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What will Molale offer to Barolong?

Ndulamo Anthony Morima

Following an appeal by one of the candidates for the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP)’s Goodhope/Mabule constituency primary elections, former chairperson of the National Youth Executive Committee (NYEC), Kenaleone Frankie Motsaathebe, the BDP has declared Specially Elected Member of the National Assembly and Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, Honorable Eric Molale, as the winner of the primary elections.

Therefore, unless Motsaathebe resorts to the courts and succeeds in overturning the BDP’s decision, Honorable Molale will, if he satisfies the nominations process by the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), as he is expected to, contest the bye elections scheduled for 15th August 2015 as a BDP candidate.

The question is: compared to his expected contenders, namely Kgosi Lotlamoreng II and Comfort Maruping of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) and Botswana Congress Party (BCP) respectively, does Molale have anything to offer Barolong?

This is the question we seek to answer in this article. In the two subsequent weeks we ask the same question of Kgosi Lotlamoreng II and Comfort Maruping. In the week of the elections, we make a comparative analysis of the three candidates in a cursory manner to remind the voter of their strengths and weaknesses.

There is no doubt that Honorable Molale is endowed with sufficient intellectual and administrative capabilities required of an administrator. Notably, he has served government as Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Local Government (MLG), giving him invaluable experience in tribal administration, land administration and local government generally.

Honorable Molale has, until the 2014 general elections, served as Permanent Secretary to the President (PSP) and has a rare record of serving more than one president. Having been PSP for about twelve years, Honorable Molale has no doubt amassed invaluable knowledge and experience in state administration as well as matters of the presidency.

But, the question is: will this endowment in administration which he gained by serving the executive arm of government translate into the astute political leadership required of an elected Member of Parliament (MP) with respect to his constituency? Put differently, will Honorable Molale serve Barolong, or rather, Barolong and BaNgwaketse with the diligence which some say he exhibited when he was the head of the civil service?

It is common knowledge that Barolong, or at least some Barolong, have shown displeasure that they are treated as subservient to BaNgwaketse. Such subservience, they say, is demonstrated by the fact that part of Borolong is under Ngwaketse rule.

This displeasure has led to the birth of a pressure group called Barolong ba Baikuedi which, though in a docile way, has strived to redress the situation to no avail mainly because it lacked the support of such prominent members of the Rolong tribe as Honorable Molale.

A cursory review of the available literature and anecdotal evidence suggests that Honorable Molale has not assisted the cause for Barolong’s self-rule. Perhaps his excuse is that he was constrained by the fact that he has been a civil servant and, for about eight months, a cabinet minister. But, did he at least play an advisory and behind-the-scenes role in that regard?

We may never know. But, if being in the civil service was truly a hindrance, did he play any role in that regard before he joined the civil service, for example during his student years? Available evidence, though anecdotal, does not show that Honorable Molale has been helpful to Barolong in that regard.   

But, if indeed he was constrained by the civil service in assisting to alleviate the plight of his tribesmen, if elected as Member of Parliament (MP) will he assist Barolong in that regard or he will still be constrained by the fact that he will be a minister and bound by collective responsibility if such a course is against government policy? If such a course is against the BDP’s manifesto and policy will he give his tribe’s plight precedence over following the party line or he will submit to the dictates of the party?

The issue of self-rule aside, Barolong, as a tribe, have not been prominent, something which, in all fairness, should be blamed more on their tribal leader, Kgosi Lotlamoreng II and his predecessors, than on Honorable Molale. But, has Honorable Molale used his position and influence to assert Barolong’s prominence? Would someone believe you if you told him that someone as powerful as the PSP is a son to the Barolong?

Or, was he constrained by the civil service to associate himself with his tribe and contribute to its upliftment? If elected as MP will he, in the true meaning of the adage ‘charity begins at home’, work to better his people’s lives? But, what will have changed? As minister, as he is likely to remain, won’t he still be constrained by the civil service?

The other question is: has Honorable Molale, as a MoRolong, used his skills and experience to assist in his tribe’s development, for example, by assisting such structures as Village Development Committees (VDCs), Parents Teachers Associations (PTAs), Home Based Care Groups(HBCG), Youth groups, Women’s groups, and Bogosi? Has he assisted the youth and such vulnerable groups as those living with disabilities in his tribe?
Anecdotal evidence suggests that Honorable Molale has not been helpful in that regard.

Perhaps his excuse is that as a civil servant, especially as PSP he did not do that for fear of being accused of bias towards his tribe. But, are there no things he could have done, without necessarily using government resources and time to assist his tribesmen? Using personal time and means to mobilize resources for the poor or sick, for example, cannot be regarded as abuse of office in favour of one’s tribe. Can it?

If indeed it is true that Honorable Molale cannot have assisted his tribe without compromising his position, after being elected MP will the fact that he is a minister not continue to be a hindrance in that regard? Perhaps he will say it won’t be a hindrance as evidenced by the fact that he recently mobilized some private companies to take health services to Barolong. But, why has he not done that all along? Why did he only do that in the run-up to the BDP’s primary elections?

Borolong, especially when the late Ronald Sebego was still area MP and Minister of Agriculture, used to contribute significantly to Botswana’s Agricultural output. This is no more. The question is: does Honorable Molale have legislative and policy plans to influence government to resuscitate Borolong’s Agricultural prowess?

Has he, since it is likely that he has always been a member of the BDP even when he was in the civil service, influenced the BDP to include such plans in its manifesto? Has he influenced government to include such plans in the National Development Plan?  Are Barolong aware of such plans?

Granted, comparatively speaking, Borolong generally has better infrastructure in terms of roads, telecommunications, electricity and government services, but does Honorable Molale have plans to lobby for such to be distributed to such small villages as Mosi, Sedibeng, Leporung and Dikhukhung?

Does he have plans to attract the private sector to reach Barolong in terms of their services? With respect to the latter, if what he did in the run-up to the primary elections is anything to go by he certainly can do that. After all, his office commands such influence that few companies can resist the urge to associate with him in the hope of winning tenders from government.

The aforegoing notwithstanding, given his intellectual endowment, administrative prowess and indisputable influence on government, especially on the presidency, it is inarguable that if Honorable Molale has the will to serve his people he has something to offer Barolong. One other attribute he can offer Barolong seems to be loyalty. Though some ascribe it to boot licking, it is my view that only a loyal person can serve more than one president as PSP.

The question is: in whose favour is he likely to exercise such loyalty? Will he exercise such loyalty for the betterment of his people or to protect the interests of the BDP and government? If history is anything to go by, I am convinced that he is likely to be loyal to the BDP and the government at the expense of Barolong. If I am right, what then will Honorable Molale offer to Barolong? Will he have anything to offer more than Kgosi Lotlamoreng II and Comfort Maruping would?

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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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