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Masisi taints BNF at BDP/ANC luncheon

Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Chairman, Mokgweetsi Masisi seized the moment at his party’s luncheon with an African National Congress (ANC) delegation and badmouthed the Botswana National Front; with whom the ANC has close relations, saying that BNF is no longer what it used to be.

According to Masisi, the current BNF does not stand for what it used to before because its participation in the Umbrella for Democratic Change coalition diluted its program. The visiting ANC delegation was led by Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. In an unending battle between BDP and BNF for association with ANC, Masisi said BDP has a long history with the ANC which deserves to be given recognition. “I am not jealous of your relation [with BNF] but this is not the BNF that you know. It being part of coalition of many opposition parties pollutes its program. It no longer stands for what used to stand for,” he said.

“With BDP you know what you are working with because we have been consistent with our program.”The Vice President further told the delegation that one thing that is often overlooked is that BDP is a liberation movement and has played a significant role in ending apartheid rule in South Africa.“We are a liberation movement that did not bear arms. The first conference of the ANC was held in Botswana at Lobatse,” he said. Masisi said the BDP government should protect these historical ties with ANC so that they are preserved for the future.

In his brief speech earlier, Secretary General of the ANC, Mantashe had insisted that the South African ruling party will continue having bilateral relation with both BDP and BNF. “The historical relations of ANC with BDP and BNF are different. ANC is not in a polygamous marriage with BDP and BNF. We do not sleep in the same bed,” he said. “I do not want BNF comrades calling me every time I am here enquiring about my visit to BDP. I also do not expect BDP to do the same when we are visiting the BNF.”  

Mantashe who also revealed that he will step down as ANC Secretary General in December denied that ANC have ditched BNF in favour of BDP. “We are in constant communication with BNF and we always send a delegation to their events,” he said. “Unless they want the secretary general in his capacity to come but ANC always sends representatives.”  Matantshe revealed that it is important for Botswana to not only be an example of a good government but to also influence the world.  

He attributed Minister of Foreign Affairs Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi’s failed bid to lack of unity among the SADC bloc and its failure to be an influential block. He also remarked that the relationship between Botswana and South Africa is not optional but necessary, therefore necessary for the two countries to continue engaging each other both at government and party level.

Mantashe gave thumbs up to Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Vincent Seretse’s policy to reserve certain retail businesses for Batswana, which has seen the dominant South African retailers being put on the sidelines. The policy has seen the clash between property owners and South African retailers, who feel hard done by the policy. “I do not have a problem with that if it is meant to empower the citizens [of Botswana]. In South Africa we have localisation policy which we encourage businesses to buy from our people. If you have a small farmer where do you expect them to sell?” he said.

The ANC Secretary General arrived in the country on Wednesday and held a bilateral meeting with the BDP leadership. Both parties have been cagey on revealing the contents of the meeting. Both Botsalo Ntuane, the Secretary General of the BDP and Mantashe refuted claims that the meeting had anything to do with the perceived ongoing political crisis in South Africa brought on by President Jacob Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle. The re-shuffle resulted in the country finance minister being shown the door, subsequently resulting in the rand being set on free fall.   

The leadership of the two parties further insisted that the meeting was long planned and the cabinet reshuffle by Zuma could not deter the meeting from going on. The ANC delegation also paid a courtesy call to President Ian Khama before proceeding to the luncheon which was held at Botswana Craft where they were treated with traditional dishes. Also in attendance at the luncheon were Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry Vincent Seretse, Foreign Affairs Minister Venson-Moitoi, BDP Women’s Wing Chairperson Dorcas Makgato and Youth Wing Chairperson Sam Mavange among others.

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Seretse, Kgosi may walk free

30th October 2020

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.


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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