Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) is yet to evaluate the contentious 2019 general elections. The UDC National Executive Committee (NEC) during its last week meeting in Palapye resolved that Dr Patrick Molutsi be tasked with developing the Terms of Reference for the exercise and together with the assembled team work on the framework and methodology.
This was a matter arising item from the minutes of July 10, 2021 meeting. During last year NEC meeting it was agreed that the team be assembled by June 5, 2022 and the meeting further resolved that the evaluation exercise be completed by mid-August 2022.
“The Vice President of the UDC reported that there has not been much progress made since only the BNF [Botswana National Front] and BCP [Botswana Congress Party] had submitted names for the Task Team.
He also observed that the issue had been overtaken by time even though the evaluation of elections is important in informing the coalition about its strengths and weaknesses during the 2019 general elections and it would also help the collation prepare better for the next elections,” the UDC NEC minutes for May 21, 2022 meeting read.
The other coalition member the Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) failed to submit names Molutsi’s Task Team. After the UDC lost the October 23, 2019 general elections some 15 parliamentary candidates led by UDC leader Duma Boko approached the High Court alleging the elections were rigged.
But the Court of Appeal in January 2020 dismissed the UDC bid to challenge election results that enabled President Mokgweetsi Masisi to secure a five-year term. Masisi’s Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) won the majority during the general elections, securing 38 out of 57 seats in Parliament.
The UDC managed only 15 seats and filed a lawsuit shortly after the announcement, citing alleged rigging. The UDC together with Alliance for Progressives (AP) and Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) also announced plans to hold People’s Court in 2021 but date nothing has materialized. Witnesses were to take a stand and present documentary evidence to prove alleged vote rigging by the BDP during the 2019 general elections.
Nothing is being said about the People’s Court after it was postponed several times. It is also worth noting that some of the petitioners ended up losing their property for failure to raise capital to pay costs. Their property were sold by deputy sheriffs to the highest bidder.
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.