Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Unity Dow is Botswana’s biggest newsmaker of all time

Minister of Education, Unity Dow is the biggest newsmaker in the history of Botswana. With 620 000 Google entries, Dow ranks even higher than two thirds of SADC’s current heads of state. Most of Dow’s entries are in reference to her citizenship case against government which catapulted her to an international celebrity activist.

 

Second after Dow is the late Botswana national front President Kenneth Koma with 421 000 entries. President Lt gen Ian Khama ranks third. With 336 entries, President Khama’s is about half the newsmaker that unity Dow is.

 

Botswana’s founding President Sir Seretse Khama ranks fourth with 308 000 entries. Sir Seretse Khama, however only managed to make the top ten because of references to Sir Seretse Khama Airport and reference to Ian Khama as the son of Botswana’s first president.

 

The Sir Seretse Khama airport has 224 000 Google entries and if the airport had not been named after him, Sir Seretse Khama would have only 84 000 entries and would not have made it to the top 10 of Botswana’s biggest newsmakers of all time. Curiously, even his predecessor, former president Quett Masire does not make the top 10 list of Botswana’s biggest newsmakers. Masire has only 20, 600 entries which would place him in the top 30.

 

Fifth on the list is leader of opposition and President of the Umbrella for Democratic Change Duma Boko with 228 000 entries.

 

Some observers argue that Google entries do not reflect the true news value of Botswana’s founding President Sir Seretse Khama and his successor Sir Ketumile Masire because they were in office before the internet caught on. The argument is however weakened by the fact that founding leader of The First people of the Kalahari, John Hardbattle ranks sixth with 225 000 entries. John Hardbattle died in 1996 two years before Masire stepped down as President of Botswana.

 

Former President, Festus Mogae comes seventh with 159 000 Google entries followed by Amantle Montsho with 105 000 entries, John Kalafatis with 99 200 Google entries and High Court Judge Lot Moroka with 92 700 entries.

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