Thursday, October 28, 2021

This is the most overeducated Member of Parliament

Somehow getting a sense that a ruling party MP doubted his credentials to lexically parse “Ombudsman”, Selebi Phikwe West MP, Dithapelo Keorapetse felt the need to declare his academic credentials. “I was teaching Political Science, there was a course called Ethics and Accountability,” said the MP whose previous job was lecturer at the University of Botswana. “I taught the course for a number of years. One of the important topics was Ombudsman, the other one was Corruption and I have some publications on the issue. So do not be too surprised. I have two degrees and I am reading for my third degree.”

Before anyone could complain that “Ga re a tsoga ke barutegi” (God save us from the over-educated), Keorapetse was already explicating the Ombudsman concept, swamping his colleagues with academic detail that left no doubt that he was indeed reading for a third degree. However, if there was to be a Most Overeducated MP contest in the house and assuming that Ivy League education was the gauge, the award would be go not to an opposition MP from a future ghost town but a political adversary from a neighbouring constituency. It is a detail known to very few in the country, probably in parliament itself but the most overeducated MP in the current parliament is Kefentse Mzwinila of Mmadinare who holds four degrees from Yale University in the United States.

According to Wikipedia, Yale has graduated five United States presidents, 19 US Supreme Court Justices, 13 living billionaires, many foreign heads of state as well as former US Secretary of State and current Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. Yale alumni were represented on the Democratic or Republican ticket in every US presidential election between 1972 and 2004. This year, U.S. News & World Report ranked Yale third among US national universities for 2016 as it has for each of the past 16 years, in every list trailing only Princeton and Harvard. This is where Mzwinila got his education. Mzwinila’s LinkedIn page shows that he obtained an MSc in Psychology and MA in Development Economics from Yale.

Prior to that, he obtained two separate junior degrees in the same disciplines from the same university. After he completed his masters’ programmes in 1999, he was the subject of a story in the Sunday Times, one of South Africa’s largest newspapers which has a large readership internationally. The story was headlined “This Botswana boy is bright, bright, bright!” For his secondary school, Mzwinila went to Maruapula School in Gaborone and Waterford Kamhlaba College in Swaziland. Mzwinila’s first job was in the Botswana Defence Force where he was a commissioned officer. He later worked for Psychologists Botswana where he held four positions: Lead Consultant, Clinical Psychologist, Organisational Psychologist and Consultant Economist.

He was the Chairperson of the Botswana Democratic Party National Youth Wing between 2006 and 2008. Until now modest about his academic achievement, the MP decided that in order to bolster his argument for more pay for legislators, he would go to the opposite end. He told parliament that he is well-educated, has adequate experience and that if he was a civil servant, he would be the highest paid because as an economist and psychologist, he would draw 70 percent scarce skill allowance.

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