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Masisi deserves commendation for suspending Morupisi

NDULAMO ANTHONY MORIMA
EAGLE WATCH

Writing for Botswana Daily News, Botswana Press Agency (BOPA)’s Keone Kealeboga, on 3rd September 2019, reported that ‘…Morupisi, his wife, Pinny Morupisi, and her company R7 Group, briefly appeared before Regional Magistrate – South yesterday on charges of abuse of office, receiving a bribe and money laundering…’

He continued to report that ‘Morupisi and his co-accused were read their charges, but their pleas were reserved…’, stating that ‘…on the count of abuse of office, Morupisi is alleged to have on 11 November 2014, while holding the position of board chairperson  of the Botswana Public Officers Pension Fund (BPOPF), without authority and final resolution of the board, signed a contract with Capital Management Botswana (CMB) on behalf of the pension fund, authorising CMB to administer BPOPF funds…’

He further reported that ‘…On the charge of acceptance of bribery by a public officer, particulars of the offence are that while employed as PSP and therefore a public officer, Morupisi, signed a contract with CMB on behalf of BPOPF and on 11 May 2017 acting together with his wife, received on behalf of R7 Group, a valuable consideration in the form of a Toyota Land Cruiser Pick-Up….’

Kealeboga further reported that ‘…The third count, that of money laundering, jointly charges the first and second accused, Morupisi and R7 Group. The particulars are that on 15 May 2017, the two accused laundered an amount of R630 988 (P462 260) which was proceeds of crime…’ On 4th September 2019, the Botswana Daily News reported that ‘The Office of the President informs the public that the president Dr Mokgweetsi Masisi has suspended the Permanent Secretary to the President Mr Carter Morupisi from office with effect from 2nd September 2019.’

Before I proceed with this article, I wish to state that Morupisi, like every citizen of this country, is to be presumed to be innocent until proven guilty. This is a constitutional right that every human being, including Morupisi, is entitled to. Therefore, in the absence of compelling reasons as to why he should have been denied bail, the argument that he should have been denied bail simply because other people charged with similar offences before were denied bail cannot be sustained.

In deciding to admit him to bail, the Court was enjoined to consider no other factor than the nature and seriousness of the offence; the likelihood or otherwise of him leaving Botswana before trial; whether or not he would be likely to be imprisoned should he be convicted and the question generally of what sentence or other measure would be likely to be passed in the event of conviction; as well as his character, antecedents, associations and community ties.

The other factors are whether or not he has fulfilled his obligations where he has, in any previous criminal proceedings, if any, been granted bail; and the strength of the case likely to be made out against him. I have faith in our justice system, and believe that the fact that Morupisi was admitted to bail means that he was deserving of bail. So, the suggestion that he was somehow favoured in being admitted to bail is not justified. The same applies to the argument that H.E Dr. Masisi should have dismissed Morupisi from work outright. What if he is later discharged and/or acquitted?

Morupisi, like all citizens, is entitled to due process. Even if he is convicted of the criminal charges he faces, he is to be accorded due process with respect to his rights as an employee. For instance, he is entitled to the right to a hearing before any adverse action is taken against him. In fact, strictly speaking, he should have been accorded the right to a hearing even before his suspension. Advisedly, Morupisi should have been written a letter requiring him to show cause why he should not be suspended.

The foregoing notwithstanding, I am of the view that H.E Dr. Masisi acted prudently in suspending Morupisi considering the sensitive position he holds. As PSP Morupisi is effectively the administrative president and continuing in office during his case would be perilous not only for the investigations, but also for government generally.  

Following Morupisi’s suspension, social media was abuzz with several conspiracy theories. Some claimed that nothing will ultimately happen to Morupisi since this is a political stunt calculated to position H.E Dr. Masisi as intolerant of corruption and ready to take action against any person, including his allies. They say the fact that this comes less than two months before the general elections is intended to have the matter fresh on Batswana’s minds when they go to the polls on 23rd October 2019 so that they vote for Masisi’s Botswana Democratic Party (BDP).

According to this theory, H.E Dr. Masisi conspired with the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) and the Directorate on Public Prosecutions (DPP) to conjure up fake charges against Morupisi to present himself as a champion of the fight against corruption in order to win votes. For this theory to be true, it would mean that Morupisi would have agreed to sacrifice himself and his wife for the sake of H.E Dr. Masisi’s political career. It would mean that he is prepared to destroy his reputation for the sake of securing H.E Dr. Masisi’s political career.

Of course, Morupisi has demonstrated his loyalty to H.E Dr. Masisi, and has gone to great lengths to defend him, especially in relation to his tussle with former president Lieutenant General Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, but can he be so naïve as to go to such an extent as to almost irreparably destroy his and his family’s life and legacy?    

For this conspiracy theory to be true, it would mean that the DCEC and the DPP are so much politicised and under H.E Dr. Masisi’s whims that they would let themselves to be weaponised for political purposes. Granted, the manner in which the directors of the DCEC and the DPP are appointed does not guarantee their independence from the Executive, especially the state President in whom resides the sole power to appoint them, but can they go to such folly, especially knowing how robustly their action will be scrutinised by our vigilant judiciary?  

Though politicians are often prepared to go to any length to secure their political careers, can H.E. Dr. Masisi really go to such an extent? Does he really need to go to such an extent to secure his presidency? Is his presidency really at stake that he needs to risk this much? Is there really a lot at stake in this year’s general elections to warrant such callous action by him?

In my view, I do not think Morupisi would be so much blinded by loyalty to H.E Dr. Masisi that he would voluntarily inflict such irreparable harm on himself and his family, especially considering the political ambitions his wife and him apparently have. Similarly, I do not think the directors and agents of the DCEC and DPP can be so foolish as to let themselves be used in such a way.

I also do not think there is any threat to H.E Dr. Masisi’s presidency as to go to such level of desperation. As I have argued elsewhere, I think the BDP is almost guaranteed of victory in this year’s general elections, something that will ensure that H.E Dr. Masisi continues as president. In my view, therefore, those who are spreading the conspiracy theories surrounding Morupisi’s suspension are doing so to minimise the admirable action that H.E Dr. Masisi has taken which is in keeping with good governance.

 
We have always called for such action to be taken when high profile individuals were facing corruption allegations and or charges. We cannot now ascribe such commendable action to malice or malady in order to minimise H.E Dr. Masisi’s achievement. You would remember that after assuming office in April 2018, H.E Dr. Masisi left, out of his inaugural cabinet, some people who were facing corruption allegations. In doing so he did not say those are guilty, but he demonstrated his commitment to good governance, knowing full well that even mere allegations surrounding such a steward as a government minister had far reaching consequences for the country.

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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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