Last month President Mokgweetsi Masisi relieved the Deputy Secretary, Justice at the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security Nchunga Nchunga of his duties with immediate effect. Having spent the whole day at work on the 11th September 2020, at night his driver dropped him a bombshell that left him shocked for life.
The former government top lawyer who served as Deputy Attorney General before joining Ministry of Defence, was only six months into his renewed 5 year contract upon his sacking. In May this year during the first lockdown, Nchunga served a four day informal suspension after he issued former President Lt Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama with a special COVID- 19 movement permit for exceptional persons during lockdown to go and donate food hampers and other equipment to use during lockdown, a move that did not sit well with seniors at the ministry.
According to Nchunga, he was at the time tasked with issuing special permits for lawyers and some of the people that he helped was former President Khama’s lawyers. “They requested that the former President and three of his staff be issued with permits because they are going to donate food hampers which was in line with COVID- 19. I did not see any wrongdoing in issuing those permits, in fact it would have been disrespectful for me to refuse,” said Nchunga.
Upon reporting the matter, it appeared it rubbed some people the wrong way. His immediate supervisor summoned him and the permits were revoked immediately. Four days later Nchunga was summoned to Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS) offices where he was interrogated for more than three hours.
According to Nchunga the line of questioning was divided into five categories, top of the agenda was why he issued Khama with a permit because he (Khama) is not an attorney and that as the former President he should know better that he is being assisted through the Office of the President (OP). Nchunga replied by saying it was Khama’s lawyers who asked on his behalf so he did not see any wrongdoing as he was assisting lawyers.
“They also questioned why the permit was issued at night but as far as I can recall I assisted them around six in the evening because I left office around half past six in the evening.’’ The next morning when he briefed his seniors, Nchunga was attacked for helping former President Khama and was immediately withdrawn from a team that was issuing permits. The DIS also questioned Nchunga about his relationship with former President Khama. A relationship which he denied.
Nchunga told them that the only relationship he had with Khama is that of a former head of State and nothing more than that, the same sentiments which were also shared by Khama himself. They also interrogated him on why he was suspended from issuing permits if he insists he did nothing wrong. In May this year WeekendPost ran a story on Nchunga’s suspension but at the time Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security, Matshediso Bokole denied allegations of Nchunga’s suspension.
Bokole said the Deputy Secretary of Justice had been home because of an ‘extreme social distancing’ policy. “As a Ministry, we have a Duty Rotary, and we alternate duties. He (Nchunga) is yet to resume duty tomorrow, but I am expecting everyone, including him today (Thursday) because we have a meeting,” she said. According to Bokole their Ministry was responsible for issuing permits that deals with private security services and law practitioners.
The former Deputy Attorney General was controversially transferred to Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security with immediate effect last year (2019) June after he disagreed with government over the arrest of former DIS chief Col Isaac Kgosi. Pundits and social commentators also point a finger at Nchunga’s controversial 11th Studio album which was released a few weeks ago. The 14 track album is a mix of different genres with five controversial songs which sing praise to every leader in the country current and in the past.
In one of the songs Nchunga talks about Leader of the Opposition Dumelang Saleshando and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) President Biggie Butale. Taking into consideration that he works for government, his detractors say it was always a suicidal move for Nchunga to praise opposition.
In his words Nchunga submits that music is universal and has no boundaries. “I was simply celebrating other leaders across the political spectrum. Right now there are two leaders, one in government and one in opposition. Obviously I voted one, just that one is an opponent nothing qualifies us from celebrating them. There is absolutely nothing controversial,” said Nchunga.
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.
This enchanting space will also serve as the battleground for the preliminaries of traditional dance ensemblesâ€”spanning the rhythmically rich Setapa to the euphoric beats of Sebirwa, the spirited Seperu, the heavenly Hosana, and moreâ€”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.
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.
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.