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Boko speaks on BMD court case, Pilane, AP

Despite the anticipated outcome of the ongoing court case between the opposition Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD), the UDC has maintained this week that they will be contesting the impending 2019 General Elections -without the besieged BMD in its fold.

Subsequent to the expulsion of the BMD putting it in the cold, UDC remains with the affiliates Botswana National Front (BNF), Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) and the Botswana Congress Party (BCP). “What should be clear at this point is that we are not going to 2019 General Elections with the BMD. Especially with the beleaguered leader Pilane,” Advocate Duma Gideon Boko told Weekend Post in an interview this week. According to UDC President the BMD in the matter essentially plead with court to mediate and rule to bring the embattled party back into the UDC.   

“I know that some people are confused about the court matter. Let me set the record straight. The case is simply saying nothing other than that the party (BMD) appeals to court to intervene in the UDC decision to expel them and want to be brought back to the UDC fold,” Boko stated. However come rain or sunshine Boko stressed to this publication that they are not admitting them back and that there is no how the BMD can use the UDC symbol – in case they dare do so – in the next elections.  

It’s a non-starter and/or impossible, Boko said while stressing that the court case does not in any way link or relate to the UDC symbol and therefore that it (UDC symbol) will not be touched. The Gaborone Bonnington North law maker also explained that the case is like a woman going to court to divorce her husband because she no longer loves him as he has turned into a rebel and then the husband rejects or contends the divorce citing he still loves the wife and want to be with her.

In such a case like that of divorce Advocate Boko said even if the court can mediate for argument sake and say the couple should go back home and continue their loving affair and staying together they might end up killing each other as there is no longer love between the duo like it is a case with UDC and BMD’s Pilane.

“So this is the case with BMD and the UDC. BMD’s Pilane, we don’t hate him but we cannot work with him at all. We are clear on this. We don’t need rebels in the UDC. We are heading into the 2019 General Elections and we don’t want characters such as that of Pilane. They don’t have an ear for leadership,” he said. The UDC leader added that if the court can rule that the UDC re-admit the BMD but the UDC still does not want the BMD, there is no how the court can force or impose the BMD on UDC.

“The court can’t force us to work with BMD when we don’t want,” the Havard School of Law graduate maintained adding that “if the court rules that we cajole the BMD back, we will respect the court decision and do that but we will then later call a special congress to re-call the BMD again because we do not want it at all in its form and shape.”  According to the BNF President, the problem with BMD is that it has spoiled, tainted and soiled the opposition politics with its ego and stubbornness.

Boko said part of Pilane’s misdeed was simply going against the laid processes and procedures of the UDC. “He was also going against the leadership consensus of the UDC and that is not allowed. There can never be too many spokespersons of the party. So if you always breaching all these we release you from the party,” he justified. Among others, Boko also accused Pilane of stating on separate media platforms that another UDC affiliate BCP is not part of the UDC although having been admitted subsequent to 2014 General Elections.

The decision was taken by the UDC leadership which Pilane was also part of although he went against it, Boko pointed out while adding that “so what is that? We need people who are tolerant people in leadership.” Boko, who is an Advocate continued to point out that the BMD’s contention that they were expelled un-procedurally and want to be brought back will however not see the light of the day as UDC are decided on them.

“We do not want the BMD/Pilane and we do not seek to work or associate with it anyhow. Not because of what others have said about him (Pilane) but of what we have witnessed and experienced of him. We spoke with him about it, we spoke with his organisation of his behaviour which became their behaviour as well, as they could not distance themselves from it.” Boko, the Leader of Opposition in Parliament justified that people don’t want the BMD under the leadership of Pilane and they have made that clear and that has to be respected and Batswana understands this thing.  

On that the UDC has always been warned of Pilane by Alliance of Progressives (AP) he said “we didn’t want to pre-judge. We brought him to the UDC so that if he is human enough he should build himself and become trusted again. We gave him the platform to show case particularly as he was labelled buttered beyond redemption – but he failed.”

He said the UDC couldn’t take action on him back then or bar him into entering the UDC as they wanted to see if he cannot change into a man of repute. He observed that, because he is stubborn he continued to do so and that the people labelled him as he failed to redeem himself and that’s why he do not want him as well. Boko: AP’s pre-conditions outrageous: no talks with AP now

On the AP, Boko stated that there are currently no talks because the AP is demanding too much on their pre-conditions. “Well with AP, there are no talks. At least at this point. At things stand now we are going alone without AP in the next elections,” the UDC leader highlighted.  
Boko highlighted that they wrote to the AP suggesting that they should come to talk and they replied them with some demands and preconditions that they want before the two parties could start the negotiations.

“They have put pre-conditions to us saying we should finish with the case currently before court. We have not finished the case. We have no control whatsoever over the timeline of the court case. So if you put that as a precondition then it becomes impossible as that precondition cannot be met, we haven’t met it and we don’t know when we may. But in the meantime the clock is ticking and it this just becomes difficult,” the UDC leader said.  

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Seretse, Kgosi may walk free

30th October 2020
BAKANG SERETSE

The P250 million National Petroleum Fund (NPF) saga that has been before court since 2017 seems to be losing its momentum with a high possibility of it being thrown out as defence lawyers unmask incompetency on the part of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP).

The Gaborone High Court this week ruled that the decision by the State to prosecute Justice Zein Kebonang and his twin brother, Sadique Kebonang has been reviewed and set aside. The two brothers have now been cleared of the charges that where laid against them three years ago.

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Understanding the US Electoral College and key election issues 

28th October 2020
Mark J Rozell

The United States (US) will on the 3rd of November 2020 chose between incumbent Donald Trump of the Republicans and former Vice President Joe Biden of the Democrats amid the coronavirus pandemics, which has affected how voting is conducted in the world’s biggest economy.

Trump (74) seeks re-election after trouncing Hillary Clinton in 2016, while Biden (77) is going for his first shot as Democratic nominee after previous unsuccessful spells.

US Presidents mostly succeed in their re-election bid, but there have been nine individuals who failed to garner a second term mandate, the latest being George W H. Bush, a Republican who served as the 41st US President between 1989 and 1993.

Dr Mark Rozell, a Dean of  the School of Policy and Government at George Mason University  in  Arlington, Virginia describes the complex US electoral system that will deliver the winner at the 3rd November elections.

“The founders of our Republic de-centralised  authority  significantly  in  creating  our  constitutional  system,  which  means that  they  gave  an  enormous  amount  of  independent  power  and  authority  to  State  and  local governments,” Dr Rozell told international media on Elections 2020 Virtual Reporting Tour.

Unlike  parliamentary  democracies, like Botswana the  United  States  does  not  have  all  of  the  national government elected in one year. They do not have what is commonly called mandate elections where  the  entire  federal  government  is  elected  all  in  one  election  cycle  giving  a  “mandate”  to  a particular political party to lead, and instead US have what are called staggered elections, elections over time.

The two house Congress, members of the House of Representatives have two-year long terms of office. Every two years the entire House of Representatives is up for re-election, but senators  serve  for  six  years  and  one  third  of  the  Senate is elected every  two  years.

For this election cycle, US citizens will be electing the President and Vice

President, the entire House of Representatives and one third of the open or contested seats in the Senate, whereas two thirds are still fulfilling the remainder of their terms beyond this year.

An  important  facet  of  US electoral  system  to  understand  given  the  federalism  nature  of  the republic, the US elect presidents State by State, therefore they do not have a national popular vote for the presidency.

“We have a national popular vote total that says that Hillary Clinton got three million more votes than Donald Trump or in Year 2000 that Al Gore got a half million more votes than George W. Bush, but we have what is called a State by State winner takes all system where each State  is  assigned  a  number  of  electors  to  our  Electoral  College  and  the  candidate  who  wins  the popular vote within each State takes 100 percent of the electors to the Electoral College,” explained Dr Rozell.

“And that is why mathematically, it is possible for someone to win the popular vote but lose the presidency.”

Dr Rozell indicated that in 2016, Hillary Clinton won very large popular majorities in some big population States like California, but the system allows a candidate to only have to  win  a  State  by  one  vote  to  win  a  100 percent of  its  electors,  the  margin  does  not  matter.

“Donald  Trump  won  many  more  States  by  smaller  margins,  hence  he  got  an  Electoral  College majority.”

Another interesting features by the way of US constitutional system, according to Dr Rozell, but extremely rare, is what is called the faithless elector.

“That’s the elector to the Electoral College who says, ‘I’m not going to vote the popular vote in my State, I think my State made a bad decision and I’m going  to  break  with  the  popular  vote,’’ Dr Rozell said.

“That’s constitutionally a very complicated matter in our federalism system because although the federal constitution says electors may exercise discretion, most States have passed State laws making it illegal for any elector to the Electoral College to break faith with the popular vote of that State, it is a criminal act that can be penalized if one is to do that. And we just had an important Supreme Court case that upheld the right of the states to impose and to enforce this restriction”

There are 538 electors at the Electoral College, 270 is the magic number, the candidate who gets 270 or more becomes President of the United States.

If however there are more candidates, and  this  happens  extremely  rarely,  and  a  third  candidate  got  some electors  to  the  Electoral  College  denying  the  two  major  party  candidates,  either  one  getting  a majority, nobody gets 270 or more, then the election goes to the House of Representatives and the House of Representatives votes among the top three vote getters as to who should be the next President.

“You’d have to go back to the early 19th century to have such a scenario, and that’s not going to happen this year unless there is a statistical oddity, which would be a perfect statistical tie of 269 to 269 which could happen but you can just imagine how incredibly unlikely that is,” stated Dr Rozell.

BLUE STATES vs RED STATES

Since the 2000 United States presidential election, red states and blue states have referred to states of the United States whose voters predominantly choose either the Republican Party (red) or Democratic Party (blue) presidential candidates.

Many  states  have  populations  that  are  so  heavily  concentrated  in  the  Democratic party or the Republican party that there is really no competition in those states.

California is a heavily Democratic State, so is New York and Maryland. It is given that Joe Biden will win those states. Meanwhile Texas, Florida and Alabama are republicans. So, the candidates will spent no time campaigning in those states because it is already a given.

However there are swing  states, where  there is a competition between about five and 10 states total in each election cycle that make a difference, and that is where the candidates end up spending almost all of their time.

“So  it  ends  up  making  a  national  contest  for  the  presidency  actually  look  like  several  state-wide contests with candidates spending a lot of time talking about State and local issues in those parts of the country,” said Dr Rozell.

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Masisi to make things right with Dangote

26th October 2020

High Commissioner of the Federal Government of Nigeria to Botswana, His Excellency Umar Zainab Salisu, has challenged President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi to move swiftly and lobby Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Billionaire, Aliko Dangote to invest in Botswana.

Speaking during a meeting with President Masisi at Office of President on Thursday Zainab Salisu said Dangote has expressed massive interest in setting up billion dollar industries in Botswana.  “We have a lot of investors who wish to come and invest in Botswana , when we look at Botswana we don’t see Botswana itself , but we are lured by its geographic location , being in the centre of Southern Africa presents a good opportunity for strategic penetration into other markets of the region,” said Salisu.

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