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Eric Molale bids farewell to politics

In anticipation of next year’s general elections, it has long been widely known that Eric Mothibi Molale, a member of the Cabinet and MP for the Goodhope-Mabule constituency, harbored no intention of seeking re-election. Instead, he intends to redirect his focus toward his other passion—farming. By taking a back seat in politics, Molale is also putting to bed any speculation about a bid for Vice Presidency.

His farewell address to his colleagues last Wednesday proved to be deeply inspiring, prompting him to momentarily halt his speech in order to acknowledge the resounding round of applause. This reception was fitting for a man who has dedicated himself to public service since the early 1980s, beginning as a District Commissioner and culminating as a senior Cabinet Minister.

“In delivering this final State of the Nation Address (SONA) response, I not only reflect on my 23 years of involvement in its formulation, but also on my additional two years as Clerk of the Cabinet and Coordinator of SONA. I stand here with pride, knowing that I have played a role in the advancement of our country,” Molale expressed.

Out of the five Presidents who have led this country, Molale has collaborated closely with four of them. He asserts that this fact underscores the significance of his contributions, particularly considering that each President entrusted him with special assignments.

One such President is Lt Gen Ian Khama, the fourth President, under whom Molale served as the Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) and later as a member of his Cabinet. Molale’s proximity to Khama was evident when he was Specially Elected as a Member of Parliament and subsequently appointed as the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration.

Molale reflects that during his tenure under Khama, he gleaned the crucial lesson that “individuals from disadvantaged communities should be given precedence.”

When WeekendPost sought Khama’s perspective on the professional rapport he shared with Molale, he remarked, “During our collaboration, he demonstrated unwavering dedication as a public servant, displaying a strong commitment to instigating reforms in the public service and enhancing service delivery in his capacity as PSP. As a Minister, he provided invaluable assistance in the implementation of flagship programs, notably displaying fervent support in initiatives such as poverty eradication.”

Molale’s selection as the Senior Executive Management Program (SEMP) nominee was predicated on his unblemished track record in the civil service, as well as his extensive service on numerous parastatal boards, which promised to furnish Khama’s cabinet with invaluable expertise.

Nevertheless, when a vacancy emerged in Goodhope-Mabule subsequent to the abrupt departure of James Mathokgwane from the role of Elected Member of Parliament, Molale stepped forward and immersed himself in a contentious BDP primary election. This endeavor culminated in his assumption of the parliamentary seat through a bye-election. However, he ultimately conceded victory to Kgosi Lotlaamoreng II of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

In a display of unwavering trust and confidence in Molale, Khama reinstated him as the SEMP and Minister. This reinstatement, while not entirely surprising, underscored Khama’s existing faith in Molale, having previously reappointed him to the Cabinet shortly after his resignation from both positions in preparation for the bye-election. During this period, Molale functioned as a Minister outside of Parliament.

“Indeed,” Khama affirmed when questioned whether Molale’s strong work ethic factored into his appointment as a Minister outside of parliament in 2015. Additionally, the former President regarded Molale’s sense of humor as a noteworthy asset.

When posed with the prospect of collaborating with Molale once more, Khama expressed, “That is a challenging question to address, as I have not engaged in professional endeavors with him since 2018, and I cannot ascertain whether he remains unchanged. Masisi has a tendency to evoke unfavorable traits in many individuals,” he concluded.

MORUPUSI ONT THE RETICENT MOLALE

Describing Molale, the articulate public servant originally enlisted by President Festus Mogae as his Private Secretary before ascending to the esteemed position of Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP), Carter Morupisi characterized him as a reserved individual. “He is a reticent person but an exceedingly skilled professional,” Morupisi conveyed during a telephone interview, further remarking, “However, when confronted with pressure, particularly of a political nature, he becomes susceptible. His inclination to remain silent has, at times, enabled politicians to make ill-advised decisions. Despite being underestimated, he possesses astute discernment.”

Emphasizing Molale’s enduring significance, Morupisi asserted that he should not be overlooked, given his influential role in advising numerous Presidents of the republic, owing to his prominence among the upper echelons of civil servants.

Echoing Khama’s sentiments, Morupisi reiterated Molale’s pivotal involvement in formulating a multitude of reforms aimed at enhancing the public service. “Although some may argue that he was stringent with public servants, particularly following the 2011 industrial strike, his actions were guided by a multitude of policies and laws. It was during his tenure that we witnessed the appointment of younger Permanent Secretaries in their forties, as opposed to those in their late fifties. This engendered efficiency and productivity, as he had long been championing the much-touted ‘mindset change’ during his tenure as PSP.”

MOLALE’S RISE IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE

Molale’s trajectory as a public servant is noteworthy, as documented records depict his evolution from being initially heralded as the favored protégé of the system, having ascended from the role of Assistant District Officer (Development) in Tsabong in 1981, to ultimately reaching the pinnacle of the civil service. In 1994, he assumed the role of Private Secretary to the then Vice President Mogae, subsequently advancing to the esteemed position of Senior Private Secretary upon Mogae’s assumption of the Presidency in 1998. Molale’s career experienced a meteoric rise when he assumed the pivotal PSP role subsequent to Mogae’s redeployment of Molosiwa Selepeng to Australia as an Ambassador in 2003. Upon Khama’s assumption of office in 2008, he retained Molale as the PSP, maintaining a firm grip on the public service.

 

Molale emerged as a central figure during the notorious 2011 industrial action, which resulted in the dismissal of numerous public service workers. In November 2014, President Khama nominated him as a specially elected Member of Parliament and subsequently appointed him as a minister in the Office of the President, consolidating his control over the public service within his portfolio.

 

POLITICAL CAREER

In 2015, a political opening presented itself when the Member of Parliament for Goodhope/Mabule, Mathokgwane, submitted his resignation, prompting Molale to enter the fray and vie for the bye-elections. Following his victory in the BDP primaries, he relinquished his positions in both parliament and the cabinet. However, to the astonishment of many, President Khama opted to retain him as a cabinet minister. This development sparked conjecture that Khama was grooming him for a more substantial office, a notion that unsettled certain members of the ruling party’s leadership cadre.

 

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Inequalities Faced by Individuals with Disabilities

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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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Disability characterized by exclusion

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Disability in Botswana, like in many other nations, has been characterized by exclusion, discrimination, and stigmatization. Negative attitudes towards individuals with disabilities (IWDs) have led to barriers in education, employment, and access to facilities and information. The lack of disability-specific legislation in Botswana has further perpetuated the exclusion of IWDs from society.

The National Policy on Care for People with Disabilities (NPCPD) in Botswana, established in 1996, aims to recognize and protect the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities. The policy emphasizes the importance of integration and equal opportunities for IWDs in various sectors such as health, education, employment, and social development. While the policy provides a framework for addressing disability issues, it falls short of enacting disability-specific legislation to protect the rights of IWDs.

In 2010, the Government of Botswana established an office for IWDs within the Office of the President to coordinate disability-related policies and programs. While this office plays a crucial role in mobilizing resources for the implementation of policies, its approach to service delivery is rooted in social welfare, focusing on the care of IWDs as a social burden rather than recognizing their rights.

The lack of disability-specific legislation in Botswana has hindered the recognition of the rights of IWDs and the enactment of laws to protect them from discrimination and exclusion. Without legal protections in place, IWDs continue to face barriers in education, employment, and access to facilities and information, perpetuating their exclusion from society.

In order to address the exclusion of IWDs in Botswana, it is crucial for the government to prioritize the enactment of disability-specific legislation to protect their rights and ensure equal opportunities for all. By recognizing the rights and dignity of individuals with disabilities, Botswana can work towards creating a more inclusive society where IWDs are valued and included in all aspects of life.

 

 

 

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DJ Bafana’s one man show on the cards

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DJ Bafana, a talented DJ from Francistown, is gearing up to host his very own one-man show, a groundbreaking event that aims to not only showcase his skills but also empower fellow musicians. This ambitious project is currently in the planning stages, with DJ Bafana actively seeking out potential sponsors to help bring his vision to life.

In a recent interview with WeekendPost, DJ Bafana revealed that he is in talks with two potential venues, Limpopo Gardens and Molapo Leisure Gardens, to host his show. However, he is facing challenges in securing sponsorships from companies, particularly those who do not fully understand the importance of music-related events. Despite this setback, DJ Bafana remains determined to make his one-man show a reality and to use it as a platform to empower and support other artists in the industry.

What sets DJ Bafana’s show apart is the fact that he will be making history as the first person living with a disability to host a one-man show in Botswana. This milestone is a testament to his resilience and determination to break barriers and pave the way for others in similar situations. By showcasing his talent and passion for music, DJ Bafana is not only proving his worth as an artist but also inspiring others to pursue their dreams, regardless of any obstacles they may face.

As DJ Bafana continues to work towards making his one-man show a reality, he remains focused on his goal of empowering and uplifting his fellow musicians. Through his dedication and perseverance, he is setting an example for others to follow and showing that anything is possible with hard work and determination. The date for the show is yet to be announced, but one thing is for certain – DJ Bafana’s one-man show is sure to be a memorable and inspiring event for all who attend.

 

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