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LSB petitions JSC over Delimitation Commission

The Law Society of Botswana has petitioned the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) over the contemptuous manner in which they dealt with them in the appointment of the members of the Delimitation Commission giving them less than 24 hours to have their contribution to the appointments.

On May 12th 2022, the Secretary to the Judicial Service Commission submitted a list of proposed names to serve in the Delimitation Commission to the Law Society. By the following morning, and to the LSBs shock, the JSC had published the names of members of the Commission, as duly appointed, before the LSB could even respond to the Secretarys correspondence.

This conduct has not gone down well with LSB who are now demanding answers from the JSC to justify their source of pressure to engage them in the manner they did. The LSB further wants answers as to the origins of the name following leaks that the names were never deliberated on by the JSC.

On the 13th May, the JSC Secretary said in exercise of the powers vested in it by Section 64(1) of the Constitution, and following receipt of the comprehensive National Population Census Report carried out in 2022, the JSC appointed a Delimitation Commission comprising of the following membership:Judge Mr. Mokwadi Chris Gabanagae who is the chairman, and members-Elizabeth Malebogo Masire, Maotoanong Lepedung Sebina , Thebeyame Edward Tsimako and Jost Sinvula Isaac.

In an interview, the LSB Acting Secretary Lillian Muzimo said they were not yet in a position to share the details of their concerns with the public as they are still engaging the JSC on the matter. The JSC as well ignored this publications questions sent to them two weeks ago.

They were asked to shed light on the date upon which the JSCs correspondence to the Law Society of Botswana (LSB) regarding the Delimitation Commission was sent, the date upon which the LSB was expected to respond and the date upon which the which the Delimitation Commission was appointed and published. They were further asked to shed light on why they considered the LSBs input in the entire process of appointments important and why they did not care to wait for it.

The process of demarcation and delimitation of constituencies occupies the core of this electoral system which uses a constituency based system and due to the sanctity and sensitivity of their functions, those who are charged with the responsibility of this onerous task have to be people whose credentials are beyond reproach.

It is not known on whether the BDP has any particular interest in increasing the number of constituencies. Recently The President made a rare appearance in Parliament to push a motion by Gaborone North legislator Mpho Balopi calling for an amendment to the constitution that would make room for four more constituencies.

Balopi tabled an urgent motion calling for the House to resolve as a matter of urgency to allow for the amendment of Section 58 (2) (a) of the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana to increase the number of Elected Members of the National Assembly from 57 to 61.

According to Masisi, it is important to give the Commission the numbers to guide them. He said the motion was brought on a certificate of urgency because it would cost the tax payer if Parliament were to reconvene during vacation period.

According to the law, whenever a Delimitation Commission has been appointed, the Commission shall, as soon as practicable, submit to the President a report which shall state whether any alteration is necessary to the boundaries of the constituencies in order to give effect to Subsection (2) of the section of the law or in consequence of any alteration in the number of seats of Elected Members in the National Assembly and where any alteration is necessary shall include a list of the constituencies delimited by the Commission and a description of the boundaries of those constituencies.

The President shall as soon as practicable after the submission of the report of the Delimitation Commission, by Proclamation published in the Gazette, declare the boundaries of the constituencies as delimited by the Commission.

The law further says that boundaries of each constituency shall be such that the number of inhabitants thereof is as nearly equal to the population quota as is reasonably practicable provided that the number of inhabitants of a constituency may be greater or less than the population quota in order to take account of natural community of interest, means of communication, geographical features, density of population, and the boundaries of Tribal Territories and administrative districts.

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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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