First he bragged about buying a birthday cake worth “P55 000-and-something - not P42 000”. Last week, in under 30 minutes, the young Gaborone nouveau riche called Bruce Nkgakile bragged about accommodating the Umbrella for Democratic Change campaign team on his farm during the Goodhope-Mabule by-election in 2015 (“They were drinking and bathing with my water”), about business prowess that would enable him to create 1000 jobs with just P1 million and about already “eating” before he joined the ruling party. Word on the street is that, like its heavily-indebted members, the Umbrella for Democratic Change is on sale to the highest bidder. If Nkgakile happens to buy his way into elective political office, becomes Mogoditshane MP and is appointed to cabinet, he shouldn’t end up at finance. Being finance minister in an African country means having to undertake periodic trips overseas, begging bowl in hand. Nkgakile would come back empty-handed each time because he would tell potential European, American and Chinese benefactors not about hardship in Botswana but about the vastness of his personal wealth.
Newspaper legal notice charges should quadruple
Whatever the current advertising rate for newspaper legal notices is, it certainly is not enough. Ahead of an all-important general election next year, the Botswana Democratic Party fears that it might be knocked off its pedestal and has embarked on a tight-buttocked campaign to recruit as many indebted members of the opposition as its anonymous funders can afford. In order to identify those ripe for recruitment, the party searches newspaper legal notices (“in the matter between” in Setswana) on a daily basis, then strikes with an offer that the really broke can’t resist. On the hand, BDP members monitor these notices to learn which opposition politician will be joining (or rejoining) the party. This situation establishes the following: while Business Botswana may not recognise them as such, legal notices are actually a hyperactive marketplace on which high-stakes political business is transacted. The rate for single legal notice for an opposition member whose economic existence has been reduced to SOS messages, call-me-backs, Vaseline-moisturising, unsponsored walks, powerless and empty fridges and child maintenance defaults should be P100 000.
Gambling Authority should regulate Diacore Marathon
The fact that Botswana’s premier marathon, Diacore, is held in a city where the headoffice of the gambling authority is located and terminates less than 100 metres away from Botswana’s premier casino should have given us a hint – the marathon is a gambling activity. And, as any gambling expert will tell you, the house always wins.
Once upon a time, the 42.2-kilometre Diacore was all racing and no gambling but this year’s edition – which was held over the weekend – gave every indication that next year, the finish line might be right inside Grand Palm Casino. For the 2018 race, organisers offered P1 million for runners who reached the finish line in two hours and eight minutes. Of course the organisers knew what is impossible with a certain caliber of athletes and the time limit was very well-chosen. Their gamble paid off because no one completed within that time and their P1 million is safe. In terms of the law, all gambling activity is regulated by the Gambling Authority. A runner panting through Gaborone streets with the hope of winning P1 million is no different from a gambler putting coins into a fruit machine with the hope of winning P34 million. From now on, the Authority should ensure that this marathon complies with all gambling laws in the country.
Competitive hamburger eaters should form a trade union
Supposing though that the Gambling Authority decides that it doesn’t want to touch the Diacore Marathon with a casino token, then the runners (and other people involved in quasi-gambling activity) will have to protect their interests. A few years back, a restaurant at Masa Square in Gaborone ran a hamburger eating challenge which ended without a winner. Deploying the Diacore Marathon trick, the management offered a hefty sum of money to anyone who could eat a hamburger-centred meal that weighed more than Donald Trump. If the manager couldn’t eat five burgers in 30 minutes, why would the restaurant have a challenge that required customers to do so? If the Diacore organisers themselves couldn’t run a marathon in 2:08:00, why would they expect anybody else to do so? If a casino manager can’t win P34 million with P10-worth tokens, why should he make gamblers believe they can? Gamblers, competitive hamburgers and marathon runners should form trade unions to protect their interests. Trade unionism would allow a mid-race strike that would force the employer to set realistic time targets.
Where can one learn liquidation?
Whatever it is, liquidation sounds like the sort of thing that schools should be teaching. Since BCL mine collapsed, the liquidator has been getting a whopping P6 million a month! Imagine if the BCL employees themselves knew liquidation instead of plumbing, electronics or mechanical engineering? They would still be employed. Instead of teaching students television production or public administration - and before it gets liquidated itself, the University of Botswana should be teaching liquidation.