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UDC milked Motswaledi’s death for elections

Ndulamo Anthony Morima
EAGLE WATCH

Speaking at a press conference a day after Gomolemo Motswaledi’s death, Wynter Mmolotsi of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) said “we believe there is need for a second opinion to allay suspicion. As UDC we are aware that political assassinations are common towards elections. We must exhaust all avenues in our quest to determine what could have caused the death of this valiant man”.

The President of the UDC and Botswana National Front (BNF), Duma Boko, said “we implore the nation to join us in this endeavor because it requires resources. We implore experts and professionals to avail themselves generously and give freely of their time”.

In response to such a ‘noble’ call, Batswana from across the political divide made financial contributions to finance the investigations. Not only that. There is no doubt that many Batswana voted for the UDC in the 2014 general elections because they, as a result of insinuations made by the UDC and BMD, believed that Motswaledi had been assassinated. They likely reached the conclusion that the assassination was at the hands of the government.

Dr. Phenyo Butale of the BMD, for example, won the Gaborone Central constituency Parliamentary elections not because the voters really knew him or believed in his electoral pledges, but because the voters wanted to honor Motswaledi who would obviously have won the seat had he lived to contest the elections.  

The nation, which was emerging from such a tragic loss, and obviously influenced by suspicions that Motswaledi was assassinated for political reasons, had hope that it will, within a short period of time, know what led to the untimely demise of one of its greatest sons. Expectation was so high that even when the Botswana Police Service communicated its findings that there was no foul play in the accident the findings were rejected as a cover up.

Today, about one and half years later, neither the UDC, for which Motswaledi was Secretary General, nor the BMD, for which Motswaledi was President, has released the investigation report or at least concretely informed Batswana about the investigations’ progress. Intermittently, informal statements have been made that the investigations are still continuing and no clear timeframe of when the report will be released has been given.

By all standards, no accident investigation, especially where the body was found intact and the accident scene was not destroyed, can take one and half years. The claim that because the investigation involved internationally renowned experts it was bound to take this long is devoid of merit.

On the contrary, it is because of that fact that it should have taken a shorter time because experts of such a caliber know the value of timeous reporting, especially on a matter as sensitive as the suspicious death of a political leader during elections.

The UDC has also made excuses by stating that even such more sensitive investigations as the one on the 2004 suspected assassination of the chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Yasser Arafat, took longer. What they neglect to tell Batswana is that Arafat had been buried for years and his body had to be exhumed before the investigations commenced. Further that due to the many years of his burial it was difficult to trace the chemical thallium which was suspected to have been used to poison him. Also, the Arafat inquiry involved many countries and such international organizations as the United Nations (UN).

In another incredulous effort to hide the truth, some UDC operatives, either directly or through their proxies, state that the UDC should not release the Motswaledi report because the government has concealed the Scotland Yard’s report on the death of Segametsi Mogomotsi, the 14 year old school-girl whose killing on 6th November 1994 caused public unrest in Kgatleng as a result of suspicions that she was murdered for ritual purposes.

Is the UDC not the one which claims that unlike the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) government it will be transparent and accountable to the people? Should the UDC not be demonstrating this by doing what is right and releasing the Motswaledi report?  

The UDC has made claims that the reason government has refused to release the Segametsi Mogomotsi report is that high profile people linked to the BDP were involved in Segametsi Mogomotsi’s murder and government is protecting them. The UDC rubbished claims that it could have been in the interest of national security that the report was not released.
    
If the BDP is protecting some people by not releasing the Segametsi Mogomotsi report is the UDC not similarly protecting some people by concealing the Motswaledi report? Are allegations that Motswaledi was assassinated by some in the BMD and UDC who were threatened by his rising star too remote? What about the allegation that those responsible for Motswaledi’s death influenced some in the UDC and BMD leadership to block the release of the report?

Of late some in the UDC are claiming that perhaps the UDC is not releasing the report in the interest of national security. What national security? Should n’t that be government’s concern? Assuming such concerns are genuine, why are Batswana not informed of such instead of being kept in the dark?   

Could it be because the investigation has actually found that there was foul play in Motswaledi’s death and pointed within the UDC and BMD? Or it is because the investigation confirmed the Botswana Police Service’s finding that there was no foul play in Motswaledi’s death and the UDC concealed that from Batswana for purposes of elections?

Are reports that the UDC-commissioned investigation returned a report similar to that of the Botswana Police Service without merit? Or, as politicians and bureaucrats would say, it is neither in the public interest nor in the interest of national security to release the report.

Perhaps there is no truth in these allegations. Perhaps they are mere conspiracy theories, but failing to release such a sensitive report for about one and half years will certainly fuel such allegations.

The UDC and the Opposition in general should conduct itself with the same level of integrity and honesty that it requires of the BDP. If it were the BDP which has made such a colossal failure it will be the talk of freedom squares. Should it be swept under the carpet because it is the Opposition? No! It should not because truth is a constant and it should be told to everyone alike.

Why are the media, civil society and trade unions quite about the report? Do they know something we do not know or they, especially UDC’s ally, the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions (BOFEPUSU), are complicit in the UDC and BMD’s dereliction of duty?

Does truth change when it affects the UDC and the Opposition?  These institutions which are guardians of our democracy should speak truth to power even when it concerns their ally, for if the UDC is not held to the highest standards of accountability today when it is in opposition it can only graduate into a tyrant when it assumes state power.

I applaud the former President of the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), Gilson Saleshando and the BCP Youth League for going public with their demand that the UDC should release the Motswaledi report. Not surprisingly, UDC’s operatives and proxies are attacking the BCP claiming that the matter does not concern it. The truth is this is a national issue and it concerns all Batswana, including the BCP.

In the wake of Motswaledi’s death, Boko said “we can only give our assurance, which we guarantee with our lives, that we will continue on this course, because we are confident that any blood that is spilled in this endeavor will not be in vain…” If the UDC can fail, for one and half years, to release the report on the death of someone who sacrificed his life for it, would you not say Motswaledi spilled his blood in vain?

Boko continued to say, “We will walk this path with grace because the man we mourn today carried himself with such dignity and poise that there is no doubt in all of us that he immortalized himself.” If Motswaledi immortalized himself as he truly did for Batswana’s liberation, the least he expects is for Batswana to know how he died.

I have now come to the conclusion that it is reasonably possibly true that the UDC perpetuated the belief that Motswaledi was assassinated merely to gain sympathy votes when it actually never believed that to be true? If it believed such likelihood existed why has it seemingly abandoned the course?

Why has the UDC forsaken its very own at his greatest hour of need, at least for his legacy? The truth is that the UDC has forsaken Motswaledi because it used his death to gain votes and that purpose having been served it no longer needs him. But, the UDC should be ware for Batswana may punish it in 2019.

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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
Samson

… 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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‘RO, ‘RO ‘RO YOUR ‘BOT

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 www.willrobotstakemyjob.com    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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