The Coordinator of the Office for People with Disabilities in the Office of the President has hit the ground running.
Thomas Motingwa says for there to be success in his mandate there has to be a mindset change of the public towards people with disabilities.
Motingwa is concerned by negative stereotypes and the stigma associated with disability.
“Physical disability does not mean inability,” he said.
The office was set by government among other things to coordinate, at national level the implementation of all policies, strategies and programmes aimed at promoting the inclusion of People with Disabilities (PWD).
The office strives to remove barriers so that people with disabilities can access all social services like education, health and employment.
Already the office has come up with an inventory of key stakeholders that work closely with and for people with disabilities in Botswana.
Motingwa says people living with disabilities face many challenges, notwithstanding Government’s intention to help.
His mandate he said, is to close the gap.
He gave as an example that some newly constructed buildings are still not accessible to some people with disabilities.
This prevents them from seeking services in such places.
“The government is doing a lot but it is not enough, and people with disabilities have to participate in decision making forums such as councils, Parliament and also in district development plans. It is high time for people with disabilities to do self representation,” said Motingwa.