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Dodgy Indians raise suspicion on EVMs

A simple refusal by a trio of India’s Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) representatives to supply their names to the press failed to help the situation as the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) sought to seek media buy-in on Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) this week.

Repeated attempts by the press from the symposium floor to provoke a response from the Indians came to naught, in a space of 3 hours, this Thursday morning. Coordinator of EVM’s Gabriel Seeletso stated that he could only provide the name of one Ashok Naik remarking that “I cannot even pronounce the names of others.” The Indians continued dodging requests after Seeletso had said that they would introduce themselves.The Indian trio held their own to the very end of the presentation, dodging multiple requests to provide their names while selectively choosing questions to answer, inadvertently contributing to the prevailing anxiety about the electoral machines.

7000 machines

Meanwhile, Seeletso stated that the IEC will source about 7000 EVMs for each of the 2300 polling stations across the country. He further explained that the 7000 figure will include spare machines for instances where some machines might falter. Seeletso further stated that IEC has not yet determined the  amount of money that will be injected in the procurement of the voting machines suffice to say that the more machines one buy the lesser the amount they cough up.

He also stated that while the Namibian EVMs did not contain the Voter Verifiable Paper Trail (VVPT) the good part is that BEL can make machines to fit the requested specifications. Stated Seeletso: “In Namibia they did not use that VVPT machines in the past two general elections but they can always change that. These can be made to specifications. We will also provide for braille in our specifications.”

Moreover, he fervently denied that the machines can be compromised, inviting technicians to “do it now” and not at the time of general elections as that will be now illegal. “Hackers are not always evil. Hackers can come to do something good. If there are people who can do that they can come forward. Batswana of goodwill can do that. If there are any technicians here they can engage my competent friends from Bharat they can come forth. We haven’t stopped anybody here but on the eve of elections that will be illegal. Why should we be giving you machines to play around with when we have never given you ballot boxes?”

He further said that in the event technological advancements that might compromise EVMs catches up, they will always revert to BEL to fine tune their machines. “If we realise their being compromised because of tech developments, it’s for us who now own the machines to say to Bharat, do you have something to augment this and if they have, they can say yes. But it will be done by a specialist, someone who is competent.”

Asked why they seem to be such in a rush to implement electronic voting in 2019 and fix a system that is functioning quite well, he responded cryptically: “I don’t know. Somebody who saw that it was broken decided to fix it. We only implement. That question is beyond the audience, Bharat and the commission to answer.”

However, IEC Secretary, Keireng Zuze was more self-justifying, attempting to distribute the blame to citizens: “the background is that IEC did not initiate the EVM. Some of us here initiated. After each general election we call a meeting and some of the proposals since 2015 have always said that we are lagging behind.” Furthermore, Zuze said that Bharat has been identified as a single source. She however noted that they have not yet signed any contract with Bharat and have not yet made any payment.

She also said that they had invited the opposition to their presentation and they do not understand why they did not come. “We had invited the opposition here. We do not know why they are not here. We can’t force them to come but we will continue to involve them in our demonstrations.”

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6th February 2023

After falling to close the gap on Arsenal by losing to a record breaking goal by Kane at the Tottenham stadium.Manchester City now find themselves being charged by the Premier League with more than 100 breaches of its financial rules following a four-year investigation.

According to BBC , it has referred the club to an independent commission over alleged rule breaches between 2009 and 2018 , and also that Man-city has not been co-operating since the investigation which started in 2018 .

BBC further states that The commission can impose punishment including a fine , points deduction and expelling the club from the Premier league.

The alleged breaches include ,  breaching rules for requiring full details of manager remuneration,from 2009-2010, to 2012-2013 seasons when Roberto Mancini was in charge . Also player remuneration between 2010-2011 and 2015-2016.

The Premier league stated that City breached rules related to UEFA regulations , including Financial Fair Play , from 2013-2014 to 2017-2018 ,as well as Premier League rules on profitability and sustainability from 2014-2016 to 2017-2018

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South Korean Embassy aids students living with disabilities

6th February 2023

South Korean Ambassador in South Africa has donated e-learning equipment through Botswana Red Cross Society (BRCS) to Tlamelong Rehabilitation Centre in Tlokweng recently, in a bid to fine tune the student’s textile skills.  

When talking at the handing over ceremony, Chull-Joo Park, said they agreed with BRCS to give out e-learning equipment to better the training skills of students living with disabilities.

“With the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and job training skills, we will be able to help the students living with disabilities to do e-learning and to better their education and job training,” said Chull-Joo Park.

It was revealed that the South Korean Embassy approached BRCS with the intent to donate equipment and educational material that includes an embroidery machine, photo copier machine, tablets and interactive boards to be utilized by the trainees.

The industrial printer is a machine that works with embroidery machine to print designs for clothing and it will enable the learners to have more material available to them to facilitate learning.

Through this embroidery machine, students will be exposed to better technologies which ultimately improve the quality of materials they produce. It will also allow students to learn business skills and run profitable ventures.

Smart board gadgets will provide the students with an elevated learning process to be fostered by e-learning. The gadgets provide a more visual element to the learning process, which in turn improves learner mental retention.

Tlamelong Rehabilitation serves the marginalized and underserved less privileged persons living with disability in Botswana. The center offers boarding services, vocational training, social services, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services for young people living disabilities aged 18-35 from across the country over a period of two (2) years per cohort which has a maximum intake capacity of 35. BRCS through International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) have managed to create great working synergy with the South Korean Embassy in Pretoria based in South Africa to support or augment the National Society’s Rehabilitation Centre’s learning challenges.

For his part, BRSC Secretary General Kutlwano Mokokomani said they are delighted to convey their gratitude as BRSC to the South Korean Embassy for donation and they look forward to an enduring partnership for such worthy causes.

“South Korean Embassy’s great gesture will enable trainees to thrive, to fulfil their dreams to become a reality as this equipments will go a long way in creating great impact in the lives of trainees and their families. We wish to convey our sincere gratitude to the South Korean Embassy for their noble gesture of donating the E-learning equipments.”

BRCS offers rehabilitation services spread across three (3) areas in Botswana being Sefhare Stimulation center in Sefhare, Tshimologo stimulation center in Francistown and Tlamelong rehabilitation center in Tlokweng.

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DIS alleges plot to kill Masisi hatched in South Africa

6th February 2023

A dispute is brewing between Botswana and South Africa intelligence agencies over alleged mercenary training camps discovered in South Africa by the Directorate of Intelligence and Security (DIS). 

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