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What wrong has Ramadeluka Seretse done to the BDP?

Ndulamo Anthony Morima

When the then Minister of Defence, Justice and Security, Honorable Ramadeluka Ndelu Seretse, faced corruption charges he, obviously at President Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s concurrence, resigned his ministerial position.

On the contrary, such other ministers as ministers for Finance and Development Planning, Honorable Kenneth Matambo, and then Assistant Minister of Trade and Industry, Honorable Vincent Seretse, remained in office despite facing criminal charges.

These two used to literally alight from a national flag hoisting government vehicle and enter into the court dock, something which, to me, was contemptuous of the sanctity of a democratically elected government. Yet, it did not bother president Khama. In fact, he defended the practice with the natural justice maxim that ‘one is presumed innocent until proven guilty’.  Curiously, he did not rely on the same maxim to retain Honorable Seretse pending the final determination of his case.

When Honorable Seretse lost the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) primary elections for the 2014 general elections to his long-time nemesis, and now Assistant Minister of Education and Skills Development, Kgotla Autlwetse, many in the BDP seemed to be in a celebratory mood. The celebrations were not those of celebrating Kgotla Autlwetse’s hard earned victory, but seemed to be celebrating the demise of Honorable Seretse.

Following his loss to Honorable Autlwetse, president Khama, contrary to expectation, failed to nominate him as a Specially Elected Member of Parliament. This, despite the fact that Seretse had competencies needed in president Khama’s cabinet.

As a lawyer by training and being a retired soldier, Seretse was the best candidate for the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security. Instead, it was given to Honorable Shaw Kgathi despite having no training or experience in any Defence, Justice and Security portfolio.

Despite being far junior to Seretse within the BDP, such people as Dr. Unity Dow, were, after rejection by the voters, nominated as Specially Elected Member of Parliament. The Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Eric Molale, resigned his position as a public officer a day before being nominated as Special Elected Member of Parliament.

What did Seretse lack compared to these political novices? Did president Khama really want to avoid being blamed for nepotism or he had other ulterior motives not to nominate Seretse? He possibly had other ulterior motives. After all, he appointed his own brother, Tshekedi Khama, as minister despite public outcry.   

Despite declaring his intention to contest the BDP chairpersonship seat and, according to media reports, informing the party leadership about his decision, when His Honour the Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, decided to stand he was not consulted. Allegedly, the same happened when there were allegations that the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, Honorable Tshekedi Khama, decided to stand, but later withdrew from the race.

When campaigning, like any other candidate, Honorable Seretse was chastised by his own, even through social media, especially when he said anything in relation to His Honour, Mokgweetsi Masisi. This, despite the fact that his message has, in the main, been reconciliatory and putting the interests of the BDP ahead of his own.

Recently, it is reported that at a Jwaneng regional congress, former president, Sir Ketumile Masire, through a speech he had written since he was outside the country, endorsed His Honour, Mokgweetsi Masisi for the upcoming chairpersonship elections. Reportedly, Sir Ketumile Masire’s speech was read by the former Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Peter Siele.

Many in the region and beyond, including the BDP’s leadership, defended Sir Ketumile Masire’s endorsement arguing that in the same manner that the BDP regions endorse the presidential candidate, there is nothing wrong when a region endorses a candidate for a Central Committee position especially that of party chairperson. Curiously, they fail to cite a clause in the party constitution which provides thus.

In a desperate attempt to save face, some claim that if Sir Ketumile Masire had been present he would have read the situation and not endorsed His Honour, Mokgweetsi Masisi, especially that other chairpersonship candidates were in attendance. Instead they blame the messenger, Peter Siele, for failing to use his judgment to adapt the speech to the prevailing circumstances. This is a lame excuse.

Protocol dictated that, unless told otherwise by Sir Ketumile Masire himself, Peter Siele had a duty to read the speech as it is. After all, Sir Ketumile Masire knew that the speech will be read in his absence and should have reasonably foreseen the likelihood of other chairpersonship contenders attending to regional congress. It is customary that during the run-up to Central Committee elections candidates attend as many party forums as possible to campaign.

Yet, it is incredible that during a talk show programme on Duma FM on Wednesday this week, Seretse, though stating that as a party elder and a parent to all BDP adherents Sir Ketumile Masire should not have endorsed one particular candidate, condoned Masire’s indiscretion choosing to limit the damage to the party by shooting the messenger, Peter Siele, for the reasons advanced above.

Not only that. He openly stated that he was not interested in the blame game and the endless discussion of this matter. On the contrary, he said he wants the BDP to learn from this and avoid similar mistakes since they may cause disunity within the party.

Yet, even with such statesmanship one caller, who identified himself as a BDP member from Seretse’s constituency, used the Setswana adage, letlhomole o le utlwe, loosely translated to mean feel the pain for your deeds, claiming that during the Gantsi chairpersonship contest between president Khama and former Vice President and current party chairperson, Ponatshego Kedikilwe, Seretse was among those who defended and/or failed to condemn former president Festus Mogae’s endorsement of Khama.

How can one person face such animosity from his own party? Why has president Khama, who is well known for protecting his relatives, friends and those from the military, like his cousin, Seretse, not protected Seretse? Since president Khama is said to hate the unrighteous, does this mean Seretse is unrighteous?

But, are all president Khama’s appointees righteous? Though he reinstated him as Minister of Defence, Justice and Security after his acquittal of his corruption charges, does this mean president Khama did not believe he was innocent?

You may recall that despite being in a position to depone to an affidavit confirming Seretse’s defence that he had declared conflict of interest during the award of a tender that was the subject of his corruption charges, president Khama neither deponed to such an affidavit nor caused it to be deponed to by his ministers or officials.

Does the fact that Ramadeluka Seretse bears the name ‘Seretse’, as a surname, unsettle president Khama and his brothers? Why else would president Khama not defend his cousin? He probably fears that if Seretse attained such a prominent position as party chairperson he may threaten his brother, Tshekedi Khama,’s rise to the vice presidency and ultimately the presidency after His Honour, Mokgweetsi Masisi’s departure.

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Export Processing Zones: How to Get SEZA to Sizzle

23rd September 2020
Export Processing Zone (EPZ) factory in Kenya

In 2005, the Business & Economic Advisory Council (BEAC) pitched the idea of the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to the Mogae Administration.

It took five years before the SEZ policy was formulated, another five years before the relevant law was enacted, and a full three years before the Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) became operational.

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Egypt Bagged Again

23rd September 2020

… courtesy of infiltration stratagem by Jehovah-Enlil’s clan

With the passing of Joshua’s generation, General Atiku, the promised peace and prosperity of a land flowing with milk and honey disappeared, giving way to chaos and confusion.

Maybe Joshua himself was to blame for this shambolic state of affairs. He had failed to mentor a successor in the manner Moses had mentored him. He had left the nation without a central government or a human head of state but as a confederacy of twelve independent tribes without any unifying force except their Anunnaki gods.

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23rd September 2020

If I say the word ‘robot’ to you,  I can guess what would immediately spring to mind –  a cute little Android or animal-like creature with human or pet animal characteristics and a ‘heart’, that is to say to say a battery, of gold, the sort we’ve all seen in various movies and  tv shows.  Think R2D2 or 3CPO in Star Wars, Wall-E in the movie of the same name,  Sonny in I Robot, loveable rogue Bender in Futurama,  Johnny 5 in Short Circuit…

Of course there are the evil ones too, the sort that want to rise up and eliminate us  inferior humans – Roy Batty in Blade Runner, Schwarzenegger’s T-800 in The Terminator,  Box in Logan’s Run,  Police robots in Elysium and  Otomo in Robocop.

And that’s to name but a few.  As a general rule of thumb, the closer the robot is to human form, the more dangerous it is and of course the ultimate threat in any Sci-Fi movie is that the robots will turn the tables and become the masters, not the mechanical slaves.  And whilst we are in reality a long way from robotic domination, there are an increasing number of examples of  robotics in the workplace.

ROBOT BLOODHOUNDS Sometimes by the time that one of us smells something the damage has already begun – the smell of burning rubber or even worse, the smell of deadly gas. Thank goodness for a robot capable of quickly detecting and analyzing a smell from our very own footprint.

A*Library Bot The A*Star (Singapore) developed library bot which when books are equipped with RFID location chips, can scan shelves quickly seeking out-of-place titles.  It manoeuvres with ease around corners, enhances the sorting and searching of books, and can self-navigate the library facility during non-open hours.

DRUG-COMPOUNDING ROBOT Automated medicine distribution system, connected to the hospital prescription system. It’s goal? To manipulate a large variety of objects (i.e.: drug vials, syringes, and IV bags) normally used in the manual process of drugs compounding to facilitate stronger standardisation, create higher levels of patient safety, and lower the risk of hospital staff exposed to toxic substances.

AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY ROBOTS Applications include screw-driving, assembling, painting, trimming/cutting, pouring hazardous substances, labelling, welding, handling, quality control applications as well as tasks that require extreme precision,

AGRICULTURAL ROBOTS Ecrobotix, a Swiss technology firm has a solar-controlled ‘bot that not only can identify weeds but thereafter can treat them. Naio Technologies based in southwestern France has developed a robot with the ability to weed, hoe, and assist during harvesting. Energid Technologies has developed a citrus picking system that retrieves one piece of fruit every 2-3 seconds and Spain-based Agrobot has taken the treachery out of strawberry picking. Meanwhile, Blue River Technology has developed the LettuceBot2 that attaches itself to a tractor to thin out lettuce fields as well as prevent herbicide-resistant weeds. And that’s only scratching the finely-tilled soil.

INDUSTRIAL FLOOR SCRUBBERS The Global Automatic Floor Scrubber Machine boasts a 1.6HP motor that offers 113″ water lift, 180 RPM and a coverage rate of 17,000 sq. ft. per hour

These examples all come from the aptly-named site    because while these functions are labour-saving and ripe for automation, the increasing use of artificial intelligence in the workplace will undoubtedly lead to increasing reliance on machines and a resulting swathe of human redundancies in a broad spectrum of industries and services.

This process has been greatly boosted by the global pandemic due to a combination of a workforce on furlough, whether by decree or by choice, and the obvious advantages of using virus-free machines – I don’t think computer viruses count!  For example, it was suggested recently that their use might have a beneficial effect in care homes for the elderly, solving short staffing issues and cheering up the old folks with the novelty of having their tea, coffee and medicines delivered by glorified model cars.  It’s a theory, at any rate.

Already, customers at the South-Korean  fast-food chain No Brand Burger can avoid any interaction with a human server during the pandemic.  The chain is using robots to take orders, prepare food and bring meals out to diners.  Customers order and pay via touchscreen, then their request is sent to the kitchen where a cooking machine heats up the buns and patties. When it’s ready, a robot ‘waiter’ brings out their takeout bag.   

‘This is the first time I’ve actually seen such robots, so they are really amazing and fun,’ Shin Hyun Soo, an office worker at No Brand in Seoul for the first time, told the AP. 

Human workers add toppings to the burgers and wrap them up in takeout bags before passing them over to yellow-and-black serving robots, which have been compared to Minions. 

Also in Korea, the Italian restaurant chain Mad for Garlic is using serving robots even for sit-down customers. Using 3D space mapping and other technology, the electronic ‘waiter,’ known as Aglio Kim, navigates between tables with up to five orders.  Mad for Garlic manager Lee Young-ho said kids especially like the robots, which can carry up to 66lbs in their trays.

These catering robots look nothing like their human counterparts – in fact they are nothing more than glorified food trolleys so using our thumb rule from the movies, mankind is safe from imminent takeover but clearly  Korean hospitality sector workers’ jobs are not.

And right there is the dichotomy – replacement by stealth.  Remote-controlled robotic waiters and waitresses don’t need to be paid, they don’t go on strike and they don’t spread disease so it’s a sure bet their army is already on the march.

But there may be more redundancies on the way as well.  Have you noticed how AI designers have an inability to use words of more than one syllable?  So ‘robot’ has become ‘bot’ and ‘android’ simply ‘droid?  Well, guys, if you continue to build machines ultimately smarter than yourselves you ‘rons  may find yourself surplus to requirements too – that’s ‘moron’ to us polysyllabic humans”!

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