The Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development, Thapelo Olopeng is keeping good to his promise of producing at least five millionaires by the end of his tenure as minister. He recently launched the ‘Millionaires’ Club’ in Gaborone.
This week the Minister confirmed that he recently launched the Club and the target still stands at 5 millionaires to be produced during his tenure as the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development. “I have officially launched the club and it consists of 15 members from different sectors. I am currently overwhelmed with hundreds of requests from other young people who want to be part of this club; unfortunately I can only mentor a few. These young people are, upon hitting the target, expected to mentor other young people to rise to their ranks,” said Olopeng.
Some names that appear in Minister Olopeng’s list include those from the arts, film, agriculture, information and technology, engineering and other sectors. Johnson Otlaadisa, a television production and arts enthusiast; Molefhi Nkwete, a clothing and label apparel businessman; Thabang Palai, who is into property development; Malebogo Marumoagae, a former beauty queen, now business lady is also in the mix; and so is Gadzanani Makopola, another businessman, are some of the young people the Minister is mentoring to become millionaires by value.
Explaining the objective of this club, Minister Olopeng said among other reasons, he intends to provide members of the Club with business and professional mentorship. Furthermore he intends to bring renowned local and foreign entrepreneurs to educate these young people and change their mindset to become successful entrepreneurs.
“They will be taught to see challenges as opportunities for them to succeed. For example, most Silicon Valley entrepreneurs started from their garages and our young people need to know how they can navigate around obstacles to run successful enterprises. They shouldn’t see physical space and lack of capital to operate their businesses as an obstacle,” opined Olopeng. The Minister said he is very passionate about the Millionaires Club because it has the potential to be a spring board for a number of great things such as employment creation, “which obviously pushes the economy in the right direction.”
In Parliament recently, Minister Olopeng observed that the majority of the Botswana population consists of young people and therefore if the government does not invest in them, it runs the risk of having an elderly population that is unable to support itself owing to missed opportunities. Olopeng said it is imperative that all efforts are made to tap into the energy and creativity of the young people and to further develop them into model citizens to enhance their competitiveness globally.
Still on the Millionaires Club, Olopeng said in addition to mentorship, he also wants members of the Club to have access to a network of local and foreign entrepreneurs, in order for them to expand their current network. “I believe that business can only grow to a great success if the network is right and if the entrepreneur has access to a successful mentor. Among other things, the club will provide members with investment opportunities, which will see them growing their portfolios. I believe that through sound investments, our young people will enlarge their portfolios and grow into millionaires and billionaires,” he said.
Olopeng explained his version of millionaires; he said he believes that millionaires are not determined by the amount of cash in their bank accounts or how much they can spend in shops and restaurants. He subscribes to the view point that Millionaires are determined by the value of their assets. “That’s why we are talking about investment portfolios and opportunities. I want members of this club to be financially disciplined and above all, to preserve their integrity.”
The Minister is worried by a nagging trend among young people, “One of the challenges facing young people is that after winning a P1 million, they rush to become flamboyant, and want to be seen driving expensive cars and living large. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, but I want to teach members of my club to know what to do with their money,” said Olopeng.
His Ministry already has programmes meant to empower young people, but over the years the Ministry has observed high defaulter rate with the Young Development Fund and other similar initiatives. In some instances young people are given money to start worthy causes only for them to diver the money to flashy lifestyles – which has always proved to be a temporary thing. With the Millionaires Club, Olopeng said he is determined to provide dedicated mentoring that will instill both business and social ethos to the group of 15 and ultimately raise the targeted five millionaires.
Olopeng vows to increase mentees
According to the Minister, in the near future, he wants to increase the number of the Millionaires Club members to 30 in order to provide this opportunity to others who will also be assisted up the ladder. He said the current ratio of members is more men than women – this increase should see more women coming into the club.
“Members of this club are very excited to be part of it, and they are looking forward to providing solutions to their challenges. They have expressed readiness to rise to occasion. As I said earlier, members are taught to look at challenges as opportunities, and not to see them as stumbling blocks,” he said.
Olopeng said he is very excited to work with this group of young people. He is of the view that they have positive characters, amazing energy and the right attitude to succeed and grow. He said he also determined to help them grow beyond their actual potential.
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.
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.
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.