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Is Botswana headed for a hung Parliament (Part 2)?


Unlike in 2014 when it was clear that either the Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) or Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC) would win the general elections, this year it is not clear, with some opining that we may have a hung Parliament.

In this series, which was initially intended to have two parts but will now have more, we attempt to interrogate this issue. Last week, we attempted to answer this question by making deductions from the political parties’ historical performance at the polls, starting from 1965. From this week onwards, we attempt to answer this question by considering the threat to the BDP, if any, posed by the UDC (with the Botswana Congress Party (BCP)) in collaboration with the Botswana Patriotic Front (BPF), albeit without the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) and the Alliance for Progressives (AP).

We propose to answer this question by considering two main factors. The first is the constituencies which the BDP unexpectedly lost to the UDC in 2014, the question being whether the UDC will retain them or the BDP will wrestle them back. The second is the Opposition held constituencies generally, the question being whether the Opposition will retain them or the BDP will win them. Of course, in dealing with both these factors, the BCP, BMD and BPF factors will be considered.

This week, we consider whether the UDC will retain the constituencies it unexpectedly wrestled from the BDP in 2014? These constituencies are Gaborone Bonnington North, Gaborone Bonnington South, Gaborone North, Ghanzi North, Mogoditshane, Molepolole North, Molepolole South, and Tlokweng. In Gaborone Bonnington North, the BDP’s Robert Masitara lost to the UDC’s Duma Boko with 4,222 to 7,694 votes, loosing with a whopping 3,472 votes. The BCP’s Anna Motlhagodi garnered a respectable 2,387 votes.

In Gaborone Bonnington South, the BDP’s Botsalo Ntuane lost to the UDC’s Ndaba Gaolatlhe with 3,597 to 6,646 votes, loosing with a whopping 3, 049 votes. The BCP’s Abbey Chengeta garnered 1,318 votes. In Gaborone North, the BDP’s Keletso Rakhudu lost to the UDC’s Haskins Nkaigwa with 4,109 to 5,738 votes, loosing with a whopping 1,629 votes. The BCP’s Motsei Rapelana garnered a decent 3,157 votes. In Ghanzi North, the BDP’s Johnnie Swarts lost to the UDC’s Noah Salakae with 3,685 to 3,999 votes, loosing with a respectable 314 votes.

In Mogoditshane, the BDP’s Patrick Masimolole lost to the UDC’s Sedirwa Kgoroba with 3,786 to 4,180 votes, loosing with a respectable 394 votes. The BCP’s MacDonald Rakgare garnered an impressive 3,846 votes. In Molepolole North, the BDP’s Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri lost to the UDC’s Mohammed Khan with 5,990 to 8,854 votes, loosing with a whopping 2,864 votes. An Independent Candidate, Nonofo Mosung, got a meagre 121 votes.

In Molepolole South, the BDP’s Daniel Kwelagobe lost to the UDC’s Dr. Tlamelo Mmatli with 5,580 to 5,967 votes, loosing with a respectable 387 votes. An Independent Candidate, Majalemotho Molefe, got a meagre 200 votes. In Tlokweng, the BDP’s Olebile Gaborone lost to the UDC’s Same Bathobakae with 3,867 to 6,442 votes, loosing with a whopping 2,575 votes. The BCP’s Jacob Zachariah garnered a decent 1,195 votes.

If regard is had to the 2014 voting margins, one may conclude that the UDC would most likely retain the Gaborone Bonnington North, Gaborone Bonnington South, Gaborone North, Molepolole North and Tlokweng constituencies. Matlhabaphiri’s demise makes the UDC’s chances of retaining Molepolole North even more likely.

But a lot has happened since 2014. The BMD and AP are no longer part of the UDC; the Botswana Federation of Public Sector Trade Unions (BOFEPUSU) is no longer as fiercely opposed to the BDP government as it was in 2014, and public servants are no longer as aggrieved as they were pre-2014. Dr. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, who was despised by many for, inter alia, trampling press freedom and workers rights, is no longer president; Colonel Isaac Kgosi is no longer Director General of the once feared Directorate on Intelligence & Security Services, etc.

Because the AP is no longer part of the UDC, two Opposition giants, the AP’s Ndaba Gaolatlhe and the UDC’s Ketlhalefile Motshegwa, will be contesting against each other for the Gaborone Bonnington South constituency, something which can only split the Opposition’s votes in favour of the BDP. Fortunately for the UDC and the AP, however, this may be mitigated by the fact that while the UDC may benefit from the over a thousand votes brought by the BCP, both candidates, especially the AP’s Motshegwa, may benefit from the vote by labour though it may be reduced compared to 2014.

Also, their BDP contender, Mr. Christian Nthuba, is unlikely to be much of a challenge to either of them, especially considering the fact that he may not get full support from his party because his challenger during the party’s primary elections, Mr. Pelonomi Bantsi, did not accept the results, impugning the procedure before and during elections. In Gaborone Bonnington North, UDC president, who is also president of the Botswana National Front (BNF), Advocate Duma Boko, seems to be safe. The then BDP’s Robert Masitara who trailed him in 2014 is not contesting this year.

Anna Motlhagodi, who challenged Adv. Boko under the BCP banner in 2014, is standing under the BDP this year, but considering that he beat her with a resounding 5,307 votes, it is unlikely that she can win against him this year, even in view of the BMD and AP factor. No doubt, Adv. Boko will benefit a great deal from the BCP’s over 2,000 votes.  

In Gaborone North, though there will be no vote splitting between the UDC and BCP as was the case in 2014, the UDC’s Nkaigwa will have a serious challenge from the BDP’s Secretary General, Mpho Balopi, whose position in the party, proximity to His Excellency the President, Dr. Mokgweetsi Eric Masisi, and access to resources may give him an urge over Nkaigwa.

Also, Nkaigwa, who resigned from the AP as recently as March this year, is likely to suffer a backlash from AP voters, something which can only benefit the BDP. Nkaigwa is also unlikely to enjoy any favour from some members of the BMD since he abandoned it for the AP. In Molepolole North, the death of the BDP’s Matlhabaphiri may have opened the doors for UDC’s Khan’s second term in Parliament. Matlhabaphiri’s replacement, Mr. Oabile Regoeng, is, in my view, no match to Khan. 

In my view, the BMD and AP’s departure from the UDC is unlikely to deplete the 8,854 votes that Khan garnered in 2014. On the contrary, though the BCP did not contest the seat in 2014, it is likely to bring in some votes for the UDC. In Tlokweng, the death of Same Bathobakae is, in my view, unlikely to lead to the BDP wrestling the seat from the UDC. This is because Bathobakae’s successor, Kenneth Masego Segokgo, has held fort very well, and is unlikely to be defeated by the BDP’s Elijah Katse.

In 2017, when a bye election was held following Bathobakae’s untimely death, Kenneth Masego Segokgo garnered a whopping 4, 634 votes against 2 156 and 57 votes for the BDP’s Elijah Katse and Independent candidate, Shirley Segokgo, respectively. In my view, therefore, even without the BMD and AP factors and BOFEPUSU’s support, the UDC is unlikely to lose the 2,156 votes it beat the BDP with in 2014.

In Mogoditshane, Independent candidate, Tshepang Mabaila, is likely to split the BDP votes in favour of the UDC’s Sedirwa Kgoroba, something which will be detrimental to the BDP’s MacDonald Rakgare. Kgoroba is also likely to relish from some of the 3,846 votes which MacDonald Rakgare garnered in 2014 under the BCP.  So, of the constituencies it wrestled from the BDP in 2014, the UDC is likely to retain Gaborone Bonnington North, Gaborone Bonnington South, Gaborone North, Molepolole North, Tlokweng and Mogoditshane, putting 6 seats in the bag.  But the same cannot be said about Ghanzi North and Molepolole South.

In Ghanzi North, Noah Salakae beat the BDP’s Johnnie Swartz by a mere 314 votes. In my view, though Swartz is not contesting the elections this year, Salakae’s position may be precarious in view of the BMD and AP factor. Worse still, the BDP’s Johane Thiite, who got an impressive 1,593 votes during Bulela Ditswe, is likely to pose a significant challenge to Salakae.  In Molepolole South, Dr. Tlamelo Mmatli, then of the UDC, beat the BDP’s Daniel Kwelagobe by a mere 387 votes. In my view, though Kwelagobe is not contesting the elections this year, Dr. Tlamelo Mmatli, who left the UDC with the BMD, is unlikely to return to Parliament.

Not only has he lost UDC’s votes, he has also lost AP’s votes, especially that the AP will be represented by Shima Monageng, whose threat cannot be underestimated considering that he had a sizeable following while at the BDP, which he left after losing Bulela Ditswe. Besides, Dr. Mmatli’s advocacy in Parliament has been wanting, in my view. His opponent from the BDP, Kabo Morwaeeng, who has long fought to go to Parliament, may prove too much for him, especially with Kwelagobe’s endorsement.

So, of the 8 constituencies it unexpectedly wrestled from the BDP in 2014, the UDC is likely to retain 6 and lose 2. Next week, we consider whether the Opposition will retain the constituencies it currently holds other than the ones discussed earlier. These constituencies are Kanye South, Goodhope/Mabule, Maun West, Selibe Phikwe West, Gabane/Mankgodi, Mochudi West, Mochudi East, Francis town South, Ramotswa, Jwaneng/Mabutsane, Gaborone Central and Molepolole South.    

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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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