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Open Letter To Mp Dorcas Makgato

KESITEGILE GOBOTSWANG (PHD)
BCP DEPUTY LEADER


Goledzwa, Member of Parliament for Sefhare-Ramokgonami and Minister of Health and Wellness.  I hope this will find you in good health. Let me hasten to give credit where it is due. Your crusade against Non-Communicable Diseases through regular physical exercise cannot go un-noticed. However, you need to give diet equal attention. Batswana need a robust relentless message from your high office to moderate consumption of food high in sugar, fat and salt.

It was nice interacting with you at your recent tour of the constituency. I must confess that I attended and participated in one meeting and observed another one from a distance. The purpose of this communication is to give you feedback on my general observation regarding progress in respect of the most pressing issues in the constituency and how you and your team are addressing them.

At your first meeting it was easy to notice that you were in a mean mood as you walked into a packed Sefhare Kgotla, on January 8th 2018. The fainthearted would have been intimidated by your disposition.  As the meeting progressed, especially during question and answer time I found you to be confrontational, argumentative and defensive.  At some point you displayed an element of intolerance.  

I am aware that during your previous round of consultations you had a nasty encounter when a former BCL employee confronted you with tough uncomfortable questions at Ramokgonami Kgotla meeting. You were forced to act in a manner that was inconsistent with the notion of mafoko a kgotla a mantle otlhe – mmualebe o bua la gagwe. It is said you grabbed the microphone from the gentleman leaving the local residents baffled but certainly not amused.  

Of all the issues that seem to make you irritable there was one in particular. You showed anger and frustration when you talked about an incident involving damage to a water pipeline belonging to Water Utilities Corporation (WUC). Using your political lens you saw political sabotage in a clear act of criminality. Criminals must never be absolved for whatever reason. In any case can you present tangible evidence to support your serious claim?

To your credit Sefhare-Ramokgonami constituency was one of the first to launch and complete an Economic Stimulus Project (ESP). Unfortunately the much publicised twenty five (25) houses constructed at Machaneng two years ago remain vacant. Government is incurring costs maintaining the houses as they are frequently vandalized. From your response to a question raised it was clear that government does not have an immediate solution to the problem.  

Another issue that you are always confronted with is high teacher-student ration in schools. The return of former BCL mine workers and their families have exacerbated the problem. Like the ESP housing project you seemed to be clueless on a lasting solution to the problem at hand. Another issue that I know makes you uncomfortable whenever you visit the constituency is the chronic shortage of portable water. In your presentation there was no mention of connecting the Tswapong villages into the North South Water pipeline.

You certainly did not take it well when there was a suggestion that to their credit Ntlo Ya Dikgosi adopted a motion by Kgosi Galeakanye Modise of Tswapong Region calling on government to consider connecting the Tswapong villages to the pipeline. You were quick to remind residents that government and not Ntlo Ya Dikgosi was the originator of the proposal, way back during the time of Ponatshego Kedikilwe former Minister of Mineral Resources and Water Affairs.  

I am aware that you strongly believe that Ntlo Ya Dikgosi had crossed the line by addressing an issue you feel is not within their constitutional mandate. Surprisingly you could not explain why it has taken government more than ten years to translate the idea into a practical outcome.  

As usual I never miss an opportunity to advocate for an old age pension that is reflective of a country in the upper middle income category such as Botswana. For Botswana to be paying an old age pension that is far below what Namibia pays cannot be justified. Lesotho, which is one of the poorest countries in the SADC region, pays a higher old age pension than Botswana.

Your opposition against a better old age pension for Batswana was amazing as it was full of contradictions.  When you said Lesotho could afford to pay their citizens a better old age pension because in your view the country is a failed state, you really shocked me.  It was a bizarre way of arguing your point to buttress the suggestion. I did not get it either when you said comparing Botswana with Namibia is like comparing apples and oranges because in your view Namibia has poor social welfare system since they don’t provide free education, free health services, free ARVs, and absence of subsidies.

Your view was contradictory in the sense that you also said that if a proposal was presented to parliament to increase the current old age pension you would support it. Let me remind you that Hon. Dithapelo Keorapetse, MP for Selibe Phikwe West is to re-table a motion on old age pension in February. We hope you will give it unconditional support.   

I am happy that you are finally convinced that residents of Sefhare-Ramokgonami deserve unrestricted access to Limpopo River by creating a buffer zone between Limpopo and commercial farms. Please note that Ministry of Justice and Security and Ministry of Immigration and Gender Affairs are addressing security challenges presented by lack of access to Tuli Block commercial farms. 

On the other hand in 2015 the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development started consultations with key stakeholders over a paper entitled “Proposal for Declaration of Tuli Block Planning Area.” These initiatives must be reconciled to address the needs of local communities.

In respect of government promise to construct a Sub-District Rural Administration Centre in the area you seem to have your facts wrong. I stand to be corrected but all the NDP 11 documents that I have seen show that there is absolutely no plan for a Sub-District during the plan.  

GOOOD LUCK AND BE WELL.

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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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