Research and innovation are the new diamonds that could propel economic growth for a country like Botswana which is facing the challenge of over dependence on one commodity for revenue generation, diamonds.
With the industrialization ages waning, the information era is pushing policy makers to rethink, speaking at a Research and Innovation workshop hosted by BUIST this past week in Palapye Minister of Tertiary Education, Research, Science and Technology, Dr Alfred Madigele lamented the importance of research and innovation in economic development.
Madigele said Botswana needed to continue seeking solutions for challenges faced by the country in its quest for economic growth as well as day to day limitations faced by its citizens. “We have also have to develop a reviewing plan for existing solutions and improve them more with continued research because problems and economic limitations keep on evolving with time, thus it’s important to engage in rigorous innovative research for the betterment of our people’s lives,” he said.
Madigele further observed that research and innovation was integral for almost all economic sectors from health to tourism adding that a knowledge based economy which researches vividly fight poverty and health outbreaks. BUIST Deputy Vice Chancellor- Research & Development, Professor David Norris highlighted that tertiary institutions had an integral role to play in economic development. He said research empowers information communication technology in developing an export led and sustainable economy.
“We at BUIST demonstrate our mandate towards contributing to economic growth by complementing academic capacity building with intensive research and also liaising with world class experts to come up with solution, products and innovative ways to help Botswana diversify her economy, create employment and develop supporting infrastructure,” Chairman of BUIST Council, Bernard Bolele said in his presentation. Professor Otlogetswe Totolo revealed in previous workshops that Botswana needed to do more as far as producing qualified engineers and certified scientists is concerned.
The BUIST Vice Chancellor was of the view that the current number of accredited professional scientists and engineers was not enough to transform Botswana‘s economy to knowledge based. “We have to create critical mass of scientists and engineers to achieve this transformation. We need a lot more that 2000 to make sure that we transform to the likes of Singapore and Indonesia,” said Totolo.
In 2005 the Government of Botswana through an act of parliament established the country‘s second university intended to house world-class research based science, engineering and technology academia baring the nomenclature of Botswana International University of Science & Technology (BUIST).
The aim was to produce highly skilled scientist and engineers well capacitated from internationally accredited programmes. Although the University had experienced a number of challenges since its inception and setting up, BUIST held its first ever inaugural graduation ceremony February this year.
While there is no hard-and-fast rule in politics, former Molepolole North Member of Parliament, Mohamed Khan says populism acts in the body politic have forced him to quit active partisan politics. He brands this ancient ascription of politics as fake and says it lowers the moral compass of the society.
Khan who finally tasted political victory in the 2014 elections after numerous failed attempts, has decided to leave the ‘dirty game’, and on his way out he characteristically lashed at the current political leaders; including his own party president, Advocate Duma Boko. “I arrived at this decision because I have noticed that there are no genuine politics and politicians. The current leaders, Boko and President Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi are fake politicians who are just practicing populist politics to feed their egos,” he said.
Former Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) parliamentary hopeful, Lawrence Ookeditse has rejected the idea of taking up a crucial role in the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF) Central Committee following his arrival in the party this week. According to sources close to development, BPF power brokers are coaxing Ookeditse to take up the secretary general position, left vacant by death of Roseline Panzirah-Matshome in November 2020.
Ookeditse’s arrival at BPF is projected to cause conflicts, as some believe they are being overlooked, in favour of a new arrival. The former ruling party strategist has however ruled out the possibility of serving in the party central committee as secretary general, and committed that he will turn down the overture if availed to him by party leadership.
Ookeditse, nevertheless, has indicated that if offered another opportunity to serve in a different capacity, he will gladly accept. “I still need to learn the party, how it functions and all its structures; I must be guided, but given any responsibility I will serve the party as long as it is not the SG position.”
“I joined the BPF with a clear conscious, to further advance my voice and the interests of the constituents of Nata/Gweta which I believe the BDP is no longer capable to execute.” Ookeditse speaks of abject poverty in his constituency and prevalent unemployment among the youth, issues he hopes his new home will prioritise.
He dismissed further allegations that he resigned from the BDP because he was not rewarded for his efforts towards the 2019 general elections. After losing in the BDP primaries in 2018, Ookeditse said, he was offered a job in government but declined to take the post due to his political ambitions. Ookeditse stated that he rejected the offer because, working for government clashed with his political journey.
He insists there are many activists who are more deserving than him; he could have chosen to take up the opportunity that was before him but his conscious for the entire populace’s wellbeing held him back. Ookeditse said there many people in the party who also contributed towards party success, asserting that he only left the BDP because he was concerned about the greater good of the majority not individualism purposes.
According to observers, Ookeditse has been enticed by the prospects of contesting Nata/Gweta constituency in the 2024 general election, following the party’s impressive performance in the last general elections. Nata/Gweta which is a traditional BDP stronghold saw its numbers shrinking to a margin of 1568. BDP represented by Polson Majaga garnered 4754, while BPF which had fielded Joe Linga received 3186 with UDC coming a distant with 1442 votes.
There are reports that Linga will pave way for Ookeditse to contest the constituency in 2024 and the latter is upbeat about the prospects of being elected to parliament. Despite Ookeditse dismissing reports that he is eying the secretary general position, insiders argue that the position will be availed to him nevertheless.
Alternative favourite for the position is Vuyo Notha who is the party Deputy Secretary General. Notha has since assumed duties of the secretariat office on the interim basis. BPF politburo is expected to meet on 25th of January 2020, where the vacancy will be filled.
Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) big wigs have decided to cancel a retreat with the party legislators this weekend owing to increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases. The meeting was billed for this weekend at a place that was to be confirmed, however a communique from the party this past Tuesday reversed the highly anticipated meeting.
“We received a communication this week that the meeting will not go as planned because of rapid spread of Covid-19,” one member of the party Central Committee confirmed to this publication. The gathering was to follow the first of its kind held late last year at party Treasurer Satar Dada’s place.