On Thursday 15th June 2017, on Duma FM at around 19.00 hours Botsalo Ntuane who is the Secretary General of the ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) repeated the party’s usual cheap political talk. He claimed that the opposition parties in Botswana have no alternative policies to those of the BDP. He further asserted that opposition parties are just protest movement without alternative policies to those of the BDP.
President Khama on several occasions in his usual unguarded careless talks claimed that opposition parties have contributed nothing to the development of this country. He is on record saying opposition parties only know how to criticize BDP but offer no solutions to the challenges facing Botswana.
First of all we don’t know if BDP has any policies to talk about. What we know is that the BDP government implements policies developed by the public servants. They do not have a policy development or review structure that feeds the government with policies as it is done elsewhere. In South Africa or Zimbabwe the party initiates policies and feed them into the public service for implementation.
In Botswana the reverse is true. Ntuane is on record expressing concern over the situation where the BDP rubberstamps policies initiated by public servants. This is why BDP can without shame and embarrassment claim that it was the IEC which came up with a policy/law on Electronic Voting Machine (EVM). That is why the BDP claims no knowledge and hence invited Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) to Tonata to explain the EVM.
What is interesting is that government and the President have gone so far as to sign EVM into the law while their party had no idea what it is all about. Otherwise, Ntuane should confirm and confess that the BDP Policy structure discussed and decided on EVM.
In fact, BDP is failing Batswana because it has no carefully researched and practical policies. We understand that both President Khama and the BDP new generation, who are fond of insulting opposition parties, are political novices. They do not know much about where this country has achieved with the help of Opposition policies. For their information, there are scores of policies that were originated by opposition parties. Such policies have made huge impact in making this country what it is today.
As far back as 1970s the opposition had started advocating for free education policy. Past election manifestos of the Botswana National Front (BNF) bare testimony to this historical fact. The proposal faced fears resistance from the ruling party. After ten years the BDP reluctantly acceded to the demand on account of mounting political pressure. They have since re-introduced school fees.
Another example is the policy on drawing water from Chobe and Okavango rivers to the eastern part of the country mainly for irrigation, proposed by the BNF in 1967. It took the BDP government more than forty years to begin considering the proposal. Five years after announcing the implementation of Zambezi Integrate Agro-commercial development not much has happened. Part of the reason is that because of government indecision countries that share the waters of Zambezi are presenting challenges. The international laws on shared resources have tightened over the years.
The policy on diversifying the beef industry including using meat, bones, blood, skins to make leather products and create jobs, which BDP is currently trying to implement but failing as in the “Lobatse Leather Park Project” was advocated by Opposition BNF in the 1960s and 1970s, and subsequently by Botswana Congress Party (BCP) in the 1990s.
Adoption of education with production or a strong Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) was initiated by opposition parties –BNF, BPP, BIP, and BCP. Even Lesedi la Botswana (of the late Mrs. Eitlhophe Mosinyi) advocated for the policy. It is only now that BDP is struggling with this approach to education, but again unsuccessfully.
There are many more policies and initiatives that came from the opposition like the Establishment of IEC, Reforms of Electoral Law in 1997, Payment of Old Age Pension, Reforms of Labor Laws, Freedom of Information Law, Funding of political parties, proportional representation, etc some of which BDP is refusing to adopt. If Botswana Peoples Party (BPP) had not advocated for the introduction of a national army Khama would have joined a growing population of the unemployed back then.
Lately in the 2014 Elections, BCP came up with a number of policy options which BDP is now trying to copy and implement. The BCP Manifesto used the slogan “Bring Back our Jobs”. BDP has now agreed that it has been selling jobs by exporting unprocessed goods. The slow learning BDP is now talking about processing and beneficiation of all products including minerals. The Vegetable Processing Plant in Selibe Phikwe and Leather Park in Lobatse are but borrowed policies which the BDP corruption-ridden government cannot even implement properly.
If you look at policies originated from opposition, you will immediately see the quality and impact of these on the country’s development. Clearly both Khama and Ntuane are either ignorant, uninformed or they want to continue to reap from opposition policies because they are intellectually challenged. In short the main originators of government policy are the opposition and public servants.
What Ntuane also confessed in the same Duma FM interview was that, “for the first time in the history of Botswana, the BDP is facing difficulties running this country”. True. BDP is currently facing a leadership crisis of a monumental magnitude. They are corrupt and fighting over who is corrupt and who is not corrupt. Newspaper stories (12 -17 June) reported on how Biggie Butale escaped a trap by another faction of BDP using Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC).
Prince Maele a Minister implicated in acts of corruption confessed that some of his “Cabinet Colleagues” are corrupt because they were fighting him for cancelling a P5 Billion North-South Water Pipe-line Tender. President Khama’s Wilderness and Air Botswana’s privatization added the last evidence of corruption of BDP leadership just under a period of one week.
In short, the BDP is “finished”. Talks like those of President Khama and Ntuane are the “last kicks of a dying horse –ke go ragaraga ga bofelo ga pitse e e swang”. Efforts to stop party elections through a compromise list are indeed examples of a party in crisis which is trying to cover up the possibility of another major split. BDP is at a stage which they used to refer to when talking about the minority regimes of Ian Smith in Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa as the last kicks of a dying horse. For them we say mene-mene -tekele- upharasin – the writing is on the wall.
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”!