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Why Masisi may never become President

Ndulamo Anthony Morima

Section 35(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of Botswana (hereinafter referred to as the Constitution) provides that “whenever the President dies, resigns or ceases to hold office, the Vice-President shall assume office as President with effect from the date of the death, resignation or ceasing to be President”.

Section 35(1) of the Constitution is mirrored by clause 29.3.4 of the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) Constitution which provides that “in the event of a vacancy arising in the Presidency of the party at a time when the party is in power, the Vice President of Botswana shall automatically become the State and Party President”.  

In terms of the aforesaid constitutional provisions should His Excellency (HE) the President, Lieutenant General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, die, resign or cease to hold office His Honour (HH) the Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, shall automatically assume office as President.  

No wonder HH Masisi has defied tradition and has been buoyant in stating that he shall be President when HE Khama retires, presumably on 31st March 2018. But, is it a foregone conclusion that HH Masisi will be President? In this article, we argue that it is not a foregone conclusion.

Firstly, the BDP government may, at the instance of the anti-Masisi camp, amend the Constitution and repeal the automatic succession clause before 31st March 2018. This is possible considering the fact that there are many in the BDP who believe that HH Masisi was handed the Vice Presidency before he was politically mature. This camp believes that HH Masisi lacks the political gravitas to lead the BDP to victory in 2019.

Many believe that the reason the President went to court after the 2014 general elections to attempt to retain the Parliamentary Standing Orders which provided for voting for the Vice President, Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly to be done by show of hands is that he feared that if voting is by secret ballot HH Masisi would not be endorsed by Parliament owing to his lack of popular support.  

Second, the BDP, still at the instance of the anti-Masisi camp, may amend clause 29.1 of its Constitution before 31st March 2018. Clause 29.1 of the BDP Constitution provides that “when the party is in power the President of the party shall be elected by secret ballot at the National Congress of the party called by the Central Committee during every general election year…” In the same breath, the BDP could also amend clause 29.3.4 aforesaid.

If clauses 29.1 and 29.3.4 of the BDP Constitution are amended to provide that elections for the President of the Party are held before the incumbent party President steps down as State President and to bring an end to automatic succession, HH Masisi would not succeed HE Khama via automatic succession if he loses the party presidential elections.

As per clause 29.3.2 of the BDP Constitution it is the winner of the party presidential elections who will succeed the state president. Clause 29.3.2 of the BDP Constitution provides that “the person so elected, if other than the incumbent, shall be styled the President Designate of the party, becoming the Party President upon the predecessor lawfully vacating that position. The President Designate shall become the Party’s Presidential candidate in the forthcoming national elections.”           

The question is: can anyone beat HH Masisi for the BDP presidency? Reportedly, those who wish to challenge HH Masisi for the presidency are Tshekedi Khama II, Nonofo Molefhi, Jacob Nkate, Ramadeluka Seretse, Tebelelo Seretse and Robert Masitara.

There is no doubt that if Minister of Environment, Wildlife & Tourism, Honourable Tshekedi Khama II, decides to challenge HH Masisi he is likely to win the BDP presidency by mere fact of being HE Khama’s brother. Those who believe Tshekedi Khama II should challenge HH Masisi believe that considering the strength of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC), especially if it were to enter into a coalition with the Botswana Congress Party (BCP), it is only Tshekedi Khama II who can assure the BDP of victory in 2019.

Reportedly, the other serious threat to HH Masisi’s ascension to the presidency is Minister of Infrastructure, Science & Technology, Honourable Nonofo Molefhi, who has the support of many in the BDP as shown by the many votes he garnered at the Mmadinare congress where he was elected Additional Member. In fact, some highly placed sources in the BDP Central Committee claim that he was HE Khama’s first choice of Vice President, but he declined the offer.

But the truth is that if Tshekedi Khama II stands Nonofo Molefhi is unlikely to win. The same applies to Jacob Nkate who, despite having been party Secretary General and held various ministerial portfolios and is currently serving as Botswana’s ambassador to Japan until October 2016, would still fall short because of the Khama factor.
Considering Ngwato tradition and practice, Ramadeluka Seretse and Tebelelo Seretse, though strong contenders in their own right, are unlikely to beat their Chief’s younger brother, Tshekedi Khama II. Also, considering the gender stereotypes that still bedevil our society, as a woman, Tebelelo Seretse is unlikely to be elected president. As an outsider, former Member of Parliament (MP) for Gaborone West North, Robert Masitara’s chances are almost non-existent.

Third, HE Khama may, in terms of sections 34(1) and (3) of the Constitution, serve as President until the election of the President after the 2019 general elections. Section 34(1) of the Constitution provides that “the President shall, subject to the provision of this section, hold office for an aggregate period not exceeding 10 years beginning from the date of his first assumption of office of President after the commencement of this Act.”

Section 34 (3) of the Constitution provides that “the President shall cease to hold office of President at the expiry of the period prescribed under subsection (1) of this section, or when the person elected at the next election of President following a dissolution of Parliament assumes office”.

Consequently, HE Khama is not compelled by the Constitution to leave office on 31st March 2018 as some may believe. That HE Khama’s predecessor, HE Festus Mogae, left office before the general elections was a mere practice set by the BDP to allow its Vice President to succeed the President in order to enhance its chances of success at the general elections.

If HE Khama serves the rest of his term as president, HH Masisi will have to win the BDP presidential elections before he can become the State President. And as shown above, he is unlikely to win such elections, especially if he stands against Honourable Tshekedi Khama II, even Honourable Nonofo Molefhi.

Therefore, when all is said and done HH Masisi may only really serve as a regent for HE Khama’s brother, Tshekedi Khama II. HE Khama is not known for abandoning his own and I am still not convinced that he will really leave office without any plan for his brothers.

Even HE Khama’s other brother, Anthony Khama, who is Tshekedi Khama II’s twin brother,  is likely to be brought into the equation through the Specially Elected Member of Parliament (SEMP) provision. This is probably the reason why the BDP plans to increase the number of SEMPs as well as cabinet ministers and assistant ministers.    

Fourth, even if HH Masisi wins the BDP presidential elections, the BDP is likely to lose the 2019 general elections to the UDC, especially if the UDC enters into a coalition with the BCP and the Botswana Federation of Public Service Unions(BOFEPUSU) does not suffer further loses after Botswana Public Employees Union(BOPEU)’s disaffiliation.  

In the result, HH Masisi may be well advised that instead of creating enemies by asserting that he will be President when HE Khama leaves office, he should spend his efforts in unifying the party behind him and coming up with meaningful strategies to attract the voters who did forsake it for the UDC in 2014.

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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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