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Law Society advises Government to ditch “racist and white supremacist” AfriForum

The Law Society of Botswana has advised Government of Botswana to reconsider its decision to engage a “racist and white supremacist” AfriForum to assist in processing mutual legal assistance request made to the South African government.

“Apartheid received universal condemnation as a crime against humanity. It represented the ultimate expression of racial inequality; oppression of the black majority by a white minority; and symbolized contempt and disrespect of black people.

The legacy of apartheid lives on despite the liberation of South Africa and the numerous interventions taken to redress the inequalities of the past. At a time when there is a global wave to uproot racial inequality the world over, sparked by the recent killing of George Floyd, the Law Society of Botswana is alarmed that the Government of Botswana has elected to engage the services of Afriforum, an organization in South Africa whose principal preoccupation is to fight for the preservation of the legacy of apartheid and set itself up as opposing force to reforms that seek to redress racial inequalities of the past.

The purpose of the engagement, as we understand it, is to assist in processing mutual legal assistance requests made to the South African Government.

The Government’s decision is incomprehensible and perplexing given that there is extensive choice of legal representation in South Africa, in view of its much larger population and more developed legal services industry.

The Government of Botswana has in fact in the past engaged some of the most revered legal practitioners in South Africa, and whose values and commitment to transformation and redressing racial inequalities of the past are well documented, such as Wim Trengrove SC; Anton Myburgh SC; Tembeka Ngcukaitobi SC, just to name a few.

The Government’s choice of representation is inconsistent with the recent display of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement shown by cabinet when it observed a moment of silence for George Floyd. The Law Society of Botswana affirms its support for racial equality everywhere in the world. Black lives matter not just in the United States of America, but everywhere around the world including South Africa.

If we recognise that black lives truly matter, we cannot as a country fund organisations that unapologetically and unflinchingly oppose the upliftment of black people previously disadvantaged by apartheid.

In electing to make use of the services of an organization that is opposed to racial equality and advocates for the perpetuation of the legacy of apartheid, the Government of Botswana has validated the stereotypes of rightwing organisations like Afriforum that enlightened Africans readily accept their inferiority and yearn for a return to oppressive white minority rule.

In choosing Afriforum, ahead of many other Afrikaner legal practitioners, whose commitment to the values of racial equality are indisputable, the Government is conveying to its citizens that it is ready to harbour and provide a paradise for racists and supremacists.

The Government’s ill-advised choice validates the small pockets of racists that we have in our country, particularly within the tourism sector, who have little regard for black people.

Whilst we concede that Government does not break any laws in engaging white supremacist organisations, we expect Government to be exemplary and promote basic moral standards by refraining from funding organisations that advocate for racial inequality, segregation and continuity oppression of black people.

Government’s decisions should at all times reflect good morality, integrity and judgment. Legality cannot be the only measure of whether Government decisions are sound.

We therefore call upon Government to urgently reconsider its engagement of Afriforum and reaffirm its commitment to ensuring racial equality and harmony in Botswana.”

Issued by Council of the Law Society of Botswana

Dated 26th June 2020

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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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