When the Minister of Nationality Immigration and Gender Affairs issued notice declaring that Prophet Sherpherd Bushiri of the Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) will require a VISA to visit Botswana ahead of a planned church crusade scheduled for May 27th 2017 the message was received with mixed reactions.
There were some who celebrated the decision and wished he should have been slapped with an order declaring him a prohibited immigrant because they believe he is a fake prophet. On the other hand many will die for him because they believe he is a true Man of God.
Bushiri or “Major One” as is popularly known is a Malawian currently running his church mission in South Africa. The church attracts multitudes because many believe that he has extra-ordinary powers to perform miracles. In the process he has attracted both enemies and friends.
In our view there are lessons to be learnt from the case of Bushiri. We should be concerned that a citizen of SADC is listed under foreigners who are required to have a VISA to enter Botswana. What is even worrying is that the Minister is not required to give reasons for his action.
The current government frequently makes irrational decisions and easily gets away with it. They take advantage of weaknesses that are inherent among Batswana as a nation. The biggest weakness is that when an individual or a section of the population is under attack from the state we tend to look the other way – the adage of ga di nkame is evoked with ease.
This is not a question of whether Bushiri is a fake or messiah. The fundamental question is one of the basic human rights of a fellow African who preaches the word of God. Claims that he may be involved in criminal activities will remain as speculation unless he was charged and evidence presented before a competent court of law.
Before Bushiri one of the richest people in Africa Aliko Dangote was denied a VISA to set foot in the Republic of Botswana for reasons that were never disclosed. In the absence any reasons advanced one can only speculate that Dangote was blacklisted because he was a threat to business interests with close ties to the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP). When Dangote was denied a VISA the majority of Batswana among them followers of Bushiri decided to keep quite because they were not Nigerians.
In 2014 Julius Malema the leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was invited to be the guest speaker during the launch of Arafat Khan who was the council candidate for Borakalalo Ward in Molepolole. The Immigration Department would not grand him a VISA. Officials claimed that his application was delayed as it had to go through security vetting. His only crime was that in 2011 Malema had called for regime change in Botswana.
According to the EFF leader the country was pursuing policies that were inconsistent with the African agenda. Malema may be the only South African citizen listed under persons who require a VISA to enter Botswana. It is incredible to suggest that Malema could be a threat to national security.
A sizeable number of Batswana were of the view that Malema had no business in the internal affairs of the country. Fair enough, but the man was entitled to his views. Surprisingly the same president Khama who was angry and agitated about Malema’s utterances would later call for President Robert Mugabe to step down citing old age as the main reason.
He was basically calling for regime change in Zimbabwe. For their credit the Zimbabwean government never stooped so low as to impose VISA restrictions on President Khama. By denying Malema a visa to visit the country government of Botswana had over-reacted in an irrational manner.
When Malema was denied a visa some Batswana felt that it was none of their business because they were neither interested in politics and were not members or supporters of the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) either. Certainly among Batswana who failed to speak out when government denied VISA to an innocent South African were followers of Prophet Bushiri.
Another victim of the draconian and irrational immigration laws was the American Hollywood star Rick Yune. He has been put on a list of foreigners who require VISAs to visit Botswana. Since reasons were never provided we can only speculate that the main reason why he was put on the list was because he is a close friend of Duma Boko the Leader of the Opposition who is also the leader of UDC.
Yune’s fundamental right to associate with persons or organizations of his choice must be protected and respected by all irrespective of political affiliation. There is no doubt that among Batswana who felt that it was none of their business when Yune was denied a VISA were followers of Bushiri.
Before Yune and Malema, Gordon Bennett suffered the same fate. Bennett was a British lawyer representing residents of Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve (CKGR). The Basarwa community experienced constant persecution by the Botswana government. Bennett was denied a VISA ahead of a crucial court case between residents of CKGR and Botswana government in 2013.
By denying him a VISA his clients were denied the right to be represented by a lawyer of their choice. Before being put on a VISA restrictions Bennett had on three occasions successfully represented residents of CKGR and became victorious against government. As in the case of Malema and Yune many Batswana among them followers of Prophet Bushiri were uninterested since they were not residents of CKGR.
We are reminded of the famous quotation of Martin Niemoller (1892-1984), a respected Protestant pastor who was among the first Germans to speak publicly against the atrocities committed by the Nazis led by Adolf Hitler; “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out…….
Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out.
Because I am not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out…….
Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me……..and there was no one left to speak for me.”
As nation we ought to reflect on this and learn to speak out when the state attacks fellow human beings because any one can be the next on the firing line. Irrational persecution of innocent human beings must never be celebrated.
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.
… 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.
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”!