In the wake of rising rhino poaching in Botswana, despite government crackdowns, WeekendPost has it in good authority that President Mokgweetsi Masisi’s administration rejected the British army anti-poaching assistance program which was coming free of charge.
At the moment it looks like Masisi led administration is now fighting a losing battle against rhino poaching with a record 36 rhinos having been killed in the past twelve months. When he took to power, President Mokgweetsi Masisi took a repressive decision to disarm the Anti-Poaching Unit of the Department of Wildlife leaving the Botswana Defence Force (BDF) with the leading role of safeguarding the endangered species. Currently the country is home to just under 400 rhinos, according to Rhino Conservation Botswana, most of them roam the grassy plains of the northern Okavango Delta.
Former Minister of Wildlife and Tourism Tshekedi Khama, in an interview with this publication this week, said in 2018 towards former President Ian Khama’s end of office, they unanimously agreed with the British army deployed in the anti-poaching exercise in Zimbabwe, to liaise with Botswana government in assisting anti- poaching in the country. According to Tshekedi, the move was necessitated by their constant differences with the British government because of Botswana’s ‘shoot to kill’ policy.
Tshekedi said they met the visiting British crew from Zimbabwe through their Ambassador and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at the time. He said they then solicited assistance from the British army to help with the anti- poaching. “They were even taken on tour of the concerned areas”. According to Tshekedi Khama, they also met with members of Wildlife and BDF anti- poaching units before they went back to put together a strategy on how they can go about.
The former Minister of Tourism said he was however surprised last year when he received a call from Vice President Slumber Tsogwane at a time when President Masisi was outside the country. “He told me that we are now engaging the British army and charging them with the responsibility of our animals. I told him that we are only soliciting their assistance but he told me to wait for President Masisi who outside the country”, said TK.
However another call from Permanent Secretary to the President at the time, Carter Morupisi put an end to Tshekedi’s ambitions when he told him that what he is trying to do is not allowed and it should be stopped. “Look this was after they disarmed the anti- poaching unit. This was never about the weapons, they had wanted to train our people on bush tactics, GPS training and logistics as well as radio communications and operations. They have also offered to donate tents to support the cause and there were no conditions whatsoever attached,” he said.
Tshekedi said during his stay at the ministry, poachers knew that when they enter Botswana they will be killed. He said the policy was very effective and they had a very operational intelligent unit in place. He recalled an incident in Makalamabedi, where two men were arrested for the possession of an elephant trunk. “President Masisi’s recent conspiracy about the rising number of poached rhinos is a fallacy. He is always shifting the blame. He should just admit it was a mistake and re- equip the anti- poaching unit, get over it and move on. BDF Commander is even quiet, what are they doing about the situation?” asked TK.
Also called for comment; former President, Dr Ian Khama said the current administration has taken their eye off the ball. Khama said there was poaching under both former President Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae, whilst he was still BDF Commander. “We ensured that we tackled it, under Masire I was in charge and Masire took particular interest in what was happening. Same thing happened under Mogae. I had weekly meetings with anti- poaching teams and made demands because I was on the ground. Masisi should stop making excuses,” said Khama.
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.