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Ray Molomo (1930-2019)

JEFF RAMSAY
BUILDERS OF BOTSWANA

The late Matlhapeng Ray Molomo, who was buried this week, was a pre-eminent member of the founding generation of our Republic. A seemingly tireless individual throughout his long and varied career, he remained a relevant and respected voice in public affairs up till the time of his death.

Born in Mochudi on January 9, 1930, Molomo began his education at Tlhagale Primary, a night school set up by his own father to cater for the early education of herd boys. Thereafter he finished his primary education in Mochudi before going on to do his Junior Certificate at Ohlange High School in Durban, subsequently completing his secondary education at Tiger Kloof. After Tiger Kloof he taught at Bakgatla National School and later Kgari Sechele Secondary School before becoming the Principal of Isang Secondary School. He also had taught in Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) and Lesotho.

His continuing thirst for education led him to enroll in correspondences courses at the University of South Africa (UNISA) where he majored in Philosophy and History. He also acquired a Post Graduate Diploma in Education from Rhodes University. In 1962, he enrolled for his Masters in Educational Psychology at University of Ottawa in Canada. He came back in 1964 and was appointed deputy principal at Serowe Teacher Training College and later acting principal at Lobatse Teacher Training College.

In 1965 he was nominated to become the President of the newly formed Botswana National Front, but declined the offer when it became apparent that he would have to choose between becoming active in politics and continuing his career as a civil servant. In 1968 he became an Educational Planner in the Ministry of Education, thereafter working as an undersecretary at the Ministry of Works and Transport before becoming Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education.

His popular book “Sebaga sa Lorato” was first published in 1969. Molomo resigned from government in 1975, allegedly after a fallout with the then Minister. Although he was just shy of the retirement age of 45, Sir Seretse Khama intervened to ensure he received his gratuity.

Molomo was also an avid football player and promoter, who founded the “Black Peril” football club. He served on the executive of the Bechuanaland Protectorate and subsequent Botswana Football Associations (BFA). As President of the BFA he gained additional notoriety in 1972 when some in Government challenged the Association for supposedly favouring Township Rollers in a dispute with Gaborone United. A commission was set up to adjudicate the matter, ultimately upholding the BFA in the matter. An apparent legacy of the dispute was the subsequent establishment of Botswana National Sports Council (BNSC)

From 1977 to 1984 Molomo was a senior lecturer, later head of Department at the University of Botswana. After being convinced to join the BDP in 1977, he left the University to engage active politics; being elected to Parliament in 1989. He thereafter served in Cabinet as the Minister of Education. 
Having been defeated for re-election in 1994, Molomo re-entered Parliament in 1999, when he was elected Speaker of Parliament, serving until 2004. During this period, he was also a member of the Pan-African Parliament.

His experience and insights as Speaker led him to write a book entitled “Democratic Deficit in Parliament of Botswana,” which focused his misgivings about the power of the Executive, as exercised through the Office of the President, over the Legislative and Judicial branches of Government. Molomo was a recipient of the Presidential Order of Honour in recognition of his efficient and devoted service to Botswana. In 2003 he was also bestowed the French National Order of Merit. MHSRIP.

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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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