INSIDE THE PRESIDENCY FOR FRIDAY (8/11/13): “NATIONAL COMMITMENT, INTERNATIONAL RESPECT”
Common Commitment for Shared Goals
As most readers are by now aware, this coming week His Honour Lt. General Mompati Merafhe will be stepping down as a Member of Parliament, as well as from his position as Vice President. Speaking to his constituents last Friday he made it clear that he taken the hard decision to retire from public office due to health considerations, and that he had otherwise intended to serve until 2014. His presence will be especially missed within the Office of the President. Our best wishes go with him and his family, while we look forward to his promised memoirs.
On Tuesday H.E. the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, chaired a joint meeting of Cabinet and the Kgatleng District Council in the context of his ongoing "Taking Cabinet to the Councils" initiative. In his opening remarks His Excellency observed that the interactions have allowed political leaders at the central and local levels to better appreciate their shared responsibility to their common constituents. He further affirmed that it should no longer be acceptable for politicians to shirk their common responsibilities by pointing fingers at one another when things go wrong as the public has every right to hold them collectively accountable for ensuring the success of their common commitments.
The President also appealed to the Councillors to remain mindful about the state of the economy in terms of Government's ability to generate the necessary revenues to meet its recurrent and development expenditure obligations, further observing that:
"As political leaders we all also thus have a shared responsibility to candidly inform Batswana about the limits as well as extent of Government projects and programmes in the context of the continuing need to exercise spending constraint. Moving forward, this also means that we all have a shared responsibility of ensure optimal use of the public resources at our disposal."
The President further emphasized the need for Local Authorities to continue to encourage the growth of small, micro and medium enterprises in their areas through the outsourcing of such functions as cleaning, security, refuse collection and gardening services.
As is the tradition following the opening remarks discussions were held in camera to allow for a free and frank exchange of views.
As anticipated, last Friday the President hosted some sixty teachers for private discussions and lunch at State House, as a way of better appreciating their vocational concerns. At the gathering he was also joined by the Minister of Education and Skills Development, the Honourable Pelonomi Venson-Motoi and other officials. In his welcoming remarks, he informed the teachers that he considered it important to hear from them directly about the challenges they face.
On Monday the President had the pleasure of receiving the letters of credence appointing two new diplomatic envoys to Botswana, H.E. Mrs. Norma Roberts, who is the new High Commissioner for Jamaica and Archbishop Mario Cassari, as the Ambassador of the Holy See (Vatican).
On Thursday, the President was in the Ngamiland constituency, where he met with residents at Tubu, Etsha 1 and Etsha 13 villages.
Botswana looks to China and India
On Monday members of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Poverty Eradication briefed the media on their recent Official Visits to the Republic of India and the People's Republic of China.
The Sub-Committee's Chairman, the Honourable Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration Mokgweetsi Masisi, began the briefing with a personal tribute to His Honour the Vice President, who has been a key driver of the Poverty Eradication programme.
The Minister went on to report he, along with two of his Sub-Committee colleagues, the Honourable Keletso Rakhudu and the Honourable Botlogile Tshireletso had gone to the two countries to benchmark anti-poverty strategies, programmes and projects. The press briefing had been called to report on their findings and what they further intended to achieve moving forward
He further noted that the visits had been made possible at the invitation of the Chinese and Indian governments. He was thus grateful that Their Excellencies High Commissioner Madhava Chandra of India and Ambassador Liu Huanxing of China had also taken the time be present at the briefing.
At the briefing it was further observed that India and China are the two nations that have in recent years enjoyed the greatest quantitative success in pulling their citizens out of poverty. In each nation the poverty rate has declined, while literally hundreds of millions of individuals have graduated from poverty to dignified lives through sustainable incomes. It is also true that, like Botswana, the two countries are also still finding innovative ways to tackle the continued existence of poverty within their borders.
Notwithstanding the differences of scale in terms of their very large populations, each country contains nearly 20% of the world's population; both of the Asian giants are potential partners as well as models for local poverty eradication efforts. It is therefore anticipated Botswana will be signing memorandum of understanding with both India and China, which will enable the three countries to further collaborate in addressing issues of poverty. In this respect it is also anticipated that relevant officials will make follow-up visits.
Citizen Engagement for Effective Governance
Welcome to another edition of your weekly window into events and issues involving the Presidency. As is commonly the case, H.E. the President Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s schedule this week included a number of Ministry and project briefings.
This morning it will be the turn of the Ministry of State President (MSP). Along with the Ministry of Defence Justice and Security, MSP is unique in incorporating institutions with diverse mandates headed at a senior level by their own Accounting Officers at Permanent Secretary level.
Besides the various operational units that fall directly under it, the Ministry thus includes high level entities as the National Strategy Office, the Directorate of Public Service Management (DPSM) and the National AIDS Coordinating Agency (NACA), as well as fully autonomous institutions such as the Auditor General, Ombudsman and the National Assembly, whose independent mandates are defined and protected by law.
What these diverse institutions do have a common, beyond their collective commitment to serving the public, is that for purposes of accountability to Parliament and the public they fall under the portfolio responsibility of the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, currently the Honourable Mokgweetsi Masisi.
In the case of the independent divisions it may be further noted that, notwithstanding the misconceptions of some, it is precisely because they do enjoy special status as defined by statute that they are served by a Minister within the apex office.
Over the past seven days the President also travelled to the Tonota Sub-District and to Kgatleng, where he addressed dikgotla yesterday at Malotwane, Pilane and Rasesa.
The President was in Tonota last Friday to officially open a number of development projects, including a library, staff housing, water works, a Rural Administration Centre, Kgotla shelter and internal roads, as well Infectious Disease Control Centres located at Serule, Borolong and Manyanda, which were built at a collective cost of just over P 261 million.
In remarks for the occasion, His Excellency affirmed that, notwithstanding the burden of the global economic recession, Government recognizes the need to provide communities with infrastructure, further observing that beneficiaries should, nevertheless, justify such investments through the proper use and maintenance of facilities, while appreciating the need for cost recovery for selected services.
It was in this context that he also raised specific concern that the public bus/taxi rank that was constructed at Tonota remains underutilized despite the extensive local consultations that took place in the preparation of Tonota-Shashe Development Plan that determined its need and location. He further observed that:
“The importance of putting these facilities to use as soon as possible cannot be overemphasized as they would uplift the livelihoods of small businesses who are supposed to operate the market stalls and emerge as key economic drivers for the Sub-District.”
Also, on Tuesday, the President on behalf of the Lady Khama Charity Trust of which he is the patron, had the pleasure of handing over donations totalling P 500 thousand to ten deserving service organisations, namely: Bana ba Metsi School, the Botswana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Childline, the Flying Mission, Little Friends, Ray of Hope Foundation, Red Cross, SOS, St. Vincent Paul and Top Banana.
His Excellency’s participation on such occasions thus helps to shine a media spotlight on the existence and good works of various organisations within our country.
Last Friday H.H. the Vice President officiated at two events, one in Mahalapye and the other in Diphuduhudu. At Diphuduhudu, he formally closed the three day workshop, which had provided life skills training for just over one thousand beneficiaries of the Poverty Eradication Programme, who had been drawn from all 67 of the country’s gazetted Remote Area Communities.
In his remarks, the Vice President commended the fact that during the workshop a number of projects had also been rolled out, including the development of a cultural village to attract tourist income, 7 back yard gardens and a revamped bakery
He further noted that Government was committed to supporting the Economic Diversification Drive, as well as Poverty Eradication Programme by facilitating market access for produce from small scale businesses, which have now been exempted from the normal procurement processes.
In Mahalapye, the Vice President was delighted once more award a Floating Trophy of the school in the Mahalapye Inspectorial Area that had achieved the best PSLE results. This year’s winner was Ngakaagae Primary School. In addition to the trophy the school also received a four-in-one print machine.
Also during the past week, the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration addressed dikgotla at Matlhakola and Moshupa. Among the issues raised during the meetings was the fight against HIV/AIDS, access to various Government programmes and assistance packages and continued public concern over the phenomenon of floor-crossing by MPs and Councillors.
Yesterday, the Minister also held a press conference to brief media on next week’s Public Service Convention and Public Service Day celebrations (21-22 June 2012), which will take place at Fairground Holdings.
Leave No Citizen Behind!
Welcome to another edition of your weekly window into events and issues involving the Presidency. Today H.E. the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama will be in Tonota to officially open a number of development projects in the Sub-District, including Rural Administration Centre, Library, Kgotla Shelter, Internal Roads, Infectious Disease Control Centres, District Housing and an Emergency Water Supply project.
On Saturday he is expected to be among the fans who will be attending the sold out Zebras versus Bafana Bafana FIFA World Cup qualifying match at the UB Stadium.
Affirmative Action in Diphuduhudu
The highlight of the week has been the three-day Poverty Eradication Workshop at Diphuduhudu, which was officially opened by the President on Wednesday and will be closed today by H.H. the Vice President, Lt. General Mompati Merafhe.
Participants in the workshop include over one thousand current and potential beneficiaries of the Poverty Eradication Programme, drawn from all 67 of the country’s gazetted remote area settlements.
Also present are some 500 additional participants from concerned Government departments and community stakeholders. To accommodate the influx, a temporary tent city was erected at Diphuduhudu by the BDF.
At the workshop, participants have been engaged in a holistic training programme focused on inculcating basic life skills in production processes, marketing strategies, financial literacy and effective networking.
The goal of this intensive training is to give programme beneficiaries the skills foundation they need to successfully start-up and grow micro-enterprises into sustainable sources livelihood and economic empowerment.
In his opening remarks President Khama commended the training for its pragmatic approach in incorporating live demonstrations so as to better ensure a positive transformation of mindset.
He further observed that “through prudent management and further life skills training, the beneficiaries will be guided to upgrade their business from micro or small scale enterprises by seeking loans from CEDA, NDB or the commercial banks.”
The President also noted that similar workshops are now being planned for all districts in the country as part of the Phase Two rollout of Government’s Poverty Eradication strategy.
His Excellency also used the occasion to announce that Government has set a target is to have assisted a total of at least 13,000 beneficiaries by the end of the current financial year, which should translate into support for approximately 52,000 family members. This will be achieved by the rollout of alternative packages such as such as beekeeping, textiles, leather works, landscaping, food packaging, and agro processing, in addition to some 8000 backyard gardens.
To further support programme beneficiaries and other small scale citizen entrepreneurs, Khama also announced that Cabinet has directed that normal procurement regulations by both central government and local authorities should be waived for such producers, emphasising that procuring entities shall thus be expected to fully implement the Cabinet Directive.
The President concluded his remarks by introducing members of the Cabinet Sub-Committee for Poverty Eradication chaired by the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Honourable Mokgweetsi Masisi, which is further comprised of the Honourable Assistant Ministers of Finance and Development Planning, Dr. Gloria Somolekae; Local Government, Botlogile Tshireletso; Trade and Industry, Vincent Seretse and Education, Keletso Rakhudu, as well as Agriculture, Oreeditse Molebatsi (in absentia).
The Cabinet Sub-Committee, which meets regularly, is driving the programme with the support of an inter-ministerial task team of senior officials led by its coordinating Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President, Dr. John Mothibi.
Besides being a milestone in the war against poverty the Diphuduhudu gathering is aligned with Government’s enhanced commitment to grass roots driven affirmative action for Remote Area Dwellers, in line with the stakeholder commitments that emerged from last year’s Remote Area Dweller Pitso in Ghanzi.
Government’s own commitment in this respect is reflected in the administrative elevation of the programme, which is now headed at Permanent Secretary level by Mr. Sam Rathedi, who was also introduced by His Excellency.
In line with leaving no citizen behind the President said that it was imperative that all citizens, whether they live in urban areas or the remotest settlements, enjoy dignified lives.
Also among the highlights of the past week was the President’s attendance at Friday’s extraordinary SADC Summit in Luanda, Angola. Among other issues, the Summit reiterated the need for full implementation of the Roadmap for ending the crisis in Madagascar, further mandating that a meeting be convened between Andry Rajoelina and ousted President Marc Ravalomanana in order to ensure an outcome that leads to free and fair elections.
The parties to the Global Peace Agreement (GPA) in Zimbabwe were also urged to finalise their constitution-making process and develop a mechanism for the full implementation of their country’s envisaged Roadmap to Elections.
The Summit also reiterated its support for the candidature of the South African Minister of Home Affairs for the position of the Chairperson of African Union Commission and supported to the candidature of Namibia to host the Green Climate Fund Secretariat
The SADC Council of Ministers, more especially the Ministers responsible for Finance and Investment, were also directed to expedite the process for the establishment of the SADC Development Fund in order to ensure adequate resources to fund regional infrastructure programmes in such areas as energy and transport.
SADC Summit, Gaborone Declaration
Welcome to another edition of your weekly window into events and issues involving the Presidency. Today H.E. the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama will be departing for Luanda Angola, where he will attend the SADC Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government.
It is anticipated that the Summit will address issues pertaining to the political situation in the region and the SADC Integration Agenda and Regional Infrastructure Development Programme, along with common positions in the context of the upcoming African Union Assembly.
Also today the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Honourable Mokgweetsi Masisi, will formally open of the Information Services Offices in Lerala. The event will also be an Open Day in which Ministry of State President Staff will be interacting with members of the community to better inform them about their services, while receiving welcome customer feedback.
In addition other Ministry staff will today be in Gabane were they will be installing a garden project at the House of Hope as part of their monthly Community Service Day activities.
The week that was
Yesterday the President has the Guest of Honour at the Botswana Examination’s Council’s 3rd Annual Excellence awards, which were conducted in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Skills Development with additional sponsorship by additional public and private sector institutions.
Also yesterday, His Excellency received a courtesy call from the Greek Orthodox Church Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, Pope Theodoros II. The prelate is visiting Botswana to inaugurate the first See of the Greek Orthodox Diocese of Botswana as well as bless the plot where the first Orthodox Cathedral will be built in Gaborone. On Monday the President also met with Malawi’s Vice President, His Honour Mr. Khumo Kachali, who had come to Gaborone as a special envoy of the country’s President, H.E. Mrs. Joyce Banda. The visiting Vice President was also accompanied by his Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Ephrain Chiume. The content of the discussions was confidential, but it may be noted comes in the context of the forthcoming regional summits.
Also this week Minister Masisi held a well attended press briefing in order to inform media houses of next week’s three day Poverty Eradication Pitso, which will be held in the Remote Area settlement of Diphuduhudu.
The forum further served as a welcome opportunity for the Minister to once more clarify that Government’s Poverty Eradication Programme incorporates a wide range of economic empowerment packages and initiatives in addition to back yard gardens.
At the same time the Minister observed that with Batswana still spending over a 100 million on horticulture imports, the potential contribution of rolling out more back yard gardens should not be dismissed.
On Monday the Minister also addressed residents in Senete village, where issues surrounding the rollout of the Poverty Eradication campaign also came up. During the meeting the Minister explained that the programme was in the first instance designed to assist the destitute to get a leg up in life.
The minister further urged members of the community to take advantage of opportunities available through other Government empowerment programmes and initiative, such as the Economic Diversification Drive.
Last Friday the Summit for Sustainability in Africa concluded with the affirmation of the “Gaborone Declaration”, which is already being hailed as a new roadmap for environmentally friendly economic development.
The Declaration by ten African governments, along with a number of private sector and civil society institutions, sets out a set of principles and primary steps for realising the value of the natural capital being stewarded by societies for their sustainable development.
At its heart the declaration is the Summit’s consensus that the true value of natural resource capital, including the full global benefits of preserving biodiversity and the integrity of ecosystems, should be integrated into both national development and private corporate planning and reporting.
The Gaborone Declaration thus represents an important milestone in establishing an international movement that will ultimately mandates that the value of natural capital becomes mainstreamed as a pillar for future economic growth.
As a first step an addendum Communiqué to the Declaration invites governments and their accounting bodies to, among other goals, develop science-based methodologies on an experimental basis for ecosystem accounting as a complement to GDP and corporate performance.
The Communiqué also invites the United Nations Statistical Commission to assist African states in the implementation of its System of Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA) central framework as the initial version of the international standard for environmental-economic accounts and to further provide support for the training of national accountants, environmental statisticians and national technical staff.
As the Summit’s co-host and driving force, President Khama expressed his delight in the commitments contained in the Gaborone Declaration but emphasised that in the end the meeting will not be seen to have had any value for ordinary Africans if the agreed objectives are not effectively put into practice.
Holistic Sustainable Development
Welcome to another edition of your weekly window into events and issues involving the Presidency. This has been an especially eventful week highlighted by both the Official Visit to our country of the President of the Republic of Liberia, Her Excellency Mrs. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the convening in Gaborone of the Inaugural Summit for Sustainability in Africa.
The Summit, which was officially opened yesterday by His Excellency the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, has been conceived as a landmark effort to establish a new development roadmap for the sustainable development of our continent. Ten African governments are represented at the gathering, along with representatives of leading transnational businesses, international organizations and civil society groups.
Featured summit participants include political leaders from Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Namibia, Norway, Rwanda, South Africa and Tanzania, as well as Botswana, along with senior executives from the World Bank, U.N. Environment Programme, U.N. Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, World Vision, MacArthur Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Coca-Cola Company, Walmart, and Woolworths, among others.
On the eve of the Summit, President Khama affirmed the need “for collective commitment to a roadmap ensuring the sustainability of Africa’s rich national capital”, while expressing his conviction that “with the expected high level participation of African leaders, representatives of big business, public financing institutions, and conservationists, I have no doubt that this historic Summit will chart a clear path for the African sustainability agenda.”
In his remarks at yesterday’s official opening, the President further observed that worldwide evidence shows that natural resource stocks are being depleted at ever increasing rates, resulting in increasing loss of biological diversity, land degradation, destruction of coastal margins, desertification, water stress, food insecurity, health pandemics and natural disasters. He went on to note that:
“In hosting this Summit on Sustainability in Africa, our aspirations are to discuss common African perspectives on sustainable development and to find consensus about how some of us in Africa and its peoples represented here may use their natural resource wealth and transform their resources into drivers of inclusive economic growth and people-centred development.”
The Summit is expected to conclude today with the adoption of a “Gaborone Declaration”, which will become part of the global agenda for sustainable development. More information and live webcast links can be found on the Summit’s websites: www.asummitforsustainabilityinafrica.org and www.conservation.org/ssa , as well as at www.gov.bw .
This week’s other highlight was the arrival in our country on Sunday H.E. Ellen Sirleaf Johnson, who was greeted at the airport by President Khama and other members of Cabinet. While this was the Liberian President’s first Official Visit to our country, before she became her country’s head of state she had previously visited our country at the invitation of the gender empowerment NGO Emang Basadi.
On Monday morning Presidents Khama and Sirleaf Johnson met at the Office of the President for official talks that focused on cooperation in such areas as agricultural and mineral sector development and human resource training.
Following the talks President Khama hosted President Sirleaf Johnson at a State Luncheon, during which he paid tribute to Liberia’s ongoing social-economic progress following years of conflict. Expressing his gratitude at the reception he received during his own visit to Liberia last year, Khama further observed that Sirleaf Johnson’s reciprocal visit to Botswana attested to the fraternal and friendly relations that exist between the two countries; adding:
“Our strong bonds of friendship are premised on shared values and principles of democracy, respect for human rights, the rule of law and a common vision to secure a better future for humanity.
President Khama also noted that Botswana welcomes the recent conviction of former President Charles Taylor by the Special Court for Liberia for the war crimes and crimes against humanity, further expressing the hope the conviction will send a strong message to those leaders who continue to violate human rights with impunity that such practices can no longer be tolerated or go unpunished.
Speaking on the situation in Sudan and South Sudan, President Khama urged the two countries to exercise restraint to avert a full scale war, calling on them to resolve their differences through peaceful means in the context of the African Union Roadmap.
For her part President Johnson Sirleaf, in her response to President Khama’s welcome remarks, lauded Botswana as a "model for all Africa and I daresay beyond".
She further observed that our country has become an inspiration and international benchmark based on the country's outstanding record of maintaining peace and democracy while achieving sound economic growth and development.
The Liberian President also praised Botswana for its leadership role in promoting democratic values internationally.
She noted that she has for many years enjoyed the friendship and support of former Presidents Festus Mogae and Sir Ketumile Masire, and was happy to now be working together with President Khama.
Observing that her country was rebuilding after years of devastating conflict, she welcomed Botswana's willingness to assist by sharing its insights and expertise.
Welcome to another edition of your weekly window into events and issues involving the Ministry of State Presidency.
Much of His Excellency the President Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama’s schedule this past week was occupied with a series of high level engagements that were focused on ensuring the delivery of Government’s economic growth and development agenda during the current financial year and beyond. These interactions included a joint consultative gathering of all Permanent Secretaries and a separate meeting of the Economic Advisory Council.
In addition, the President on Wednesday consulted with residents at the Kanye main kgotla, where he was accompanied by members of Cabinet including the Minister of Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi.
This week’s outreach efforts follow His Excellency’s chairing of the High Level Consultative Council (HLCC) last week, which once more brought together representatives of Government and the private sector to resolve issues affecting business growth and service delivery. At the forum, the President underscored the hard reality that the global economic recovery continues to be uncertain due to ongoing challenges in the Euro-zone and elsewhere.
At the same time, while re-affirming the need for caution, he observed that Botswana’s own economic performance is encouraging, with continued growth in the non-mining sector, most notably in construction and manufacturing, followed by agriculture, transport and various services. Such progress is evidence that our efforts towards diversifying the economy are beginning to bear fruit and need to be further nurtured.
The President further reaffirmed Government’s commitment to the objectives of the Botswana Excellence Strategy for Economic Diversification, noting that its success calls for the public and private sectors to focus on maximizing the benefit of their individual and collective competitive advantages, through continued partnership.
In addition to the HLCC process, Government outreach to the private sector and civil society has taken many additional forms in recent years. Dipitso, for example, have become critical fora for both shaping and receiving feedback on policy delivery.
Another key consultative framework is the Thematic Working Groups (TWGs), which have now become the principal drivers for moving forward with the mid-term review of the current National Development Plan (NDP 10). TWGs were originally put in place in 2008 as vehicles for bringing together stakeholders from across Ministries, along with relevant non-government partners, in order to promote inter and intra-sectoral cooperation in the planning, budgeting and implementation of national development priorities.
At the time of their creation, the TWGs were linked to Government’s adoption of an Integrated Result-Based Management Approach for the formulation and subsequent monitoring and evaluation of NDP 10. By including for the first time non-state actors from civil society and the business community alongside public servants in the budgeting process, the TWGs represented a significant step forward in promoting greater inclusiveness, transparency and accountability in our governance.
While the TWGs were judged to have made an invaluable contribution to the drafting of NDP 10, in moving forward with the plan’s implementation it soon became clear that, as originally constituted, they faced a number of challenges in terms of their capacity and authority. In response, last year it was decided to reduce the number of TWGs from 8 to 4 by rationalising them around the overarching themes of “Economy and Employment”; “Governance, Safety and Security”; “Social Upliftment”; and “Sustainable Environment”.
To more fully engage the political leadership, while further enhancing their authority, each of the four new TWGs is now headed by a Minister, supported by a secretariat falling under his or her Permanent Secretary. In addition, the National Strategy Office, along with the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, has been tasked with the responsibility of monitoring each group’s progress, which is regularly reported to Cabinet.
The four Ministers thus tasked with leading the re-classified TWGs are the:
•Minister of Defence, Justice and Security for Governance, Safety and Security; •Minister of Trade and Industry for Economy and Employment; •Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration for Social Upliftment; and •Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism for Sustainable Development.
The above Ministers are in each case responsible for ensuring that their respective TWGs:
•Provide policy guidance and determine strategic priorities within their areas; •Guide the preparation and implementation of Sectoral Annual Work Plans, whose performance will be reported to Cabinet; and •Harmonise and promote sectoral cooperation
The overall role and functions of the TWGs have, moreover, been enhanced to include the following high performance outputs:
•Determine short, medium and long-term national priorities for Cabinet’s consideration and executive approval; •Align sector development strategies, policies and programmes with evolving national priorities, as may be determined by Government from time to time; •Monitor and Evaluate to ensure timely, effective and efficient quality delivery; •Optimise the use of financial and human resources with the expectation that in many areas more can often be achieved at less cost; and •Create additional synergies to achieve collective outcomes incorporated into “Botswana Excellence Strategy for Economic Diversification and Sustainable Growth”, as well as NDP 10.
Welcome to another edition of your weekly window into events and issues involving the Presidency.
Yesterday, His Excellency the President, Lt. General Seretse Khama Ian Khama, chaired the 32nd biannual session of the full HLCC, which brings together senior representatives of Government, the private sector and other key stakeholders to discuss ways of ensuring that Botswana becomes a more productive and prosperous nation. The work of the HLCC is supported by regular meetings of industry sector specific sub-committee within each Ministry.
In their remarks both the President and the President of BOCCIM, speaking on behalf of Government and the private sector respectively, reaffirmed their desire for continued partnership in building an enabling environment for citizen led private sector growth and economic diversification, as manifest in ongoing cooperation to achieve Economic Diversification Drive (EDD) and youth empowerment targets.
At the recent SMME Pitso concern had been expressed by both Government and BOCCIM participants that some procuring entities are still failing to apply the prescribed EDD preferential margins, with stakeholders agreeing to work together to better ensure compliance.
Last weekend, the President used the occasion of his address at a Congress of his political party’s Youth League to further underscore Government’s current holistic approach to youth empowerment, noting that beyond education and training, as well as the promotion of job creation, Government had expanded its financing through the Youth Development Fund.
At the event His Excellency and others also reiterated that it was important for sitting dikgosi to avoid partisan political entanglements, noting that he himself could only contemplate taking up his duties of bogosi once he had put aside his political career.
More Houses for the Needy
On Saturday H.H. the Vice President, Lt. Gen. Mompati Merafhe, had the pleasure of handing over two houses and other infrastructure for the benefit of the less privileged at Serinane and Malwelwe villages in Kweneng. The houses were constructed through the efforts of Mr. James Moffat of Banco Construction Company and his family, as their personal in response to the President’s Housing Appeal for the Needy.
In his remarks, His Honour commended the Moffat family’s gesture as a further example of an emerging commitment to community service, which is transforming the lives of many Batswana for the better.
The Vice President also used the occasion to remind his audience that government had recently launched its Guidelines for the Poverty Eradication in order to increase public awareness of the full range of the alternative packages offered under this programme.
He further reiterated the need for private sector entities to emulate the noble example of Banco construction by making their own contribution to the social upliftment of the impoverished.
Also over the past weekend the Minister for Presidential Affairs and Public Administration, the Hon. Mokgweetsi Masisi, was the guest of honour at the BDF’s 35th anniversary celebrations at Selebi Phikwe. Speaking to journalists at the ceremony, he observed that it was fortunate that our country is served by a well-trained, professional, and disciplined military who esprit d’ corps and record in such activities as peacekeeping and assisting in anti-poaching operations has attracted international admiration.
He further expressed his disappointment at recent misreporting on the part of some in the media regarding BDF procurement process, noting that the Force has been open its willingness to provide journalists with correct information.
81% support the President
Last week the Gallup Polling Organization reported the African findings of their 2011 global survey of public perceptions of leadership performance. Altogether the survey covers 142 jurisdictions, including the 34 sub-Saharan African Countries.
This Office is pleased to note that the figures for our country show that as of the end of October 2011 an overwhelming 81% approved of President Khama’s overall job performance. The same survey further reported that 73% of Batswana also approved of the country's overall leadership.
Gallup’s polling in Botswana was conducted from the 15-29 October 2011, through face to face interviews in Setswana and English with a scientificly distributed sample of 1000. According to Gallup, the survey has a potential plus or minus margin of error of 3.9%.
The percentage ranking for both the President and Country Leadership are the highest among surveyed countries in the SADC region, as well as being well above both the African and global average. Arguably the world’s most authoritative polling agency, Gallup regularly conducts public opinion polls in more than 140 countries around the world. As such Gallup Polls are routinely referenced in the mass media as a reliable and objective audience measurement public opinion.
Historically, the Gallup Poll has measured and tracked the public's attitudes concerning virtually every political, social, and economic issue of the day, including highly sensitive or controversial subjects. In 2005, Gallup began its World Poll, which continually surveys citizens in more than 140 countries, representing 95% of the world's adult population.
The latest Gallup poll in consistent with other recent public opinion surveys, such as Afrobaromtre, which have also consistently indicated very high levels of public support for the President’s leadership.