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BDF Welfare Fund reformed

The Botswana Defence Force (BDF) has closed its 15 year old Welfare Fund to comply with the new standards set by the Financial Intelligence and Regulatory Authority (FIA) and the Non-Bank Financial Institutions (NBFIRA).

The BDF has now transitioned its operations to a Dikwata SACCOS, which is licensed by the FIA. The main objective of the Trust Fund was to provide its members with financial assistance and to improve the welfare of its members. It was also established to allow its members to save money. The organization also wanted to utilize the funds to improve the welfare of its members.

In 2018, Parliament enacted the Trust Property Control Act, which made it mandatory for all existing trusts to re-register with the High Court. The BDF Welfare Trust Fund was one of the first organizations to submit its application for re-registration. Following the assessment of its application, the High Court agreed that the Trust Fund should be transitioned to comply with the Act.

According to Colonel Ramhitshana, in line with the Notarial Deed of Trust, the Trust Fund is set up for the benefit of the beneficiaries and imposes obligations on the beneficiaries to contribute to the Trust. According to the Act, beneficiaries are not obliged to contribute to the Trust.

This now suggested a major shift from the fundamental objectives of the collective and any deviation would have meant that the Trust Fund should immediately be dissolved. In his reading of the Notarial Deed the Master was of the opinion that the Trustees are obliged to provide a Bond of Security, says Ramhitshana.

The Master’s interpretation of the Notarial Deed meant that the members would have to provide a bond of security in order to retain their elected trustees. This would have meant that no one would be willing to take on the role of trustees without having to put up a bond.

Because of the aforementioned, the Trust Fund could not continue to exist under that model. Without the much needed contributions, the Trust Fund would cease to operate. It therefore called for the Board of Trustees to embark on a countrywide consultation with members to share with them the challenges faced and seek advice on the way forward.

During these engagements, it was clear that members strongly believed in the continuation of the spirit of togetherness that has been exhibited by the collective that has served them so well over the years. During these interactions, members were very amenable to the idea of forming a Co-Operative Society in order to be compliant with the law.

On this note, the process to register Dikwata SACCOS was conceived as it was deemed to be the right type of model that would continue representing the interests of members. Following the formation of Dikwata SACCOS, it is expected that the members’ assets will be transferred to the Co-Operative Society, in order to continue representing the interests of its members.

These include the members’ savings, loans, and collective education. Colonel Ramhitshana also noted that the members would continue to be engaged with the Co-Operative Society to learn more about its operations. The Trust Fund has already outsourced its administrative services to a company known as Minet Botswana, which is a professional fund administrator.

The Trust Fund is also regularly audited by Grant Thornton, as required by its Notarial Deed. The annual general meetings of the members are also held as per the Notarial Deed. The BDF Welfare Trust Fund was registered in the Deeds Office of Botswana in 2007 by members of the Botswana Defence Force.

The founding members consisted of members in Active Service, Non-Uniformed members and Retired personnel in their personal/private capacity. Since its inception, the Trust Fund has been operating under a Board of Trustees elected by its members in accordance with the Notarial Deed of Trust, which has been the governing document for the Trust Fund. The Trust Fund was registered with the Non-Bank Financial Regulatory authority.

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BODANSA strikes gold with a handsome P45K windfall from Turnstar Holdings

27th February 2024

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.

“We are thrilled to announce that this backing will enable us to orchestrate a cultural soirée at the Game City Marque locale, a night brimming with cultural fervor set for March 1, 2024, from 6pm to the stroke of midnight.

This enchanting space will also serve as the battleground for the preliminaries of traditional dance ensembles—spanning the rhythmically rich Setapa to the euphoric beats of Sebirwa, the spirited Seperu, the heavenly Hosana, and more—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.

 

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Government of Botswana yet to sign, ratify the UN-CRPD

26th February 2024

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.

 

 

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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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