them. The essence is to say, how, do I create efficiencies. At the end of the day, we must also be cognisant that we do not create a monster with bureaucratic processes that will create inefficiencies.” “We need to make sure that national interest go above personal interest or institutional interest. There will always be need for CEDA and there will always be need for funding, not only funding but development funding. Whether you call it CEDA or something else, there is always going to be need for development financing. You cannot run an economy without development finance.”

Thamane who has been CEDA’s CEO since 2011, said he is not worried much about whether CEDA will merge with any other entity or not, because his concern lies with creating efficiencies in parastatals. “Whether I am still there as a CEO or not it does not matter. The fact of the matter is that I do support the review of the mandates of parastatals. I do support it with the hope that it will improve delivery. But I guarantee you that there will always be need for development finance,” Thamane argued.   

The merging of parastatals first came to the fore in 2018, when then Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Bogolo Kenewendo indicated that her ministry will consider merging of the public enterprises under the ministry because of the perceived duplicates of mandates as well as overlaps. Thamane was also impressed with the budget which was incidentally presented by his predecessor and mentor at CEDA. Dr Matsheka is the founding CEO of CEDA, while Thamane is his immediate and only successor at the institution.

“I was kind of expecting him to come up with a very precise budget and it was done with immaculate attention to detail,” Thamane said. “I think three key areas are the highlights for me; manufacturing, tourism and agriculture. These are key to us, and that is what the Minister said. I love the manufacturing aspect because we are a net importer of almost everything.

“What it means for me and my team is that, when we take money and put it in manufacturing, let us be patient with them [those funded] because it takes longer for product quality and for people to trust the product and others. Let us give them time to grow and this is what we are going to focus on.” Thamane said on Monday, CEDA management will meet at Big Valley Lodge on the outskirts of Lobatse, to study the budget and see where their institution fits in.

Thamane has presided over the institution’s ambition to transform CEDA into a self-sustaining agency. Thamane expects CEDA to be fully self-sustaining within the next 6 years, following a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) entered into with Malaysian based SME Bank, a state owned financial development institution. For the first time since formation, CEDA collected P515 million against the target of P440 million in 2019. CEDA receives about P250 million as subvention from Government, but today it raises about P600 million internally.

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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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