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Roots of Botswana Nationalist Politics Part 23: The 1965 election and formation of the BNF

Jeff Ramsay

With the unveiling of the “Fawcus Plan,” Botswana was set on an accelerated path of self-government through a new constitutional framework based on popular sovereignty. The nationalist parties were thus locked in a struggle for political supremacy.

In the months that followed the BDP was able to successfully undertake campaigning throughout most of the territory. The BPP, however, continued to suffer from factionalism. While Motsamai Mpho’s followers rebranded themselves as the Botswana Independence Party (BIP), the remaining BPP were once more split after Phillip Matante succeeded in usurping the party’s leadership from K.T. Motsete.

Motsete was rebuffed when he initially tried to form a new alliance with Mpho. With but a few followers, he thereafter claimed to lead yet a third faction of the BPP, which by the time of the 1965 election had faded into virtual insignificance.

In early 1964 the colonial administration announced that the Protectorate's first non-racial one-person one-vote elections would be held in March 1965; maintaining that a full year was required to count and register the population. Alec Campbell was commissioned to carry out what may be seen as the territory’s first comprehensive census or population survey.

The administration also mounted an information campaign to explain to the people the new electoral system. The BDP cooperated wholeheartedly in the exercise, while Matante's BPP charged that the registration process was being rigged. The letter stance ultimately resulted in the BPP’s Secretary General, Peter Maruping, being sentenced to six months imprisonment under a section of the penal code that made it an offence to make false accusations against registrations officers.

With elections approaching, the campaigns of the parties continued to stand in sharp contrast. The BDP were well prepared by the day of the poll with candidates and organized supporters in every one of the then thirty-one constituencies. The other parties struggled to nominate candidates in the rural areas and in many places failed. A belated attempt to forge an election pact between the BPP and BIP to shore up their flagging support came to nothing.

By 1964-65 organization, rather than finance, accounted for the differences between the parties. The BPP (Matante), BDP and BIP each had sources of internal and external support, with the first two at least being relatively well financed in the months leading up to the election.

Indeed the executive members of each of the parties travelled widely. Seretse visited the United States, Europe and countries throughout Africa. Matante and Mpho visited Socialist bloc countries in Europe and Asia, as well as many African states.

In the final weeks of the campaign, political activity was concentrated in the south-east, which appeared to contain the most marginal constituencies. The BDP was unassailable in Gammangwato, the BPP had consolidated its stronghold in Francistown, with the BIP hopeful (albeit ultimately unsuccessful) in Ngamiland. Government officials, who watched the contest with interest, predicted that the BDP would take twenty-four seats.

When the results did come in, the BDP won by a landslide, capturing twenty-eight seats, with the remaining three going to Matante's BPP. Of the 140,286 votes counted, the BDP received 113,165 or 80.6% followed by BPP (Matante) with 19,964 or 14.3% and BIP with 5,991 or 4.3%. Motsete received a mere 377 votes in Lobatse, while other independents garnered 789 votes.

The aftermath of the election saw the birth of the last major political movement to come out of the colonial era- the BNF. In early 1965, Kenneth Koma finally returned from Moscow, via Beijing and Dar-es-Salaam, having been away for a decade and a half. He arrived just in time to witness the BDP's triumph.

Thereafter, he immediately set about the task of building a united front among the opposition parties and other disaffected elements, including such veterans Motsete and Raditladi and younger traditional leaders upset at their loss of power following the constitutional reforms.

Prominent among the latter were Linchwe II, who provided Koma with an office, and Seepapitso Gaseitsiwe, then heir to his father Bathoen II. Seepapitso had already flouted the idea of forming his own party, the Botswana National Union, which he hoped could take part in independence negotiations.

In April 1965 Koma managed to gather the various elements together for the first time. On and off talks continued for six months, with participants usually meeting in Mochudi under Linchwe's patronage.

In the end neither Matante nor Mpho proved willing to work with either Koma or each other. But, many of their followers had joined the Front by the time of its inaugural conference in Mochudi on October 3, 1965. The first meeting was opened by Linchwe, who thereafter withdrew on the grounds that his position as a member of the House of Chiefs barred him from active participation in partisan politics.

Among those who did join were Fish Keitseng and Klaas Motshidisi of the BIP, almost the entire Molepolole branch of the BPP, Ikalanga champion Daniel Kwele and Seretse Khama's uncle Serogola Seretse.

Thus it was that whereas in 1956 Botswana had no active, internal political parties. A decade later, with the restoration of independence, it had given birth to four parties and an electoral pattern that would define its political culture for the next quarter century.

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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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