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Battle for the Presidency: Masisi vs Tshekedi Khama II

Ndulamo Anthony Morima

Since His Honour (HH) the Vice President, Mokgweetsi Masisi, was elected Vice President (VP) becoming constitutionally entitled to automatically succeed President Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama,  many, even within the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP), have expressed misgivings about him.

Consequently, as soon as the 2014 general elections were over, names began emerging of those who either intended or were being lobbied to challenge HH Masisi, first for the party Chairpersonship and later for the party Presidency and therefore the state Presidency.

Among these names are Tshekedi Khama II, Ramadeluka Seretse, Tebelelo Seretse, Jacob Nkate, Boyce Sebetlela, Robert Masitara and Honourable Nonofo Molefhi. Last week we discussed the possible battle between HH Masisi and Honourable Molefhi. This week we consider the possible battle between HH Masisi and Tshekedi Khama II.

Reportedly, though many in the BDP would not prefer Honourable Khama II as Chairperson, state Vice President or President, they are prepared to settle for him because of the Khama personality cultism which puts him in better stead to secure electoral success for the BDP than all other candidates.  

Clearly, therefore, many, especially in the BDP, who would want Honourable Khama II to ascend to the state Presidency, are motivated not necessarily by the country’s interests but by political party interests. But, party politics aside, who between HH Masisi and Honourable Khama II is better suited for the state presidency? In this article, I attempt to answer this question. Before answering the question HH Masisi and Honourable Khama II’s foot prints are examined.     

Who is Tshekedi Khama II? Tshekedi Khama II is the younger brother to President Khama. According to Wikipedia, as accessed on 26th January 2017 at 2.30 pm, he holds a Diploma from the Institute of Development Management.

He first entered Parliament as a Specially Elected Member of Parliament for Serowe North West constituency in 2008 and has been in Parliament since after winning the elections in 2009. He has, since 2012, served as Minister for Environment, Wildlife and Tourism, recently relabeled Ministry of Environment, Natural Resources, Conservation and Tourism.

But, how does Honourable Khama II compare with HH Masisi? An Orator and poverty eradication activist, especially when he was at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs & Public Administration, HH Masisi was initially trained as a teacher majoring in English and History. In 1984 he taught at Mmanaana Secondary School in Moshupa.

In 1987, HH Masisi transferred to the department of Curriculum Development and Evaluation (CD&E) and worked as Social Studies Curriculum Specialist. He studied at graduate level at Florida State University in the United States, in 1989, specializing in Social Studies Education and Instructional Systems Design.

In 1990 he re-joined CD&E and oversaw Social Studies and other subjects. There, he became the National Coordinator for Social Studies Education and Botswana's representative at the African Social and Environmental Studies Program (ASESP) and Board member for Environmental Education Association of Southern Africa (EEASA) for more than five years.

HH Masisi then joined UNICEF in 1995 as Education Project Officer and he resigned to join politics in 2003. He lost the BDP primary elections for Moshupa constituency in the run up to the 2004 general elections. He, however, won the 2008 primary elections and went on to win the constituency in the 2009 general elections.  

He was appointed as Assistant Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration in October 2009. In January 2011 he was appointed as Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration. HH Masisi became Acting Minister of Education and Skills Development in April 2014. This appointment was made substantive on 28th October 2014. He was elected Vice President on 12th November 2014, but also continued serving as Minister of Education and Skills Development for some time.

The question is: considering the aforesaid foot-prints, who is better suited for the state presidency than the other? No doubt, HH Masisi’s academic profile and career experience is more colorful than that of Honourable Khama II. Politically, though both were born into powerful BDP families, neither HH Masisi nor Honourable Khama II has a history of political party activism. Neither had held a position in the BDP Central Committee before 2015.  

While HH Masisi joined Parliament in 2009, Honourable Khama II joined Parliament in 2008. Very little, therefore, separates the two in terms of legislative experience. Both have solid voter support in their constituencies. While Honourable Khama II joined cabinet in 2012, HH Masisi joined in 2009. HH Masisi, therefore, has more Executive experience. Also, the fact that HH Masisi has been Vice President for about two years now makes him more experienced in the affairs of the Executive than Honourable Khama II.

While HH Masisi has, as a powerful tool, the art of oration, Honourable Khama II is limited in that regard probably because his Setswana diction is limited. Both, however, are lacking in the art of persuasion and consensus building.As stated last week, HH Masisi’s worst attributes are his perceived anti-labour stance and anti-media tendencies which came to the fore, especially when he was Minister of Presidential Affairs & Public Administration. But, do we really know Honourable Khama II’s positions on these issues and such other issues as gender equality and minority rights? Perhaps we do not because he has not held positions that deal with them.

What we know about Honourable Khama II is that he is often absent from Parliament during Parliamentary sessions. This is a red flag because it may be because he does not value discussions, persuasion and consensus building. I say it is a red flag because these are corner stones of democracy and any person who undermines them is likely to be a despot.

Testimony has been given to the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises by senior officers from his ministry that he practices nepotism and victimization. Senior officers have had their contracts of employment terminated under questionable circumstances.

There have also been reports that when he was asked to come and testify before the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises he declined to do so until the committee’s chairperson, Honourable Samson Guma Moyo, threatened to subpoena him.

This is a cause for concern since he may be someone who does not respect authority and is unwilling to demean himself to the laws of our country. These are signs of someone who can be above the law, especially when they assume the Office of President which is constitutionally bestowed with absolute immunity from prosecution.

Oral tradition has it that his uncle, Tshekedi Khama, the one whose name has been bequeathed upon him, was a despot. We also learnt that he ill-treated the Kgalanga so much that there developed the saying ‘Tshekedi o no muka’ meaning Tshekedi will awake which was used to scare the Kgalanga when ‘misbehaving.’ If these accounts are true, one can only pray that Honourable Khama II does not follow in his uncle’s footsteps.  

Both HH Masisi and Honourable Khama II are hard workers. One may not have agreed with his policies and strategies, but during his tenure as Minister of Presidential Affairs & Public Administration HH Masisi traversed the country on such campaigns as the poverty eradication campaign.

Though many condemned his appointment to cabinet stating that it was influenced by nepotism since he was appointed by his brother, Honourable Khama II has worked hard in environmental conservation and tourism. He has not taken things for granted because of the comfort that his position in cabinet is secured.

In the whole, therefore, HH Masisi excels over Honourable Khama II with respect to academic profile; career experience and executive experience. They are tied with respect to legislative experience; grassroots support and passion for work. Both are lacking in persuasion and consensus building which I regard as the most important attributes of a good leader. That notwithstanding, the decisive factors are likely to be incumbency and the Khama personality cultism in favour of HH Masisi and Honourable Khama II respectively.

The latter, which, in 2019, may be inseparably linked to the BDP’s electoral survival, is likely to prevail unless there is a serious campaign to stop it as the Americans recently did by overlooking Donald Trump’s iniquities and voting for him to curtail the Bush and Clinton personality cults.

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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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